Cool Down Your Landscape with Purple Plants

purple plants cool landscapingThe use of color in the garden is an important design factor. And although the selection of color can be very personal, there are some basic principles that can help guide color selection and use.

On the artists' color wheel, the cool colors of blue, green and purple align next to each other on one side and the warm ones of red, yellow and orange reside on the other. Using a warm versus cool color scheme in the garden can evoke different emotional responses.

For instance, in the heat of summer a garden containing cool colors creates a sense of calm and tranquility. Whereas, a warm color palette can appear more aggressive or stimulating.

To inject some cool and exotic color into your summer landscape, consider using purple plants. For prolific purple blooms in a shade garden, try Torenia (Wishbone Flower), a dependable, long blooming mounding annual for shade. The trumpet shaped blossoms of this plant are attractive to hummingbirds.

purple torenia

To make a bigger statement with purple, consider using an expanse of plants with purple foliage. Since cool colors seem to recede into the background, using an expanse of purple foliage can make a small space appear larger. The deep purple Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea 'Blackie') will quickly sprawl as a ground cover or border in both sun and shade.

purple sweet potato vine

Although actually a bulb, Purple Shamrocks (Oxalis Triangualaris) can be grown easily as a garden bedding plant or in a pot. This striking geometric-leafed plant also produces dainty pink flowers, especially when pot-bound. The bulblets multiply and may also be dug and planted to create houseplants.

purple oxalis

Even more exotic and striking are purple or lavender summer blooming Allium, or Ornamental Onion bulbs. Most of these globe-shaped flower clusters bloom in early summer, but the blooms are long-lasting. Highly recommended is the Star of Persia, or Allium christophii, which can remain in the garden even longer as it dries. Allium are both drought-tolerant and deer-resistant. Mail order catalogs are good sources for summer blooming bulbs, which are typically planted in early autumn.

purple allium

The American Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana), a five foot tall native deciduous shrub, offers a pop of vibrant purple berries that cascade down arching branches. Its drought tolerance and resistance to diseases and pests make it a low-maintenance choice.

purple beautyberry

To really accentuate purple plants in the garden, consider combining them with yellow flowers or foliage. Yellow is the complementary color to purple, located directly across from it on the color wheel. Using a color with its complement serves to create a strong contrast; each color accentuating the other.
purple heart with sedum

Back to Blog List