Color Purple

Part 2 - Purple Among Pastels

Even a soft-colored flower border full of pink, cream, lavender, pale blue and soft yellow can benefit from the addition of some purple. True, the pastels are perfectly lovely with one another, but if you inject a little purple-a rich-hued spiky penstemon or salvia, for instance-you get jolt of contrast complexity. It boosts the excitement without sacrificing the prettiness.

There ‘s a surprising range of sources for garden purple. Flowers are the most obvious place to start. Irises and clematis come in deep purple, and lets not forget pansies and petunias, old favorites that always supply plentiful true-purple blooms. There are many more, including numerous spring bulbs and a few flowering shrubs.

When it comes to foliage, you won’t have to look far. Green dominates, of course, but perhaps the next most common leaf color is purple. Not only that, it’s usually the desirable dark-purple version.

Check out the ornamental kales and cabbages, the trailing stems of purple heart and the similar coleus and Persian shield, to name a few.

Listed below are some purple flowers that will grow in hardiness zone 9.

  • 1. Coral Bells:
    Purple varieties: ‘plum Pudding’, ‘palace Purple
    Botanical name: Heuchera species and cultivars
    Plant type: perennial
    Hardiness: Zone 4 - 9
    Height: plant, up to 12”; flower sprays up to 24”
    Width: 8” – 18”
    Light needs: full sun to part shade
    Planting: These thrive in moist organically rich, well-drained ground. May scorch in hot afternoon sun.
  • 2. Ajuga
    Purple varieties: ‘Bronze Beauty’, ‘Burgundy Glow’
    Botanical name: Ajuga repans
    Plant type: perennial ground cover
    Bloom time: late spring- early summer
    Hardiness: Zone 3 - 9
    Height: 4” – 8”
    Width: spreading habit
    Light needs: full sun to full shade
    Planting: Purchase flats in spring, late summer or early fall. Set out in prepared, organically rich soil. Water regularly until established.
  • 3. Petunia
    Purple varieties: ‘Limbo Violet’, ‘Purple Wave
    Botanical name: Petunia x hybrida
    Plant type: annual bedding
    Bloom time: summer
    Hardiness: Zone all zones
    Height: up to 12”
    Width: 6” – 12”
    Light needs: full to part sun
    Planting: Buy small plants in late spring; plant in good, well-drained soil; keep well-watered. Good plants in containers.
  • 4. Butterfly Bush
    Purple varieties: ‘Black Knight’, dwarf ‘Nanho Purple’
    Botanical name: Buddleia davidii
    Plant type: large, bushy perennial
    Bloom time: early summer
    Hardiness: Zone 5-9
    Height: 6’ – 8’
    Width: 4’ – 8’
    Light needs: full sun
    Planting: Grow in well-drained, fertile soil; cut back low to the ground in early spring. Considered invasive in some area.
  • 5. Pansy
    Purple varieties: ‘Purple Rain’, “Majestic Giant Purple’
    Botanical name: Viola x wittrockiana
    Plant type: annual bedding
    Bloom time: summer
    Hardiness: Zone all zones
    Height: up to 6”
    Width: up to 9”
    Light needs: full sun to part shade
    Planting: Buy small plants in spring or fall; excellent cool-season annual. Plant in good, well – drained soil; keep well-watered. Good plants in containers.

Enjoy your purple garden.

Anna R. Coley, is a Master gardener affiliated with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.