12 Enchanting Trees and Shrubs With Purple Leaves to Make Your Garden Pop

Purple foliage on trees and shrubs can bring a touch of magic to your garden. The striking dark silhouettes of these plants add depth, intensity, and drama to any outdoor space. With their lush leaves in shades of plum, burgundy, wine, and mulberry, these exceptional plants stand out beautifully against the green backdrop of other plants.

These trees and shrubs are unrivaled in their ability to transform the monotonous greenery of a garden into a vibrant and captivating display of color. They add a touch of elegance and an unexpected element to any space. Whether you’re using them for hedges, borders, mass planting, or simply to decorate the entrance of your home, trees and shrubs with purple leaves are truly exceptional.

Let’s explore some of the most captivating ornamental trees and shrubs that can bring a touch of royalty to your garden.

1: ‘Atropurpurea’ Japanese Barberry (Berberis Thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’)

The dense and intense foliage of the ‘Atropurpurea’ Japanese barberry boasts a deep purple shade with hints of red. Its ovate and glossy leaves grow on intricate thorny branches, creating a unique and striking appearance. In winter, the leaves fall, but the shrub is adorned with lovely crimson berries that add color and attract birds. For smaller spaces, consider the dwarf variety ‘Atropurpurea Nana’, which grows to a maximum of 2 feet tall and 3 feet in spread.

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2: ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’)

The ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple is a small tree with impressive foliage. Its palmate leaves hang gracefully on arching branches, showcasing a deep burgundy purple color. The blackish red bark adds to its beauty. In spring, it blooms with small yet attractive purplish flowers, followed by red fruits in summer. This cultivar is perfect as a focal point in various garden styles, including oriental, cottage, and urban designs.

3: ‘Black Beauty’ Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’)

The ‘Black Beauty’ elderberry is a shrub that offers a spot of dark intensity in your garden. Its lacy pinnate dark purple leaves create a striking contrast with other plants. In summer, it produces clusters of pink star-shaped flowers with a strong lemon scent. After the flowers wilt, glossy dark purple berries ripen, attracting both birds and humans. This shrub adds depth and drama to any natural-looking garden, whether in hedges, borders, or as a specimen plant.

4: ‘Diablo’ Common Ninebark (Physocarpus Opulifolius ‘Diabolo’)

For distinctly purple foliage, the ‘Diablo’ common ninebark is unmatched. Its large and serrated leaves boast an intense and dark wine shade. The dense clusters of cream-white flowers that appear in contrast to the foliage add a refreshing touch. This deciduous shrub has peeling bark, which reveals a layer of reddish-brown underneath in winter. It’s perfect for informal garden styles in shrubs, borders, screens, or on banks and slopes.

5: ‘Newport’ Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’)

The ‘Newport’ cherry plum showcases a theme of purple from its deep purple leaves to its purple branches and wine-purple plums. In spring, it blooms with delicate and fragrant flowers in white to pale pink, enhancing its overall appeal. This decorative tree is also suitable for fruit gardens and works well as a specimen tree or in clumps.

6: ‘Royal Purple’ Smokebush (Cotinus coggyria ‘Royal Purple’)

The ‘Royal Purple’ smokebush is a large deciduous shrub with vibrant foliage. Its rounded leaves emerge as maroon red, then ripen to a wine purple color in early summer. They remain this shade until they fall, creating a noble-looking carpet on the ground. The massive pink and fluffy smoke-like blooms cover the whole bush for months. This cultivar is excellent as a specimen plant or in hedges, screens, and tall borders.

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7: ‘Black Pearl’ Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Black Pearl’)

The ‘Black Pearl’ eastern redbud is a tree that captivates with its heart-shaped, almost black leaves. The dark purple foliage shines when raindrops fall on it. In fall, the leaves transition to a chartreuse yellow color, providing a colorful end-of-season display. Before the leaves emerge, the branches are covered in bright pink and magenta flowers, adding a punch of drama to any space. This low-maintenance tree works well as a specimen or in groups, hedges, and screens.

8: ‘Purple Daydream’ Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum Chinense ‘Purple Daydream’)

The ‘Purple Daydream’ Chinese fringe flower is a small, dense flowering shrub with foliage in various shades of purple, including wine, grape, and plum. Its evergreen nature means the purple leaves remain on the branches year-round. In spring, bright pink-red spider-like flowers provide a striking contrast with the foliage. This low-maintenance shrub is versatile and can be used for foundation planting, mass planting, beds, borders, hedges, and even containers.

9: ‘Dawick Purple’ European Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawick Purple’)

The ‘Dawick Purple’ European beech is a towering purple giant. With its dense columnar crown and elliptic, glossy leaves in a deep burgundy shade, this tree demands attention. While it has inconspicuous flowers in spring, it shines in fall with its stunning bronze foliage before transitioning to a strong golden shade. This specimen tree is ideal for gardens with ample space and works well on its own or as part of a colorful screen.

10: Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurescens’)

Purple sage is a small shrub that adds interesting leaf coloring to any garden. Its long and pointed elliptical leaves feature shades of purple, green, and silver. The lavender-blue flowers that grow in straight spikes attract butterflies, bees, and pollinators. This low-maintenance shrub not only serves as decorative foliage but can also be used for culinary purposes. It’s suitable for informal garden styles, including cottage or city designs.

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11: Purple Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Purple holy basil is a tropical subshrub with serrated burgundy leaves that form a dense clump. It holds deep spiritual value for Hindus and is often used in Ayurvedic medicine. The upright stems bear white or mauve blooms. This variety is edible and commonly used in stir-fries. It thrives in warm climates as a small shrub or as an annual in colder regions. It adds a spiritual presence to any garden, whether under shrubs, in beds and borders, or in containers.

12: ‘Purpurea Tricolor’ European Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Tricolor’)

‘Purpurea Tricolor’ European beech is a European variety with a unique and colorful twist. Its elliptical to ovate leaves have a deep burgundy center and bright magenta to pink and red edges. In fall, the outer edges turn bronze and eventually a strong golden shade before winter. This striking specimen tree with a rounded, oval crown is a true showstopper. Its inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers in spring are followed by bristly fruits.

These trees and shrubs with deep and dramatic purple leaves add an intense and captivating element to any garden. From small shrubs to tall trees, there is a variety to suit any space. With their unique and vibrant foliage, they provide a much-needed change and focal point in green spaces. So go ahead and make your garden pop with these enchanting purple-leaved plants!

Ames Farm Center

Source: Ames Farm Center