Best Shrubs With Purple Flowers

  • 01 of 11

    Royal Blooms

    Closeup of sepals of purple hydrangea shrub flower.
    Shelly Chapman/Getty Images

    Shrubs with purple flowers are perhaps more highly sought after than any other. 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. In the end, though, it comes down to this: Purple flowers are just drop-dead gorgeous. Learn about some of the best shrubs to grow in your yard that will give you this magnificent color with their lovely blooms.

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  • 02 of 11


    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 fully-opened flowers will be a lighter shade. 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.

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  • 03 of 11

    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.

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  • 04 of 11


    Purple flower racemes of wisteria plant drooping down.
    Arvind Balaraman/Getty Images

    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 really spectacular. Grow it in zones 5 to 8.

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  • 05 of 11

    Golden Dewdrops

    Duranta erecta shrub in bloom.
    titanium22/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    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, being 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.

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  • 06 of 11


    Closeup of 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.). You can change the color of some kinds 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.   

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  • 07 of 11


    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.

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  • 08 of 11


    Caryopteris shrub in bloom.
    Jim, the Photographer/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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 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.

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  • 09 of 11


    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. Grow it in zones 5 to 8.

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  • 10 of 11

    Rose Bushes

    Purple-colored flower of Rosa Midnight Blue.
    Rosa Midnight Blue is 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

    Notice that, in each case, while the marketers are trying to sell the shrubs in question as blooming in blue, their flower color is more of a purple. Both roses bear fragrant, double blooms and will grow in zones 6 to 10. Rhapsody in Blue grows to be 4 feet x 4 feet, while Midnight Blue attains a mature size of 3 feet x 3 feet. As with most roses, you will find both easiest to grow if you plant them in full sun.

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  • 11 of 11


    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 a number of colors. Purple Queen is an example of a type with purple flowers.