Best Shrubs With Purple Flowers

Blooms With a Royal Touch

caryopteris flowers

The Spruce / Autumn Wood

Shrubs with purple flowers are perhaps more highly sought after than any other type. Like bushes with blue or lavender flowers, their "cool" color makes them valued in color theory for the relaxing effect they have on us. Such shrubs are often used in meditation gardens.

Outside of the gardening world, too, purple is thought of as a special color–even a royal color. For centuries, kings and queens wore it. But perhaps, in the end, it comes down to just this: purple flowers are drop-dead gorgeous. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options for growing shrubs that will give you this magnificent color with their lovely blooms.

  • 01 of 10


    Flower buds of purple rhododendron bush
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    Plants in the Rhododendron genus (which consists of what are commonly referred to as "azaleas" and "rhododendrons") come in a variety of colors. The buds of some of these acid-loving plants are purple, although the flowers are a lighter shade when fully opened. Even the flowers of the rhododendron cultivar known as "Lee's Dark Purple" (USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 9) do not stay purple when they fully open, being more of a lavender color.

  • 02 of 10

    Butterfly Bush

    Purple butterfly bush in bloom
    Clare Savinson / Getty Images

    Among the various kinds of butterfly bush (zones 5 to 10), you can find deeper, more truly purple flowers than you can in the Rhododendron genus. In fact, some are so dark as to approach the status of black flowers. Buddleia davidii Black Knight is one particularly dark cultivar. If you are more concerned about the invasive nature of butterfly bush than you are about enjoying the color purple, grow the noninvasive cultivar, Blue Chip, which has a bluish-purple flower.

  • 03 of 10


    Purple flower racemes of wisteria plant drooping down
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    The wisteria (Wisteria spp.) is commonly grown as a vine, but it can also be trained to grow as a shrub, through pruning. Indeed, if you are looking for a shrub with purple flowers, it would be worth the extra maintenance involved to keep a wisteria in bush form because the racemes of purple flowers on this plant are spectacular. It grows in zones 5 to 8.

  • 04 of 10

    Golden Dewdrops

    Golden Dew Drop
    Noppharat05081977 / Getty Images

    Golden dewdrops shrub (Duranta erecta) comes in various flower colors. The Sweet Memories cultivar is one of the best purple types. This poisonous plant is tropical and is suited only to zones 10 and 11. In those zones, it grows as a broadleaf evergreen that can become 18 feet tall, with a spread of 8 feet. When grown as an annual in cold climates, it reaches 4 feet in height, with a spread of up to 2 feet. Give it full sun.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    Sepals of purple hydrangea shrub flower
    Shelly Chapman / Getty Images

    If you want to grow as many different types of shrubs with purple flowers as possible, then pay attention when you are shopping for hydrangea bushes (Hydrangea spp.). Sometimes, you can change the color of hydrangeas to purple. An example is Rhapsody Blue (zones 5 to 9). Depending on how acidic the soil is, these hydrangea shrubs can have pink, blue, or purple flowers.

  • 06 of 10


    Purple lilac bushes in bloom
    fotolinchen / Getty Images

    The flower clusters of common lilac shrubs (Syringa vulgaris) are just as beautiful as those of wisteria, and their incredible fragrance may very well put them over the top as the best of the best shrubs with purple flowers. They do come in other colors, but purple lilacs are favored by many gardeners.

  • 07 of 10


    Sunshine Blue (Caryopteris incana)
    magicflute002 / Getty Images

    Common names for Caryopteris are "blue mist" and "bluebeard," but the color of this drought-tolerant shrub (often treated as if it were a perennial) stands somewhere between blue and purple. Caryopteris x clandonensis Dark Night is one of the darker types. Suited to zones 5 to 9, Caryopteris is valued by gardeners who care about the sequence of bloom. This late-summer flowering shrub gives you landscape color during the bridge period between peak floral color in the yard and the beginning of the fall foliage season.

  • 08 of 10


    Purple heather plants in bloom
    Michael Lloyd / Getty Images

    Heather (Calluna spp.) and winter heath (Erica spp.) are similar-looking plants. Both are shrubby ground covers that produce masses of small flowers. Erica carnea Vivelli is one of the best choices for light-purple flowers. It grows in zones 5 to 8.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Rose Bushes

    Purple flower of Rosa Midnight Blue, more purple than blue
    David C. Phillips / Getty Images

    Two types of rose bushes with purple flowers are:

    • Rosa Rhapsody in Blue
    • Rosa Midnight Blue

    Despite their names, these shrubs have a flower color that is more of a purple. Both rose bushes bear fragrant, double blooms and will grow in zones 6 to 10. Rhapsody in Blue grows to be 4 feet by 4 feet, while Midnight Blue attains a mature size of 3 feet by 3 feet. As with most roses, you will find both ​roses easy to grow if you plant them in full sun.

  • 10 of 10


    Purple bougainvillea shrub in bloom
    Nizar Gharbaoui / Getty Images

    Like wisteria plants, Bougainvillea plants can be grown either as vines or as shrubs. They are hardy only in zones 9 to 11. If you live in a region with a colder climate, try growing them in containers for the summer. Some homeowners in the North grow them in hanging pots for display in patio areas during the warm-weather months. Bougainvillea comes in several colors. Purple Queen is an example of a type with purple flowers.

Article Sources
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  1. Duranta Erecta. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.