by Matt Gibson
Looking for a list of purple flowers to grow or give as a gift to someone? The color purple is widely known for its association with royalty, nobility, luxury, wealth, and power. Purple also symbolizes extravagance, creativity, peace, magic, and mysticism. Because the color occurs rarely in nature, it is considered to be sacred and precious. Purple is known to enhance the sacred, uplift the spirit, increase feelings of nurturing and sensitivity, and encourage imagination and creative expression. Purple is associated with spirituality, passion, vitality, fulfillment, the third eye, and the higher self (and it also happens to be this author’s favorite color).
Though shades of purple are uncommon in nature, that is not very true in the world of flowers, where there are over sixty purple flowers for gardeners to choose from when adding purple to their landscape’s palate. Because green is usually the most common color found in the garden, it is not a bad idea to allow the color purple do dominate your choices when it comes to decorating your garden with flowers. Purple and green complement each other perfectly and the right choices should add a touch of magic and royal flare to your garden area. If you want a little more variety of color choices, try sprinkling in a bit of white or yellow, as both colors pair perfectly with the color of royalty. The following list is comprised of the best of the best purple picks for your floral plantings.
Available in a variety of colors, including a beautiful violet, cosmos are fabulously showy flowers that catch the eye of every passerby of your garden. These long-stemmed, bowl-shaped purple flowers will invite a host of birds and butterflies into your garden sanctuary, which will help with pollination. Cosmos blooms are relatively large in comparison to their long, slender stems, so be prepared to stake whenever necessary. Be sure to remove fading flowers to prolong the blooming period and enjoy your cosmos for as long as possible.
Cosmos thrive in zones 3-10 in full sun and well-drained soil.
Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) is available in varying shades of violet, magenta, and indigo, and provide a blanket of rich, vivid color in your garden all summer long. The blooming clusters of purple verbena flowers will grow up to 18 inches tall and is known to attract butterflies to your garden. Verbena has been a long-time staple of herbal medicine, used to soothe ear aches and fight gum disease. Verbena symbolizes healing, creativity, and happiness.
Verbena gets along well in zones 9-11 and requires constantly damp, moist, well-drained soil to flower. Verbena prefers full sunlight exposure.
Monkshood (Aconitum napellus) comes with a long list of warnings and aliases. It’s very poisonous and can harm both humans and animals if ingested. It’s slow to establish itself and needs to be handled with delicate care. It requires shade and regular watering to get going. However, once viewed in full bloom, it becomes clear why many gardeners are willing to put up with all the hassle it requires. The monkshood purple bloom resembles a monk wearing a hooded robe with the robes’ hood drawn up over his head. Blossoming atop a tall stem, monkshood unfolds a deep purple hue that is quite breathtaking. Also known as wolfsbane, devil’s bane, blue rocket, and friar’s cap, monkshood has been used historically as a poison.
Monkshood prefers constantly damp soil and shade and enjoys zones 4-8.
The main reason that salvia makes this list is because it provides a lot of color all season long. Salvia plumes grow anywhere from 8 to 30 inches tall and its stalks are covered in small tubular blooms that produce intense purple hues. Though salvia enjoys partial shade, it’s actually quite heat resilient, and can survive through the summer even in severely hot climate areas. The plant is said to have hallucinogenic properties and has been used in religious practices in Mexico for centuries. Medicinally, salvia has been used to treat sore throats, bad breath, dandruff and eczema.
Salvia is comfortable in zones 4-9 and enjoys partial shade and well-drained soil.
This alpine native is very easy to care for, as it loves full sunlight and is hardy and drought-tolerant. Pasque (Pulsatilla) blooms have bright purple star-shaped petal designs with a stringy yellow center and a tiny purple bullseye that is also stringy. The flowers are framed by glossy fern-like leaves. Because of their long tap roots, they make for poor transplanters, but other than that, these are drama free additions to your garden. Two standout varieties are pulsatilla vulgaris, which has a magical mauve hue, and pulsatilla halleri, which adds a cool silvery undertone to it’s deep purple base.
Catmint (Nepeta), or catnip, makes the final cut for four awesome reasons. One, it has a very long bloom span that will bring a light violet vibrance to your garden during the entire span of spring. Two, catmint requires very little attention and are super easy to grow, looking good all season as long as they have full sunlight, ample food and water and proper drainage. We put them on the list instead of lavender because they look very similar and are much more hardy. Three, catmint is quite the attractor, bringing in a host of butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, not to mention cats, who can’t get enough of their stimulating leaves. The long, silvery, lavender to violet spiky blooms are also a wonderfully welcome sight to humans as well. Four, after their season-long (spring) blooming cycle is over, catmint purple flowers can be cut and brought indoors for an amazingly extended second life as a floral arrangement centerpiece. Catmint symbolizes love, beauty, and happiness. Be sure to take cuttings in the summer for next season as well, as catmint is sterile and does not produce seeds.
Catmint thrives in zones 3-8 in full sunlight and well-drained soil.
These six standouts are far from the only purple flowers we like, but they each evaded elimination (which was an incredibly tough process) for their own distinct reasons. There are plenty of purple flowers that are more popularly used in today’s gardens, but we went for more uncommon additions as we like to see gardens that stand out and enjoy gardeners who think outside of the box when selecting plants that take up valuable real estate. Still, it was tough to leave out the exotic fuchsia flower, or the unusual sea thistle. Feel free to add a bunch of other purple varieties to your landscape, but don’t sleep on these six lesser-known blooms.
Want to learn more about growing purple flowers?
Better Homes & Gardens covers Best Purple Flowers for Your Garden
Birds and Blooms covers Top 10 Purple Plants for Your Flower Garden
Bourn Creative covers Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Purple
FTD by Design covers 50 Types of Purple Flowers
ProFlowers covers 62 Types of Purple Flowers