Purple is Pantone’s Color of the Year and the trend extends beyond home decor (see our ideas for decorating with purple here) and fashion. Bring the hue into your garden plans for a high-frequency hit of outdoor exuberance.


Marianne Willburn

Purple is the child of hot red and cool blue so it wears two faces, making it a particularly intriguing color. It spans a wide range of shades from deep velvets that appear almost black, to palest periwinkle. In its various guises it pairs beautifully with almost every other color of foliage and bloom.


Ligularia Bottle Rocket

First, decide how you want to use the color to advantage in the garden. Orchid and yellow, as complements on the color wheel are an ideal pairing but purple and orange will send up sparks, too. Green or chartreuse with a red-violet is a dynamic duo while an analogous scheme of amethyst and blue or purple and red bring harmony to beds and borders.


Walters_Astilbe chinensis 'Purple Candles'

Although often associated with royalty, purple has its laid-back side, too. It can  star in a formal knot garden or fill a meadow with its vibrant presence.


Finished chair planter

Think beyond flowers and foliage, too. Lilac accents sing on patios, porches, and in vignettes around a decorated garden. Paint trimwork, fencing, gate, birdhouse or a flowerpot in a violet shade. Throw indigo cushions on patio furniture or open up a lavender market umbrella. Or make a unique focal feature like this chair planter. See how here.


Evening Scentsation Petunia

Try these plants for a jolt of purple flowers:

  • Bearded irises (Iris spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
  • Petunias (Petunia spp. and cvs., annual)
  • Siberian irises (Iris spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
  • Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Heart’, Zones 8–11)
  • Purple wood sorrel (Oxalis regnellii ‘Triangularis’ and ‘Francis’, Zones 7–10)
  • Canterbury bells (Campanula medium and cvs., Zones 5–8)
  • Clustered bellflowers (Campanula glomerata and cvs., Zones 3–8)
  • Corsican violet (Viola corsica, Zones 4–9)
  • English lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Mitcham Gray’ and ‘Hidcote’, Zones 5–8)
  • Glory bush (Tibouchina urvilleana, Zones 9–11)
  • Jackman clematis (Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, Zones 4–11)
  • New England asters (Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ and ‘Hella Lacey’, Zones 4–8)
  • Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus, Zones 9–11)
  • Rocky Mountain beard-tongue (Penstemon strictus, Zones 3–8)
  • Rose vervain (Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’, Zones 5–9)
  • Salvias (Salvia X superba and cvs., Zones 5–9)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’, Zones 6–9)
  • ‘Indigo Spires’ salvia (Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘May Night’ salvia (Salvia X sylvestris ‘May Night’, Zones 5–9)


Heuchera 'Silver Gumdrop'

For foliage in royal hues, choose from these varieties:

  • Ajuga
  • Bergenia
  • Smokebush
  • Barberry
  • Coral bells
  • Snakeroot
  • Geranium
  • New Zealand flax


© Caruth Studio

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