Add Some Color to Your Garden with Purple Leaf Plants

Add Some Color to Your Garden with Purple Leaf Plants

By Published August 30, 2021 Updated April 26, 2022

Shop for Purple/Lavender Foliage Plants at Plant Delights Nursery

Plant foliage color can help define a garden, as leaves are often bigger, bolder and last longer than blooms do. Add a pop of color to your garden with a purple leaf plant. There are quite a few plants that produce purple blooms, but when searching for purple leaf plants, the number of options diminishes. You can shop for purple leaf plants at Plant Delights Nursery! Make your yard stand out with colorful foliaged plants for year round appeal.

Purple foliage can add a dramatic element to any perennial garden. Whenever you are choosing a new perennial plant for your garden it is key to consider the growing conditions in the area in which you are planting. For example, one could use purple leaf plants, like Tradescantia or Heuchera, under a tree to add a sea of color while also providing a ground cover. Ground cover will help to suppress weeds, can create a plant border, and help prevent soil erosion. 

Tradescantia pallida (Wandering Dude) is a ground cover that grows in the USDA plant hardiness zone 7 to 10 with heights between 12 and 18 inches tall. This part sun to shade perennial has lavender flowers beginning in late June (NC). With sun exposure, the leaves take on a darker purple variegation.  Another purple leaf plant is Euphorbia 'Nothowlee' (Blackbird Spurge) also a ground cover, it is a deer-resistant. In early spring, bright yellow flowers emerge on the 18-inch stems. Another great perennial is Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’, it is a superb and colorful evergreen groundcover with large darker purple leaves and purple flowers, far better than mulch!

Oxalis triangularis 'Francis' (Francis False Shamrock) is a heat-loving false shamrock that grows to a height of 8 inches and looks good all summer. This purple leaf plant can serve as a ground cover or could be a container plant. The one-foot-wide clumps are topped in the fall with light lavender flowers. Oxalis triangularis ‘Atropurpurea’ is another purple leaf perennial plant, but it is variegated. Its variegation comes in two different deep tones of purple, adding another dimension to your shade garden. In the summer, it blooms with tiny, pink flowers. 

Heucheras are attractive perennials with many forms boasting pink to purple foliage with darker veining. In late spring, they are topped with 30-inch flower spikes of small, pink or white flowers. Penstemon 'Dark Towers' (Dark Towers Beard Tongue) is a sun-loving perennial and also deer-resistant. The purple foliage grows to two feet tall and has pale pink, tubular-shaped blooms which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’ is also a purple leaved plant that is topped with lilac flowers from May through June. 

Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' (Black Magic Elephant Ear) has solid purple black leaves, which are 2 feet long. There are numerous forms of Colocasia with purple leaves that add Summer and Fall interests in the garden. The variety in heights and sizing in Colocasia allows for them to look great in all kinds of gardens, whether it be contained or right in the ground. 

If you have a sunny spot, try planting Canna ‘Wine and Roses'. This canna grows to 4 feet tall and will have your yard sizzling all summer long with its purple leaves and pink flowers. Canna 'Phasion', also known as the Tropicanna canna, is a great variegated plant that has purple leaves with dramatic stripes of yellow and red. This canna can grow up to 7 feet tall so it will work best in the back of a sunny flower bed. Throughout the summer it will bloom with orange flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Another great perennial addition to the garden is Dahlia 'David Howard' with its black-purple foliage and 4-inch fully double flowers. The flowers are orange with a brighter orange center, creating a high contrast with the purple foliage. You can make a statement in your garden with any dark purple foliaged perennial Hibiscus like ‘Holy Grail’ or ‘Midnight Marvel', both with large colorful blooms that complement their leaves perfectly. We have multiple other purple leaved hibiscus plants as well.

If you are looking for a more tropical addition to your garden, you should try Mangaves. The stiffly arching leaves of Mangave ‘Center of Attention’ have a wide rosy, purple band down the leaf center surrounded by a heavily spotted rosy border with glaucous undertones. Or there is Mangave ‘Blazing Saddles’ that has olive-green leaves, adorned with large violet spots that become concentrated toward the center and makes the leaf appear to be red, it is truly stunning! There are many other Mangaves that have different purple leaf tones, as well as differing foliage structures.

Last, but not least, there is the native sweetshrub Calycanthus ‘Burgundy Spice’. The typical green leaves on this 8’ tall x 8’wide, slowly suckering, deer-resistant deciduous shrub have been replaced by leaves with a dark purple pigment that will hold well through the summer heat. In early Spring, the plants are adorned with fragrant, burgundy-colored axillary flowers. Calycanthis ‘Burgundy Spice’ offers any sun to light shade gardens in the USDA plant hardiness zones 6a to 9b a gorgeous distinction in color against all colorful perennials.

So now you know a little more about the world of purple leaf perennials, what now? It is time to assess your garden and the flowers already have planted in it. Are you looking for a dramatic appeal, a pop of color, or maybe a matching perennial plant? You can fulfill all your purple leaved plant needs by shopping online right at Plant Delights Nursery. Check out our website and catalog now! You can shop our purple leaf plants right here!

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