The Most Popular Purple Plants For your Garden

Fagus sylvatica branches with dense purple-red leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Plants with colorful foliage have always been popular, but with gardeners’ newfound interest in color, these plants are in extremely high demand. The great thing about plants with attractive, colorful foliage is that they look attractive regardless of whether or not they're in bloom. This is all the more important for perennials and flowering shrubs that normally bloom for four weeks or less.

Here are some favorite purple flower selections from Tim Wood, Resident Horticulturist for Spring Meadow Nursery. Check with Proven Winners and Spring Meadow Nursery for retailers in your area.

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    Aguja reptans (cultivars)

    EnLorax / CC BY-SA 3.0/ Wikimedia Commons

    This perennial also goes by the name Bronze-burgundy, 'Atropurpurea', 'Bronze Beauty', and 'Gaiety'. Aguja reptans is native to Europe but has become an invasive species in parts of North America. When gardening, it's a useful groundcover plant.

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    Cimicifuga racemosa var. atropurpurea

    Cimicifuga racemosa var. atropurpurea purple plants with white flower spikes

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This towing plant grows white flower spikes in the late summer. It's an outstanding but hard-to-find ​plant that has many medicinal qualities. It's native to North America and was widely used by the indigenous population. The flowers are dark purple, and it thrives in Zones 3-8. It grows up to five feet tall.

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    Cimicifuga racemosa 'Brunette'

    cimicifuga racemosa 'brunette' (right) & helianthus (left). 't aerts paradijs, herselt, august.
    Francois De Heel / Getty Images

    This breed is also hard to find but it's worth the search as it's quite beautiful. It belongs to the same genus as the atropurpurea. The flowers are bronze-purple, and it thrives in Zones 3-8. It grows up to four feet tall.

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    Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon'

    Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon'
    Joshua McCullough, PhytoPhoto / Getty Images

    The Euphorbia belongs to the incredibly diverse spurge genus. The genus is named after the physician of the Greek King Juba. This plant thrives in Zones 4-9, and it reaches 15 inches tall.

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    Heuchera americana (cultivars)

    Heuchera americana purple plants

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Also known as 'Bressingham Purple', 'Cascade Dawn', 'Persian Carpet', 'Chocolate Ruffles', 'Chocolate Veil', 'Palace Purple', 'Ruby Ruffles', and 'Velvet Night'. The Heuchera Americana is known for its large sometimes marbled or veined leaves.

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    Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

    Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' maroon-purple plants in field

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This eye-catching plant flowers in mid-summer. This native of Eastern North America needs moist soil and direct sunlight to flourish. This maroon purple flower thrives in Zones 4-9, and reaches up to 28 inches tall.

  • 07 of 18

    Rheum palmatum and Atrosanquineum Ornamental Rhubarb

    Rheum palmatum purple plant with spiky veined leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    While many use the plant for medicinal purposes, ingesting too much of it can make you very ill. This plant is great if you have a large space to fill in your plot. This dark purple plant thrives in Zones 4-7, and can sometimes grow up to seven feet tall when in flower. It's truly a remarkable plant.

  • 08 of 18

    Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry'

    Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry' maple trees with purple leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    These maple trees are native to Europe and Asia. They're popular for their beautiful leaves and the delicious syrup they produce. This plant does well in Zones 3-7. They're great for tight spaces as they provide dense foliage.

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    Acer palmatum (cultivars)

    Acer palmatum maple tree branch with purple leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Another member of the Maple family native to Japan. 'Atropurpureum' dark red leaves fade in summer, 'Bloodgood' one of the best for holding its color, 'Burgundy Lace' good color resists fading, fine lacy leaves, 'Garnet' similar to 'Burgundy Lace' but said to be hardier. You'll find these plants in Zones 5-8, and they can grow up to two feet tall depending upon variety and location.

  • 10 of 18

    Corylus maxima 'Purpurea' (purple leaf filbert)

    Corylus maxima 'Purpurea' plant with veined purple leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Often grown as a shrub, the purple leaf filbert plant's deep purple color fades to a green purple in late summer, earlier in the south. It's native to Europe and Southwest Asia. It's a relative of the hazel family as it produces edible nuts. It grows well in Zones 4-8, and can reach up to 20 inches tall.

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    Cotinus coggygria (cultivars)

    Cotinus coggygria plant with purple new growth leaves and yellow blooms

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The wood of the Cotinus coggygria from Southern Europe and central Asia is often used in yellow dyes. 'Velvet Cloak' dark purple, resists fading and turns a spectacular red color in fall. 'Foliis Purpureais' sports green leaves with purple new growth. You'll find these plants in Zones 4-8, and they can grow up to 15 feet tall.

  • 12 of 18

    Fagus sylvatica ​(cultivars)

    Fagus sylvatica weeping tree with purple leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The Fagus sylvatica is slow growing, weeping habit. This European Beech doesn't shed its leaves until spring. Beech forests tend to be dark because of dense leaf cover. 'Purpurea' is a copper purple, 'Riversii' features dark purple wavy leaves, 'Dawyck Purple' is a columnar shape with purple leaves, and 'Purple Fountain' reaches up to 12 feet tall. These plants are grown in Zone 4-7.

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    Hypericum androsaemum 'Albury Purple'

    Hypericum androsaemum
    Nova/ Wikimedia Commons / CC By 3.0

    Albury Purple features an attractive purple cast especially in its new growth, as well as small yellow flowers in early summer. While the berries of this plant are poisonous, other parts of it can be used in herbal medicine. This plant is considered an invasive in parts of Australia and New Zealand. It does well in Zones 6-8, and can reach up to 24 inches tall.

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    Sambucus Black Beauty 'Gerda'

    Sambucus black beauty 'Gerda' plant with narrow purple leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Sambucus is a bold, new purple-leafed elder from England. These plants were once thought to be part of the honeysuckle family. Elderberries are commonly used to boost the immune system. They're grown in Zones 4-8, and can grow up to 15 feet tall.

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    Weigela ‘Midnight Wine

    Weigela ‘Midnight Wine' plant with small purple leaves and pink blooms

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This new dwarf purple-leafed Weigela forms a neat 12-inch mound. They are great in the perennial garden, or even as a sunny groundcover. The Weigela family is named after Christian Ehrenfried Weigel a German chemist.

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    Weigela florida Wine and Roses

    Foliage and Flowers of Weigela
    © Patrick Johns/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

    These plants feature vibrant pink flowers in late spring, and their leaf color intensifies in late summer. The seeds of the Weigela florida Wine and Roses are part of the diet of many birds.

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    Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. ​atropurpurea 'Nana')

    Crimson pygmy barberry with small purple leaves and tiny yellow flower clusters

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Crimson Pygmy or Japanese Barberry is an invasive species that has been banned in several states. The dense foliage is a great home to ticks. Some think the spread of Japanese Barberry has also helped the spread of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease.

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    Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)

    Purple leaf sand cherry tree branches with purple leaves and small pink blooms

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The Purple Leaf Sand Cherry is a member of the Rose family. This shrub produces small cherries in the early summer. It's common in Eastern North America.

Purple is considered a royal color that's strongly associated with passion. People love purple-red colors and their love extends to plants as well. Try pairing purple foliage with lime green—like Marguerite sweet potato vine—and watch the colors pop.