Purple plants are a great way to add color to the garden. Whether you choose to plant annuals or perennials that return every year making them a reliable, colorful investment, purple plants help to make your garden a naturally soothing space.
Calming the soul and clearing the mind purple plants come in many different shades enabling you to add subtle texture to the garden’s color palette. Many purple plants are also popular with pollinators such as bees and butterflies as well as other garden wildlife making them a valuable inclusion in any planting scheme.
The following are 20 of the most attractive purple plants.
The bellflower, also known as campanula, is one of the most attractive ornamental purple plants. As the name suggests bellflower blooms are shaped like small bells. Popular for its abundant flowering habit, with a little care they last throughout the summer months, these purple plants are a mainstay of the flower bed. Smaller varieties can also be used to add color to container gardens, living walls and rock gardens.
A low maintenance, easy to grow cool weather loving plant, if you want to learn more about cultivating bellflowers, our how to grow campanula guide is a great place to start.
You can also find white and blue flowering varieties.
Bellflowers are named after the bell shaped blooms.
Popular with pollinators, asters are summer flowering purple plants that resemble daisies. A perennial plant in addition to star-shaped purple flowers you can also find white and blue flowering types. An ideal choice for adding color to the late summer and early fall garden, asters are sometimes referred to as the Michaelmas daisy. This is because they tend to flower around Michaelmas in late September.
The aster is at its floral best in late summer and early fall. This makes it a valuable source of pollen for late season pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Learning how to care for an aster flower is pleasingly straightforward.
A versatile plant, there are many different types of aster. These range in height from small 8 inch flowers to elegant, tall 8 ft specimens, so you are certain to find something to suit your planting scheme. Additionally, asters grow equally well in pots and planters as they do in the ground.
The daisy-like blooms of the aster.
Another of our long lasting purple plants, lobelias flower throughout the summer, often lasting until the first frosts of fall. Available in a range of different colors, Lobelia erinus cultivars are typically purple or blue-lilac in color and have an attractive trailing habit. Providing further interest, the colorful petals of the lobelia flower surround a contrasting white eye.
Plant in well draining soil and the lobelia is a low maintenance, easy to grow flower. Unlike some flowers, there is no need to deadhead your spent lobelia blooms. Instead they self-clean, discarding their old blooms as new ones emerge.
Hardy in USDA Zones 10 and 11, in cooler areas they can also be grown as a sun loving annual. In addition to purple plants you can also find white, red and pink flowering varieties.
A profuse flowering habit makes lobelia a popular choice with both gardeners and pollinators.
The verbena is often described as a butterfly magnet. This is because the insects, as well as other pollinators, are drawn to the saucer-shaped clusters of small flowers that the verbena produces.
Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8 you can find both annual and perennial types of Verbena. These full sun loving, ethereal flowers have a tendency to spread. However they respond well to pruning and are also easy to train. This means that you can curtail their sprawling growth habit to fit a compact space. For more on adding verbena to your garden, check out our how to care for verbena guide.
Verbenas foret clusters sit on elegant, arching stalks.
Verbenas thrive in long hot summers and, in favorable climates, continue to flower well into the fall. The flowers sit on elegant stems above mounds of green foliage. Most types of verbena can reach up to 18 inches tall and spread 18 to 36 inches wide. In exposed areas, taller varieties may require the support of a HAINANSTRY Garden Bamboo Stake.
Capable of reaching up to 8 ft tall, the delphinium or larkspur is a stately addition to the garden. Popular in cottage garden planting schemes since the Victorian era, delphiniums can be used in a range of styles and gardens. The spiky showy blooms of the delphinium sit on tall, towering stems. Easier to grow than its reputation for being difficult suggests, our how to grow delphinium guide has all the information that you need.
An ideal addition to the cut flower garden, the delphinium is particularly attractive in floral bouquets and displays alongside lilies and chrysanthemums. A long lasting plant, with the right care delphiniums continue to flower until the early fall. They also draw scores of pollinators and hummingbirds to the garden. Hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 10, as well as purple flowering cultivars such as Dark Knight, you can also find white and blue flowering varieties.
Delphinium adds both color and height to a planting scheme.
An attractive addition to the garden, the little extra care that the delphinium requires is well worth the effort.
A distinctive specimen, iris blooms set on tall stems. Emerging in late spring and lasting until the middle of summer, irises are best planted in full sun. These popular purple plants produce colorful flowers that contrast nicely with their green foliage.
Typically, the iris flower produces blooms that are made up of two types of petals. Small inner petals that stand upright and outer, large petals that drape attractively downwards. This unique arrangement adds to the attraction.
Popular with hummingbirds and butterflies, iris flowers are best planted in well draining soil and full sun. Typically reaching a height of 40 inches, there are a number of different types of iris plants available for you to choose from.
The iris is one of the more distinctive purple plants on our list.
Another perennial favorite, phlox is an ideal floral ground cover choice. The star shaped, dainty flowers develop in large fragrant clusters, adding color to the flower bed. When in full flower it is hard to see the green foliage beneath the flowers.
Not the tallest of the purple plants on our list, many types of phlox rarely exceed 15 inches in height. Taller cultivars are available and are a great option if you want to introduce fragrant height and soft structure to a planting scheme. At its best in the spring, phlox prefers well draining soil. If you would like to learn more about phlox, our how to grow phlox guide is a good place to start.
Low growing phlox cultivars are a reliable flowering groundcover option.
A low maintenance shrub, many types of heather produce small, colorful flowers. Developing during the summer months and lasting until the fall, these dainty blooms sit on long stems. Particularly effective when planted en masse, heather is a good choice for rock gardens, ground cover or planting on slopes.
Like many of the purple plants on our list, heather is surprisingly easy to care for. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 6, these are full sun loving flowers that also thrive in partial shade. Requiring regular moisture and well draining soil, heather is a reliable addition to the garden.
Heather is particularly effective when used in mass plantings.
One of the few herbs on our list of purple plants, lavender is a popular inclusion in the ornamental flower gardens thanks to its colorful flowers and fragrant gray-green foliage. Best planted in well draining soil and full sun, lavender is one of the best low maintenance purple plants.
Just as happy to grow in a pot as in the soil lavender is a versatile herb. It is also aesthetically pleasing. The most commonly grown variety is known as English lavender or Lavandula Angustifolia. There are also French and Spanish cultivars. Just as attractive, these varieties are more tender than English varieties of lavender.
English lavender is hardier than it looks, thriving in a range of conditions.
Typically hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9, in cooler climates you may need to protect tender lavender varieties from the cold winter air. An Airstar Floating Plant Cover protects delicate specimens from colder temperatures whilst still allowing light and moisture to permeate the soil.
One of the best flowers that you can grow to encourage bees, sedum, or stonecrop, is a resilient, succulent plant that is popular for its low growth habit. This makes sedums ideal for providing attractive floral groundcover. You can also find upright and trailing varieties ideal for hanging baskets or spilling over the edge of a wall or planter as well as cultivars in different colors and shaped leaves. In fact, with over 400 different species in this large genus including ones you are sure to find a sedum or two suitable for your planting space.
Sedum flowers sit on thick stems above large leaves, drawing bees and pollinators into the garden. Ideal for sunny and partial shade positions sedums typically have a dome-like growth habit adding interest until the late fall in warmer areas. For more on planting and growing sedums, consult our how to grow guide.
These attractive deciduous shrubs produce lilac or purple colored flowers during the spring and early summer months. One of the most popular ornamental purple plants on our list, a lone lilac bush is a great specimen plant. You can also plant a group of lilacs to introduce privacy or informal hedging to a space.
As well as being colorful, the small flowers of the lilac are also fragrant. These sit in colorful clusters above the plant’s round green foliage. While lilac or purple plants are the most common you can also find white and burgundy flowering cultivars.
Pleasingly long lasting, the lilac is part of the Oleaceae or olive family. Reaching a height of 8 to 15 ft and spreading up to 12 ft wide, our ultimate guide to the lilac bush has all the information that you need to successfully cultivate these attractive flowers.
Lilacs are popular cut flowers.
Salvias are amongst the most versatile and low maintenance purple plants commonly grown in the garden. Known for being tough and durable, their tubular blooms are also attractive.
Salvia’s long lasting floral spikes can reach up to 2 ft in height. With the right care the blooms last from May until late June or early July. A reliable landscape plant, the salvia is ideal for cottage garden, and wildflower planting schemes. They can also be used in butterfly gardens and mixed flower or perennial borders.
A hardy reliable ornamental plant, the salvia is easy to both plant and care for. Flowering in a range of colors, some such as May Night Salvia produce purple blooms. The flower spikes of this cultivar can reach 2 ft in height. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8, salvias are best planted in well draining soil and full sun.
Salvias are popular with pollinators and garden birds.
One of the most distinctive members of the ornamental flower bed, the allium is part of the amaryllis plant family. This means that they are closely related to a number of common vegetables including elephant garlic and onions.
Easy to grow, alliums add height to the flower bed and provide colorful interest thanks to their globe-like blooms. While from afar it can look like one large flower, the flowerhead of the allium is actually made up of clusters of small flowers. These open to create a full, lush floral globe. A reliable cut flower, the seed pods can also be sprayed to create Christmas decorations. Best planted in the fall in a sunny spot, alliums are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 10.
The globe-like allium flower.
One of the harbingers of spring, the tiny crocus is an early flowering bulb plant that brings color and interest to the late winter and early spring garden. These small purple plants that produce attractive star-shaped blooms rarely exceed 6 inches in height.
The green leaves, which are often marked with a light stripe, can resemble blades of grass. If you are planting at the front of a border which is next to the lawn you may want to mark the plant’s location with Wooden Plant Markers to prevent accidental damage. Crocus bulbs are best planted in well draining soil. If the soil is too wet the bulbs may start to rot.
Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8 as well as purple plants you can also find white, orange, yellow, blue and pink crocus varieties.
The small crocus is a sign that spring is one the way.
Tall and elegant, the colorful, aromatic blooms of the heliotrope are a staple of the ornamental flower garden. Sometimes called Mary Fox or White Queen, the heliotrope can reach up to 4 ft in height.
Popular not only for their blooms but also their elongated oval green leaves, Heliotrope flowers emerge in early summer and can last until the first frosts of fall. When in flower, scores of pollinators, in particular butterflies, are drawn to these stately specimens.
While new cultivars in shades of pale lavender and white are available, the traditional purple heliotrope plants are still the most popular. The older or traditional varieties also tend to be more hardy and resilient than newer cultivars. Just as easy to grow as newer cultivars, traditional types have a more noticeable fragrance. Hardy in USDA Zones 9 to 11, in cooler areas you can grow heliotrope as an annual plant.
Heliotropes are one of the best pollinator attracting purple plants.
Warning, heliotropes are poisonous. Keep them away from curious pets and children.
An attractive addition to the garden, the distinctive flowers of the columbine or aquilegia are ideal for mixed flower schemes. These purple plants are also suitable for planting in planters and containers.
Columbines are native to the wooded, sloping areas of North America. This means that these hardy wildflowers can survive harsh conditions. While some people can find them difficult to grow, our how to grow columbine guide has all the information that you need to grow these attractive purple plants from seed.
Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9, Columbine’s delicate flowers come in shades of purple, orange, pink, red, white, blue and yellow. Columbine typically flowers from April until late May or early summer. Happy in a sunny spot, columbine struggles if the weather becomes too warm. Regular watering and mulching the soil helps to keep the plants cool during hot spells.
A popular wildflower, bicolored varieties are particularly attractive.
The climbing wisteria vine is one of the largest purple plants on our list. It is also one of the most aromatic. This sprawling growth habit coupled with fragrant lavender or violet-purple flowers make the wisteria impossible to ignore.
As well as being fabulously showy, the wisteria is also easy to grow. The only regular maintenance required, apart from watering, is attempting to curtail the wisteria’s vigorous growth habit. In favorable conditions these purple plants can spread over 30 ft, covering walls, sheds and even houses.
As the wisteria flowers fade, narrow, smooth seed pods develop providing further interest. If you decide to grow wisteria, don’t forget to install a sturdy trellis or similar support structure. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9, wisteria is best placed in well draining soil and full sun.
Wisteria is popular for both its spreading habit and fragrant flowers.
Warning, Chinese wisteria is considered invasive in many states. American wisteria cultivars are more compact. This means that they are rarely considered invasive and are the recommended choice for many gardeners.
The coneflower, or Echinacea purpurea is one of the showiest purple plants that you can grow. Often overlooked, these resilient, versatile flowers come in a wide range of different varieties. This variety of choice, coupled with an easy going nature, means that the coneflower has enjoyed an increase in popularity in recent years.
A native wildflower, coneflowers are low maintenance perennial plants, the flowers of which can resemble daisies. They are popularly known as coneflowers because, when fully open, a spiny cone is visible in the center of the flower. The purple coneflower is particularly popular amongst pollinators, songbirds and hummingbirds.
Coneflowers are both drought tolerant and deer resistant. They are capable of growing in a range of soil conditions, making them a good choice for beginners or people who like to take a hands off approach to gardening. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8 these showy purple plants have an upright growth habit. Taller varieties are capable of reaching between 2 and 5 ft in height.
Capable of self-seeding and spreading around the garden, spent blooms should be cut from the plant before the seeds ripen.
Coming in a range of colors, coneflowers are popular ornamental purple plants.
Popular for its large, show stopping flowers the clematis is another of the flowering vines on our list of purple plants. Less invasive and more easy to contain than other flowering vines such as morning glory, the clematis is also pleasingly easy to grow. These attractive purple plants are an ideal choice if you want to train a plant over a Metal Arbor or cover an unsightly fence.
Many varieties of clematis, such as Jackmans, produce large deep purple flowers during the summer months. Prized for their productive flowering habit, the clematis flower is often described as having velvet-like petals.
Most varieties of clematis are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 11. At their best in well draining soil and full sun, the clematis also likes to keep its roots cool. In sunny spots, mulching the soil around the clematis helps to keep it happy.
The large open flowers of the clematis.
20 Butterfly Bush
The final entry on our list of purple plants, the butterfly bush or buddleja is a reliable, deciduous shrub which is popular for its long, arching branches. During the spring and summer months, these are covered with long panicles of flowers.
As the name butterfly bush suggests, the flowers of the butterfly bush draw scores of butterflies as well as hummingbirds and pollinators to the garden. Sometimes known as summer lilac, these are evergreen shrubs which are considered hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9.
Native to Japan and China, the butterfly bush has a quick growth habit. Despite this it keeps its shape pleasingly well, making maintenance a straightforward process. Our guide to growing a butterfly bush has all the relevant care information, including how to prune it, that you may need.
As the name suggests the butterfly bush is popular with butterflies.
Warning, before choosing a butterfly bush for your garden, check with your local extension office. Some areas consider the plant to be invasive and have consequently placed restrictions on their planting. While older types of butterfly bush can spread freely throughout a garden, new varieties often have sterile flowers. This makes them less invasive and easier to control.
Cool and calming, purple plants are a reliable introduction to the garden. The purple plants suggested above range from small bedding plants to large, spreading vines meaning that you are sure to find at least one specimen suitable for your growing space.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.