Purple is a color that exudes power and captivates the senses. It has long been associated with unconventionality and artistic brilliance. When the Pantone Color Institute declared Ultra Violet as the Color of the Year, they described it as “complex and contemplative.” While purple is often used in interior design, art, and fashion, it also holds great potential in the realm of gardening.
Purple perennial flowers have the ability to bring depth, richness, and a pop of color to any garden. Whether they showcase a dark and regal hue or a soft and luscious shade, these beauties are sure to leave a lasting impression. In this article, we will explore some of the most stunning purple perennial flowers that can transform your garden into a vibrant masterpiece.
Types of Perennials with Purple Flowers
If you’re a fan of purple in the garden, you’ll be delighted to discover the wide variety of violet-hued blooming perennials available. From ground covers to towering plants, there’s a purple perennial for gardens of all sizes and styles.
To make it easier to navigate the abundance of options, we have divided the list into three sections:
Tall Purple Perennials
Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a classic and beautiful perennial that offers stunning purple varieties such as ‘Flame Blue’ or ‘Blue Paradise’. These phlox plants reach a height of 2 to 3 feet and feature round globes of blooms. They thrive in full sun and attract butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbird moths, and other pollinators. Despite their allure, they require regular deadheading and stem pinching for optimum blooming. Phlox is also deer-resistant.
Vervain (Verbena stricta) is a North American native perennial with tall purple flowers that truly stand out in the garden. Reaching heights of 4 to 5 feet, this sun-loving plant is an underutilized gem. Although it may be challenging to find in nurseries, starting from seed is a viable option. Vervain is loved by native bees and is hardy down to -30 degrees F.
German bearded iris (Iris germanica) offers a wide range of colors, but the violet varieties are particularly striking. These deer-resistant purple perennials are incredibly tough and thrive in full to partial sun. German iris bloom in early spring and reach heights of 2 to 3 feet. With their carefree nature and resilience, they are a popular choice among gardeners.
Bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis) is a large perennial that boasts purple flowers and impressive spiny leaves reaching 3 feet in height. Thriving in full sun, bear’s breeches blooms for months and is hardy down to -20 degrees F. The plant’s spiny leaves also protect it from deer and rabbits.
Monkshood (Aconitum napellus or A. carmichaelii) is a fall-blooming purple perennial that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. Its tall spires of flowers do not open until late summer, and they continue blooming well into autumn. While the plant prefers full sun, it can tolerate shade. However, be cautious as all parts of this plant are poisonous. Monkshood is hardy to -40 degrees F and is also deer-resistant.
Tatarian aster (Aster tataricus) is a standout among tall purple perennials. This late-blooming giant can reach an impressive height of 6 feet, attracting migrating monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Its pale purple clusters of small flowers provide much-needed color in the landscape when few other plants are blooming. Tatarian aster thrives in full sun and is hardy down to -40 degrees F. While it is not a top choice for deer, some gardeners have reported occasional nibbling.
False indigo (Baptisia australis) is an early-blooming purple perennial that offers more than just flowers. With its chubby spikes of purple-blue flowers, false indigo is a favorite among bumblebees. Although its bloom time is not particularly long, the foliage itself is quite attractive. False indigo is a deer-resistant plant that thrives in full sun and is hardy down to -40 degrees F.
Russell blue lupine (Lupinus ‘Russell Blue’) is a classic plant in the sunny perennial garden. It produces tall spires of dense blooms in late spring. Despite its name, ‘Russell Blue’ lupine is more purple than blue, making it an excellent choice for those seeking purple flowering perennials. These deer-resistant plants are hardy down to -30 degrees F.
Medium Perennials with Purple Flowers
Clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata) is a shade-loving perennial that stops visitors in their tracks with its dark purple flowers. This striking plant is hardy down to -40 degrees F and blooms all summer, provided deadheading is done regularly. Bellflower is a favorite among pollinators, and its blooms are grouped into balls atop the flower stems.
Blazing star (Liatris spicata) is a North American native purple perennial that butterflies and bees adore. Its 12-inch-tall spikes of blooms emerge from strap-like leaves each summer, opening sequentially from the bottom up. This deer-resistant plant prefers full sun and is hardy to -40 degrees F. Blazing star also makes for delightful cut flowers.
Salvia (Salvia nemorosa) is a summer-blooming purple flowering perennial that thrives in hot, sunny, and dry garden beds. With its slender spikes of flowers, this plant belongs to the mint family. By deadheading regularly, you can enjoy blooms for months on end. Salvia varieties such as ‘Cardonna’ and ‘Amethyst’ are worth growing, and most salvia species are deer-resistant. Plant them in full sun for the best results.
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’) is a must-have for pollinator-friendly gardens. Its chubby spikes of light purple blooms sit atop licorice-scented foliage, attracting bees and butterflies while repelling deer. Anise hyssop blooms continuously for months, especially when pinched back by a third in late May. It is hardy to -20 degrees F and can tolerate light shade.
Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) is another North American native with purple flowers. Resembling the common annual ageratum, this late-blooming perennial produces pale purple, fuzzy blooms on 1-foot-tall stems. Mistflower is hardy down to -20 degrees F and thrives in full sun to partial shade. While it is moderately deer-resistant, it can spread prolifically.
Spike speedwell (Veronica spicata) is an old-fashioned, deer-resistant purple perennial that has been cherished by gardeners for generations. With its pointy spires of densely packed purple flowers, spike speedwell remains in bloom for weeks. This plant thrives in full sun and survives winters down to -40 degrees F.
Pikes Peak beardstongue (Penstemon x mexicali ‘Pikes Peak Purple’) is a beautiful plant that offers abundant dark purple flowers. This bee-friendly perennial is easy to care for and is hardy down to -20 degrees F. It thrives in full sun with well-drained soil.
Short Purple Perennial Flowers
Wood phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a shade-loving perennial that produces early-season blooms. These native plants feature pale purple flowers with five petals each, arranged in clusters atop wiry stems. Wood phlox is hardy down to -40 degrees F, resistant to both deer and dry soil.
Purple-leaved spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Queen’) is a perennial valued for its stunning purple leaves. Although it is only hardy in warmer climates, its dramatic display is well worth growing. This versatile plant grows to a height of 12 inches and cascades beautifully over containers and retaining walls.
Lalla aster (Symphyotrichum x ‘Lalla’) is a hybrid aster that offers an abundance of small purple flowers late in the season. This low-growing perennial is hardy down to -40 degrees F and attracts a multitude of pollinators. While it may be nibbled by deer occasionally, it provides much-needed late-season color. Lalla aster thrives in full sun but can tolerate dappled shade.
Lavender (Lavandula species) is a well-known plant with purple flowers that carries a heavenly scent. Loved for its essential oils, lavender is both deer-resistant and sun-loving. With a wide variety of species and cultivars available, there is a lavender plant suitable for every climate. Examples include Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ and ‘Grosso’, which are personal favorites.
Creeping speedwell (Veronica x ‘Waterperry Blue’) is a low-growing perennial that makes an excellent ground cover. Although its bloom time is short in spring, creeping speedwell remains visually appealing throughout the year. This deer-resistant purple-flowering groundcover thrives in full sun.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria species) is an early-blooming purple flowering perennial that thrives in shady areas. Many lungwort varieties produce purple blooms, while others offer pink or white flowers. Some even feature mottled or spotted foliage. Plant lungwort in a shady spot with ample water. It is hardy down to -40 degrees F and is deer-resistant.
Coralbells (Heuchera species) might not have purple flowers, but their purple leaves make them a standout in the shade. With numerous cultivars available, coralbells showcase foliage in shades of purple, bronze, chartreuse, silver, green, and peach. Popular purple coralbell varieties include ‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Dark Secret’, ‘Forever Purple’, and ‘Wildberry’. The splash of purple lasts all season long.
Millenium flowering onion (Allium ‘Millenium’) is a resistant plant with purple blooms that attracts a myriad of pollinators. This compact perennial has orb-shaped bloom clusters that last for weeks. It thrives in full sun and is hardy to -20 degrees F. Its ease of care and long bloom time make it an exceptional choice.
Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is a delightful early-blooming purple perennial that welcomes spring with its cheery blooms. Its fine, fern-like foliage and poufy seed heads create an enchanting display. Pasque flower is hardy down to -40 degrees F and thrives in well-drained soils. It is also deer-resistant.
Explore the World of Purple Perennial Flowers
We hope this collection of purple perennial flowers has inspired you to add some captivating hues to your garden. While we have showcased a wide range of options, there are undoubtedly many more varieties to discover. If you have a favorite that’s not on our list, please share it with us in the comments below.
To further immerse yourself in the world of purple perennials, check out the video from our garden. Additionally, you can explore more articles on growing beautiful perennials, including those with long bloom times, evergreen ground covers, shade-loving varieties, cottage garden plants, and perennials for pollinators.
Let your garden bloom with the enchanting beauty of purple perennial flowers!
Image Source: Ames Farm Center