9 Types of Purple Plant

Last Updated on February 27, 2022 by Derek

List of Purple Plants

  1. Allium
  2. Balloon Flower
  3. Hydrangea
  4. Lavender
  5. Purple Coneflower
  6. Purple Fountain Grass
  7. Purple Heart
  8. Purple Shamrock
  9. Wisteria

What outdoor plants have purple flowers?

A great many flowers, shrubs, vines and perennial plants have purple flowers. Out of the most popular outdoor varieties, some are very common. These include smaller plants like Lavender and Allium, as well as vines like Clematis and Wisteria. In flower beds, you may also see purple Sage or Petunias. 

What plant has purple vines?

Many tropical plants and houseplants have purple vines. The most common plant that has purple vines outside of the tropics, however, is Wisteria. Wisteria is a large vine that grows well on the side of houses. It is actually its large numbers of flowers that give it a purple colour.

What perennials have purple leaves?

Believe it or not, purple is a widespread leaf colour in nature. Though many of our favourite houseplants have purple leaves, there are also a great many outdoor perennials that have a deep purple colour. The Oak Leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), the Japanese Maple, and Forest Pansy are great examples.

  • Snakeroot
  • Canna
  • Dahlias
  • Stonecrop
  • Coral Bells

Dark Purple plants

  • Black Lace Elderberry
  • Smoke Bush
  • Dark Leaved Elder
  • Purple Basil
  • Ruby Loropetalum
  • Salvias

Is Lavender a purple flower?

Lavender is a classic Mediterranean herb that has a unique, soothing smell and taste. You may have seen it as an ingredient in herbal teas, aromatherapy oils or in recipes. Nonetheless, Lavender is also a beautiful purple flower. As a medium-sized plant, you can use Lavender in most flower beds.

Different Types of Purple plants

1. Allium

Types of purple plant - Allium
Types of purple plant – 1. Allium

Over the years, horticulturists came to appreciate Allium plants for their ornamental flowers as well as their taste. These days you can choose between several species of Allium that produce large, purple flowers. These are globe shaped and sit on the end of a long stalk. A great example is the Giant Onion (Allium giganteum), which originated in east Asia.

Generally speaking, Allium plants are hardy, and will grow in all temperate, subtropical or Mediterranean climates. Alliums also produce bulbs, which allow them come back every year despite dying off during the winter.

Allium Family

The Allium genus contains all plants that are related to Garlic, including Leeks and Onions. In fact, the French word for Garlic “Ail” is derived from the latin name Allium, which itself was probably derived from Greek. This long and complicated etymological history is not surprising, as the Allium genus of plants has been cultivated by Europeans since the earliest times. When Linnaeus set about giving scientific names to plants and animals, the Garlic family was one of the first he tackled.

2. Balloon Flower

Types of purple plant - Balloon Flower
Types of purple plant – 2. Balloon Flower

The Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandifloris) is a perennial shrub that produces a large number of blue or purple flowers. Being herbaceous, they do die back over winter, but quickly reappear and reach their previous size the following year. Though they do slightly better in cooler climates, Balloon Flowers are tough and will thrive anywhere that doesn’t get too dry.

That said, you should deadhead them regularly if you want them to bloom for the full season.

Balloon Flowers got their name from the fact that their flowers expand before opening and resemble little balloons. When squeezed, they may even make an audible “pop” noise. Though a lot of fun, it is worth mentioning that this plant can spread extremely well, taking over the whole area if allowed. If you think this could be an issue, you can also plant Balloon Flowers in large pots or hanging baskets.

3. Hydrangea

Types of purple plant - Hydrangea
Types of purple plant – 3. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are an extremely successful family of medium to large sized flowering shrubs that were originally from North America and Asia. Of the many Hydrangea species and varieties, most keep their leaves during winter, though there are also deciduous varieties. As far as colour goes, you can find Hydrangeas that are blue, pink, white or purple.

The flowers themselves tend to form nice bunches at the end of a branch. This makes them perfect for an ornamental plant. One variety, the Oak Leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), also produces large, purple leaves. This makes it attractive even when not in flower. 

If you wish to grow Hydrangeas, they can be planted in spring in any temperate to tropical climate. It is important to note, however, that some species will have different coloured flowers depending on soil PH. It’s important to research this before planting if you specifically want purple flowers.

4. Lavender

Purple plant varieties - Lavender
Purple plant varieties – 4. Lavender

Lavender is a sclerophyllous herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family, meaning it is related to Sage and Mint. According to historical records it probably originated in the Mediterranean or the Middle East several thousand years ago. Being perennial, it grows year round and produces delicate purple flowers. Though it is now widely cultivated, it still does best in warm dry climates that match its ancestral home. 

Nonetheless, it is an economically important plant that is familiar to most of us, and has a wide range of uses. First and foremost, Lavender is used for Lavender oil, which gives off a soothing fragrance. Many people find that this scent helps with sleep and relaxation and that Lavender is also good for bug bites. Alternatively, Lavender can also be used in herbal teas and even baking. 

When cultivating Lavender it is important to remember that it will not do well in poorly drained soil. Aside from this, it is hardy and may last for several years with little attention.

5. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple plant varieties - Purple Coneflower
Purple plant varieties – 5. Purple Coneflower

The Coneflower is a pretty perennial plant that was originally from North America. As you may guess from its long, straight petals and large centers to its flowers, this species is in the Astaracea family which contains Sunflowers and Daisys. 

Being herbaceous, it grows quickly in spring and usually starts to flower by mid-summer. At this point it should be between 3 and 4 feet tall, making it an impressive ornamental flower. Many herbalists believe that tinctures made from Echinacea species can help reduce symptoms of the common cold.

6. Purple Fountain Grass

Purple plant varieties - Purple Fountain Grass
Purple plant varieties – Purple Fountain Grass

Generally growing to at least 4 feet tall, Purple Fountain Grass is an impressive ornamental plant. It’s flowers are deep reddish-purple and form tufts similar to those on other large grass species such as Timothy Grass. 

Though appearing to be a typical grass, this species is in fact a little less tough than many others. In mild climates it is perennial, but in cold climates it may die off completely from frost. It’s also worth noting that in cool climates it may not flower until autumn. 

As a general rule, Purple Fountain Grass does come back every year if you live in a frost-free climate zone. If you live somewhere with regular winter freezes, however, you should treat it as an annual. For light frosts, you may be able to cover it for some protection.

7. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

Types of purple plant - Purple Heart
Types of purple plant – 7. Purple Heart

The Pruple Heart is a small, trailing plant with deep purple leaves and stems. Being perennial, it tends to start off small then gradually grow longer vine-like branches. This makes it particularly good for a house plant. It can be placed on shelves for example and eventually hang down over them, adding to the decor. Another aspect that maintains its popularity is the fact that it helps purify the air. 

Originally from Mexico, the Purple Heart is fond of warmer climates. In areas with mild winters it can be grown outdoors, but will die off if there is a frost. In northern climates that experience heavy frosts it is only advised to grow this species indoors. 

When in a situation that suits it, this plant grows quickly and will easily take root from cuttings. What it is important to remember, though is that Purple Heart is mildly poisonous. Take care to keep it out of reach of any pets.

8. Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)

Types of purple plant - Purple Shamrock
Types of purple plant – 8. Purple Shamrock

Oxalis triangularis is a small plant that makes up for its size by having an intense purple hue to its leaves. These leaves are triangulate and arranged in threes. The combination of these two factors is of course what gave rise to the common name of Purple Shamrock. To add to its appeal, this species also produces small, white flowers that contrast nicely with its purple foliage.

Purple Shamrock plants do great when kept indoors and kept reasonably humid. They should be watered whenever their soil has dried out. Having originated in South America, this is another ornamental plant that can only be grown outdoors in very mild climates. In northern regions it can be kept outside during summer, but should always be brought back inside to overwinter.
Oxalis plants are in fact a group of bulbs that sprout together. When they get too warm, or too dry, the leaves die off and the bulbs become dormant. They do, however, grow back when conditions improve.

9. Wisteria

Types of Purple plant - Wisteria
Types of Purple plant – 9. Wisteria

Wisteria is a large vine that grows copious amounts of thick flowers. The flowers themselves hang in bunches and have a subtle, purple colour. Though they take a long time to grow, Wisterias eventually become huge, sometimes covering one or more walls of a house. When they get to this size, the vines become woody and almost tree-like. Unlike some of the other plants on this list, Wisteria flowers in spring. 

Interestingly, this vine belongs to the Legume family, alongside beans and peas. Notwithstanding, the pods and beans produced by Wisteria are highly toxic and it is a purely ornamental plant.

 The Wisteria genus itself includes a large number of species, most of which are from Asia and North America. Some of these range as far north as Japan and Canada, including zones that experience harsh winters. In general, you can expect these vines to do well in almost any climate that has reasonable amounts of rainfall.

Infographic – Different types of Purple Flower

Infographic: 4 Types of Purple Flower.
Infographic: 4 Types of Purple Flower.

Types of Purple Plant as a downloadable PDF

Other resources relating to types of purple plant:

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