Glorious Purple Blooms Bring a Crowning Touch to Gardens

Purple may be the perfect garden shade. It’s the color of royalty, which is evident when you see it reigning supreme over the remainder of the garden. At exactly the same time, it is a fantastic mediator. It blends nicely with the cool side of the color wheel but is amazingly at home with reds, oranges and yellows as well. It’s a subtle but powerful foil against greens or whites, and in its deepest iteration, it can even substitute for shameful. And spring and fall are great times to time to plant long-lived purple perennials, like sages and lavenders.

Join me on a tour through U.S. gardens from coast to coast, from formal areas to cottage gardens to Mediterranean-inspired landscapes, and see just how adding my all-time favourite color to your design just might make your own backyard the gem of the neighborhood.

Carolyn Chadwick

Experiment With Color Combinations

While blending reds or greens can be complicated, mixing different purples is usually a simple job. Although purples do not generally struggle, when in doubt, go with shades that are alike in tone or hue but vary in intensity (think of those varying shades on a color sample in the paint store).

Pairing a purple which has a pink undertone, like culture garlic (Tulbachia violacea), with a purple which has a blue undertone, like African lily (Agapanthus africanus) results in mix that highlights both colours. White varieties of African lilies scattered throughout a planting bed also help bridge the difference between the 2 shades of purple.

Elliott Brundage Landscape Design

Deep, dark purples, such as ‘May Night’ salvia, and light, airy lavenders, like’Walker’s Low’ catmint, are a timeless blend. Try planting them in alternating beds to create a tapestry result or intermingle them for a more casual look.

The New York Botanical Garden

Deep purple blossoms can be brightly colored, however, the dark shade can sometimes get dropped when surrounded by a sea of evergreens. If your purples do not stand out, look for a plant with a slightly brighter blossom, like this aptly called ‘Purple Sensation’ allium.

Aitken and Associates

Double rows of pinkish-purple rock cress (Aubrieta deltoidea) immediately grab your attention in this backyard — it appears that someone summarized the boccie ball court with a glowing highlighter. With such a strong focus, you might overlook another purple accents at the area till you notice how nicely the lightest lavender wisteria overhead frames and complements the bold shade below.

Schmechtig Landscapes

Add Purple to The Formal and Informal Gardens

Borrow an idea in the fashion world and create a color-block pattern in purple to enliven an otherwise conventional, and somewhat staid, formal garden. Boxed in by evergreens, the purple blossoms almost look as if they were painted in between the lines.

Schmechtig Landscapes

You might also utilize a looser purple bloomer like this catmint (Nepeta) or Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) at a comparable formal setting. The evergreen edges help keep the plants in check if you want a formal look…

… however these blowsy purple-spiked plants also look perfectly at home when let loose in an informal cottage garden. Bordered by white fences instead of boxwood and packed closely together with other perennials, the plants are completely changed.

WA Design Architects

Seeking rows of soldiers standing at attention, these irises include a burst of color that puts off the modern metal sculpture within this contemporary garden.

TIP: Pick a purple with blue undertones to utilize against a silvery alloy for a cohesive look.


Consider Purple Hardscaping

Painting a wall deep purple provides a vegetable garden a modern signature and showcases the striking shade of the deep purple basil.

Carolyn Chadwick

Find the finest Purple for Your Climate

Society garlic (Tulbachia violacea), oleander (Nerium oleander) and common lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) are tough plants that need lots of sunlight but little water, making them ideal for a Mediterranean climate.

Carolyn Chadwick

Try this mixture of sunlight lovers in dry regions of the garden in zones 7 to 10 or utilize lavender alone anywhere in zones 5 to 10. Society garlic is also a fantastic alternative at the coast.

Las Pilitas Nursery

A native to California, ‘Celestial Blue’ salvia, also known as purple sage, has vibrant purple-blue blossoms in summer. Even though salvias normally float from warm, dry climates, they also grow well in homes which receive rain. Simply place them in which they will get a fantastic dose of sunlight and don’t give them any supplemental water.


Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans) is a purple showstopper that blends easily with the hot pinks of bougainvillea in tropical gardens.

Lankford Associates Landscape Architects

Red Mother of Thyme (Thymus serphyllum) grows well in various climates, such as the frequently harsh environment found along the shore. For the best display, provide these plants lots of sunlight, only a little water and a place to show off!

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Purple plants might be considered a standard in warmer areas, but they’re also at home in colder climates. This Maine backyard is full of a mix of perennials, but it is the purple salvia that stands out.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

In a colder climate, you also have the perfect chance to experiment with a huge number of purple bulbs and tubers. Alliums, that come in several of distinct shades of purple, are always a fantastic option, or you can go mad with a mix of purple tulips. Irises, with their many distinct shades of purple, are constantly a backyard stalwart, but also consider the various purples provided by early spring bloomers, such as crocus and grape hyacinth.

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