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10 Positively “Purple” Plants You’ll Love

Purple is the new neutral in the gardening world. It goes with just about any other color you pair it with, from contrasting oranges to complementary pinks and greens. The descriptors “blue” and “purple” are used loosely when it comes to flowers and plants; they describe a whole range of these cool tones. Check out this list of ten varieties we think you’ll love for your garden.

Contributors: Susan Martin

#1 – Superbells® Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa

You’ve never seen a calibrachoa quite like this! Its cool lavender blossoms have a dark purple bullseye in the center that truly stops you in your tracks to take a closer look. They are larger than most calibrachoa flowers and are produced along the cascading stems from spring into fall. You won’t have to remove the spent blossoms to keep the plant blooming through summer since it is self-cleaning and heat tolerant. You’ll be surprised how long it will continue to bloom into fall, too. Pair it with other cool colored plants in containers like Silver Bullet® Artemisia to add an instant cooling effect to your hot, sunny deck or patio.

Annual. 6-12” tall x 12-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

#2 - Supertunia® Royal Magenta Petunia

Does magenta count as purple? We’ll include it here because like a traditional royal purple, this flower pairs beautifully with so many other colors. Plant it with Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight sweet potato vine and this petunia’s black throat will really pop. Or go the opposite route to create a prismatic display by pairing its magenta blooms with the striking chartreuse foliage of Lemon Coral sedum. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with this improved variety that lists fabulous flower power among its greatest assets.

Annual. 6-12” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

#3 – Rockin’® Deep Purple Salvia

We’re talking true purple when it comes to this large-flowered, annual salvia. Its rich purple blossoms are clasped onto the upright stems by dramatic black bracts that give the flower a bicolor look. Don’t be surprised to see a hummingbird or two checking them out—this plant is one of their favorites. Butterflies and bees delight in their sweet nectar, too. Growing this large-sized annual is a quick way to get a lot of color in your landscape in a short amount of time. It adds an element of verticality to flower borders and works great as a thriller in large container combinations. 

Annual. 18-36” tall x 24-30” spread. Part sun to sun.

#4 – Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Storm Shelter’ Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Bound to be one of the most distinctive daylilies in your garden, ‘Storm Shelter’ is a parade of purples that comes through town every summer and fall. This reblooming selection forms 5” round, mauve purple flowers with deep purple, ruffled petal edges and a matching deep purple eye. A glowing chartreuse throat sets off the purple tones magically, especially when paired with other chartreuse plants like Festivus Gold® ninebark in the landscape. 

Perennial in zones 3-9. 20-24” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

#5 - Primo® ‘Wild Rose’ Heuchera (Coral Bells)

It’s easy to pick this vivid rosy purple coral bells out from across the garden because it absolutely glows, especially from spring into summer. It won’t turn silver in the heat like so many other “purple” coral bells do, though its purple coloring will intensify as the season progresses. ‘Wild Rose’ pairs beautifully in the landscape with Shadowland® ‘Waterslide’ hosta and ‘Pardon My Pink’ bee balm. You can grow it in the garden and in containers, too. 

Perennial in zones 4-9. 8-10” tall x 26-30” spread. Part sun is best, but will grow in sun or shade.

#6 – ‘Midnight Masquerade’ Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Hardy varieties of Penstemon like this have long been grown for their heat and drought tolerance. Its deep burgundy foliage forms a neat clump that stays relatively short in the garden. While most like this have white or light pink flowers, ‘Midnight Masquerade’ offers some of the most vibrant lavender purple flowers we’ve ever seen on a hardy cultivar. They line the tall stems from top to bottom, creating a riot of color and a feast for hummingbirds every summer. If you are looking to add a purple vertical element to your summer landscape, this is a great choice.

Perennial in zones 3-8. 36-40” tall x 28-32” spread. Full sun.

#7 – Rock ‘N Grow® ‘Superstar’ Sedum (Autumn Stonecrop)

With flowers that fall much closer to purple on the color spectrum than the traditional rose pink ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, it will be hard to miss this perennial when it’s in bloom. Its low mounded, blue-green foliage becomes completely blanketed in vivid pinkish purple flowers every year in late summer, followed by dark purple seed heads in fall. Bees and butterflies will make their way to this buffet every day the plant is in bloom. It will really shine if you grow it along the front of a sunny, dry border.

Perennial in zones 3-9. 10-12” tall x 20-24” spread. Full sun.

#8 – Pugster Blue® Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

You might assume this dwarf butterfly bush would have matching dwarf flowers, but that’s the magic of Pugster. They produce full-sized flowers on relatively short, 2-foot-tall plants every summer. As an added bonus, their stems are extra thick which ensures better winter hardiness in the northernmost zones where it grows. All these traits have quickly made this series climb the list of our top-sellers. Choose from four colors including Blue, Periwinkle, Pink and White.

Hardy in zones 5-9. 2’ tall x 2-3’ spread. Full sun.

#9 – Winecraft Black® Cotinus (Smokebush)

If you’ve always loved the look of smokebush but never had room for this large shrub in your landscape, you’ll be excited to learn of this groundbreaking dwarf variety. Reaching just 4-6 feet tall--half to a third the size of traditional varieties--it’s easy to tuck this shrub into your landscape among your evergreens or near the back of the border. Its deep wine purple foliage creates the perfect backdrop for brightly colored flowers like Rainbow Rhythm® daylilies and other purple plants like Meteor Shower® verbena. Red smoke-like plumes of flowers appear in early to midsummer, and cool fall weather draws out an array of red and orange tones in the foliage. There’s something to love in every season with Winecraft Black smokebush.

Hardy in zones 4-8. 4-6’ tall x 4-6’ spread. Full sun.

#10 – Laced Up® Sambucus (Elderberry)

For gardeners who are looking for something completely unique, there’s Laced Up elderberry. It’s one of the best ways to add a tall, narrow, purple accent to the landscape since this fastigiate elderberry grows nearly straight up. Grow it as a “living sculpture” in a sunny landscape bed where it will be a definite conversation piece to share with fellow plant lovers. Its extremely dark purple, lacy foliage is accented by pink flowers in early summer.

Hardy in zones 4-7. 6-8’ tall x 3-4’ spread. Full sun to part shade.

Patent Info: Superbells® Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa USPPAF Can PBRAF; Supertunia® Royal Magenta® Petunia USPPAF CanPBRAF; Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight Ipomoea batatas USPPAF CanPBRAF; Rockin'® Deep Purple Salvia USPPAF CanPBRAF; Festivus Gold® Physocarpus opulifolius USPP26246; Primo® 'Wild Rose' Heuchera USPPAF CanPBRAF; Shadowland® 'Waterslide' Hosta USPPAF CanPBRAF; 'Pardon My Pink' Monarda didyma USPP24244 CanPBR5100; 'Midnight Masquerade' Penstemon USPPAF CanPBRAF; Rock 'N Grow® 'Superstar' Sedum USPPAF CanPBRAF; Pugster Blue® Buddleia USPP28794 CanPBRAF; Winecraft Black® Cotinus coggygria USPPAF CanPBRAF; Meteor Shower® Verbena bonariensis USPP27722 CanPBR5507; Laced Up® Sambucus nigra USPPAF CanPBRAF

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