Purple is traditionally a regal hue that is vibrant and powerful and is often associated with wisdom, bravery, and spirituality. While it can be an overpowering color in an indoor environment, purple is often used successfully as an outdoor color theme. But, of course, there are many different purple colors ranging from deep tones to softer bluish purples like mauve, lilac, lavender, and violet.
There is a huge choice of purple flowering plants. Your decision will depend partly on personal preference, partly on climatic conditions, and ultimately on the effect, you want to create. Options include annual purple flowers, purple perennial flowering plants, gorgeous purple-flowering herbs, and even trees with purple flowers.
15 Best Purple Flowering Plants You Can Grow
The choice of purple plants is enormous. You can even add plants with purple leaves to the mix.
We are going to focus on some of the best purple flowers you can choose from. In addition to the factors mentioned above, be guided by the mature size of plants as well as the season in which they will flower.
Some people like to grow different shades of purple flowers and purple perennial plants on their own. Others like to mix purple flowers with other colors, like achromatic white, which is technically a non-color.
Here’s a list of 15 of the best purple flowering plants you can grow. Some have the same name as the shade of purple they represent, like lavender, lilac, and violet.
- Bearded Iris
- Violets and violas
We are going to look at some of our favorites in more detail.
Ideal for any cut flower garden, or a stunning border, agapanthus is a summer-flowering bulb that does very well in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. It has green strap-like leaves that form an effective ground cover and produces bunches of lavender or purple flowers borne on tall stalks.
Native to South Africa, they are tough, easy-to-grow, flowering perennials that attract hummingbirds and lots of other pollinators. They look best when planted in groups and left to spread.
According to the University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions, Agapanthus does best when grown in full sun. Ideally, they should be watered lightly between spring and fall, but not when they are dormant in winter.
At the same time, they are forgiving plants and will grow in partial shade and in areas that have winter rainfall, like the Western Cape of South Africa.
There is an enormous choice when it comes to purple varieties of aster. Many have daisy-like flowers while others resemble chrysanthemums.
Some are native to the U.S. while others aren’t. They also bloom at different times of the year, although most flower from late summer until the first frost.
Generally, purple perennial asters are well suited to gardens in USDA hardiness zones 3-8 while annual asters with purple flowers do well in all temperate zones.
Here are three very different examples:
The Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) is native to the southeast where it is an evergreen purple perennial. It is one of our favorite purple perennials, although there are also cultivated varieties available in other colors including deep blue, rose pink, silver-white, and even yellow.
It’s a low-maintenance plant that produces flowers that grow up to 4 inches in diameter. They bloom on and off from early spring through summer.
They do best in zones 8-9A and prefer partially sunny sites. They like acidic, well-drained soil.
If you’re looking for something different, see if you can find the cultivar Color Wheel. It has fascinating flowers that change from white to purple throughout the day.
This is another of the purple perennials that are native to the U.S. We love how its purple daisy-like petals surround bold yellow-orange central disks where the pollen forms.
Like the Stokes’ aster, New York is available in cultivated varieties. These include violet, pink, blue, white, and, of course, purple perennial flowers.
Purple Burst China
A non-native annual, Purple Burst has gorgeous purple and white flowers that have a bright yellow center. Ideal for zones 3-9, they do well in full sun and will thrive in good quality organically-rich soil that drains well.
An all-time favorite, lavender is one of the best-loved purple flowering perennials grown globally. There are dozens of different species and hundreds of varieties.
Some of the best known include English lavender, French or Spanish lavender, and Portuguese lavender. While their flowers are all supposedly a lavender color, they range in color from blue to purple. Some are more purple than others!
Generally, lavender likes a dry environment and does best in bright, direct sunlight. Unlike many purple plants, it doesn’t do well in fertile, organic soil.
It doesn’t matter whether your soil is sandy, chalky, or loamy, but it must have good drainage. In the Mediterranean, where it grows naturally, you will find it thriving in dry, rocky areas.
Most types of lavender may be grown in USDA zones 5A-9A.
Lavender isn’t just a plant with pretty purple flowers. Its flowers are wonderfully fragrant, and lavender oil is used in many different products from soap and shampoo to tea and infusions.
Sage is a type of salvia. Many people plant perennial salvias (known as sage) as borders. There are many different types, including Peruvian Sage (Sage discolor) which has dark purple flowers.
The bees and butterflies love these purple perennial flowers. They grow 18 inches to 2 feet tall, depending on the variety, but may also be grown in containers where they don’t grow as big.
They are both drought- and heat-resistant and do best when they get about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Sage is also a herb garden favorite, but it is a different type that is called Sage officinalis or common sage. It has grayish leaves and lovely blue to purple flowers.
Like lavender, Sage officinalis is native to the Mediterranean region but has been naturalized all over the world.
Most people grow Sage officinalis for its edible leaves. But did you know that you can eat its blue-purple flowers as well? You can eat them raw, add them to cake, scone, and cornbread mixes, or fry them in a little batter.
Wisteria is a fabulously exotic purple flowering plant that has native species in many regions including Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, southern Canada, and the eastern U.S. But the actual species differ.
Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) are only native to those parts of the world and are regarded as invasive species in parts of the U.S. The native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) and Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) are what you should grow in your U.S. garden.
In general, wisteria is a strong climbing plant with bunches of cascading blue to purple flowers. But the American species have much less aggressive growth habits than the eastern types.
Wisteria does best in moist, fertile soil and needs lots of sunlight. An essential tip is to prune regularly as they only bloom on new wood. And it’s the beautiful lilac-colored clusters of flowers that make wisteria so special.
While many people grow African violets in pots as houseplants, wild Western dog violets (Viola adunca) will create a sea of purple in shady spots in your garden. They are resilient and will grow in USDA zones 3-9 self-sowing themselves every spring. On the downside, they can become impossible to get rid of.
Violets thrive in shady spots, but they need lots of moisture to thrive. They also prefer slightly acidic soil. Aim for a pH that is between 6.0 and 6.5.
The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is a deciduous shrub that blooms in spring. There are many different varieties, all of which have sweet-smelling white or lilac-purple flowers.
Lilacs prefer fairly cool summer regions and do well in USDA zones 3-7. They prefer rich, loamy soil with a neutral pH and need at least hours of direct sunlight every day.
Once they are established they need minimal care. Lilac bushes will grow from 6 to 15 feet tall, depending on the variety.
For example, Yankee Doodle, which has deep purple flowers, will grow up to 10 feet. Wedgewood Blue, which has beautiful lavender-blue flowers, doesn’t get taller than 6 feet.
Considered a botanical treasure in central and southern Florida, Jacaranda mimosifolia is native to South America. They grow into beautiful spreading deciduous trees that flower throughout spring and summer.
They drop their gorgeous purple, violet, or lavender-colored blooms in the fall, creating colorful carpets of color on the ground. The downside of this is that you will have to sweep up the flowers regularly to prevent them from making patios or driveways slippery.
You will need plenty of space to include a jacaranda tree in your garden. They grow anything from 25-40 feet tall and will spread 40-60 feet overhead.
It’s a fast-growing tree that grows about 10 feet per year in its first few years. It takes a good 20 years to reach maturity.
Jacarandas prefer sandy soil that drains well and thrives in full sun. They do well in USDA hardiness zones 9B-11.
What plant has the prettiest purple flower?
This is a very subjective question because different flowers appeal to different people. But, of those we have mentioned, we think these plants have the prettiest purple flowers:
- China aster
- Salvia (sage)
What purple flowers bloom in summer?
We have mentioned several purple flowers that bloom in summer. These include agapanthus and the aster, Purple Burst.
The aromatic aster species Symphyotrichum oblongifolium is a native species with purple perennial flowers that bloom in late summer until the fall. So, too, does the non-native Jewelsaster Purple China, a cultivar of the China aster, C. chinensis.
This gorgeous purple aster looks more like a chrysanthemum than a daisy. The daisy-like, non-native Frikart’s aster species is one of the purple perennials that flowers from midsummer into fall.
What purple flowers bloom in spring?
Again, we have already mentioned some of the purple flowers that bloom in spring. They include wisteria that blooms vigorously in spring as well as lovely lilacs.
Other spring bloomers with the best purple flowers include clematis, petunias, verbena, geraniums, and sweet peas.
Whether you want to introduce a purple theme to your garden, or simply add a mix of purple hues to brighten up your outdoor spaces, there are so many purple flower options you will be spoiled for choice.