This article was reviewed by Steve Snedeker, professional landscaper.
Are you in love with shades of lavender, lilac, and purple, and would you like to add more to your garden? Well, you’re in luck - we’ve done the research and assembled a list of 17 of the best purple shrubs and bushes.
We’ve even divided it into one section focused on plants with purple blossoms and another section showing plants with purple foliage. Without further ado, let's check out these 17 amazing purple shrubs and bushes!
A quintessential springtime bloom, the lilac (Syringia vulgaris) is a shrub covered in clusters of tube-shaped purple flowers. Beloved for their intense, sweet scent, lilacs range anywhere from 5' to 15' tall. They grow best in moist, rich, well-drained soil that is neutral to alkaline - around 7.0 pH. Pick a sunny spot to plant your lilac bush, and if you have more than one, plant them at least 5' apart. They prefer the temperate climates of Zones 3-7.
2. Ann Magnolia
The Ann Magnolia tree (Magnolia liliflora 'Nigra') is covered with big, leathery leaves and oversized, strongly scented magenta flowers. It can be trained to grow as a shrub or a small tree and typically grows to be 8' to 10' tall with a spread of 10'.
One great feature of the Ann Magnolia tree is that it blooms twice each year - once in mid-March and once in the middle of summer. Its ideal growing conditions are a sunny spot with moist, rich, acidic soil in Zones 4-7.
Bluebeard (Caryopteris) is a small herbaceous shrub with delicate, spire-shaped purple flowers and scented green leaves. They grow to heights of 2' to 3' tall and are perfect for edgings and borders in gardens and yards.
Bluebeards grow best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil, and are perfect for cottage-style gardens. They prefer the warm temperatures of Zones 5-9, and although they might die back to the ground in the winter, they'll re-sprout each spring.
4. Butterfly Bush
The Butterfly Bush (Buddleja) is a shrub with spire-shaped flower clusters that resemble lilacs in a variety of bright colors. They get their name from the fact that butterflies love their flowers - they especially enjoy the mauve-colored blooms.
It's important to note that some varieties of butterfly bush are native to China and are considered an invasive species in the U.S. However, not to worry - there are a few varieties that originated in the southwestern U.S. that can be grown in North America with no issue.
For the best results, plant your butterfly bush in a spot with full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Depending on the variety, they can be grown in Zones 5-10.
5. Crepe Myrtle
The Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) is a small tree with large blossoms in pink, red, or purple. They're a great choice if you'd like a tree that is colorful year-round - they bloom all spring and summer and then have spectacular colored leaves in the fall.
Crepe Myrtles grow to 25' to 30' tall depending on the variety and have smooth and colorful bark. Plant them in full sun and rich, moist soil in Zones 6-10 for best results.
Azaleas (Rhododendron) are a hardy shrub with tropical-looking pink flowers that typically bloom in the spring, although some varieties flower into summer and fall. Most varieties grow to be around 5’ tall, but others are ground creepers that never pass 1’ or 2’.
Still, others are medium-sized trees that can be 20’ to 25’ tall. Azaleas grow best in slightly acidic soil that is well-drained and rich with humus, and they don’t require much fertilizer or other maintenance after they’ve been established. Depending on the variety, they can grow in Zones 3-8.
7. Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a type of hibiscus with fluffy blossoms of purple, pink, or white that grow on medium-sized shrubs. They usually grow to heights of 8’ to 10’ and are native to China and India. Rose of Sharon prefers moist, well-drained soil, but is tolerant of many sub-par conditions such as heat, drought, poor quality soil, and air pollution. It grows best in sunny places located within Zones 5-8.
8. Chaste Tree
Chaste trees (Vitus agnus-castus) quickly grow to 15’ to 20’ tall and have long spires of purple flowers that resemble lilacs. An unusual feature of this tree is that both the flowers and the silvery-green foliage are strongly aromatic, which makes it a great choice for an accent or shrub in any garden.
Chaste tree blooms all summer and should be planted in well-drained soil in full sunlight. They prefer the warm temperatures of Zones 5-9.
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are extremely popular flowers, with their distinctive rounded clusters of blossoms that come in shades of purple, pink, blue, white, and even green. They’re typically small to medium shrubs of 6’ to 10’, but some varieties are small trees that can reach heights of 25’.
Hydrangeas grow best in places where they can enjoy morning sunlight but are protected from the scorching heat of the afternoon. They also prefer moist but well-drained soil and grow well in Zones 4-9.
Weigela (Weigela florida) is a member of the honeysuckle family and has small, tubular-shaped flowers all over loosely-growing shrubs that can be anywhere from 12” to 12’ tall depending on the variety.
This shrub will give you blooms all growing season - they blossom prolifically in spring and then have a smaller re-bloom in the summer and fall. Weigela flowers best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade as well. Plant them in moist, well-drained soil in Zones 4-8 for the best results.
11. Purple Hebe
This close-up of a purple hebe shows its beautiful spikes of purple flowers.
Purple hebe is an evergreen shrub with spikes of dark purple flowers that bloom throughout the summer months. The leaves are also a beautiful feature with their green and cream variegated patterns. Purple hebe grows to approximately 2’ to 3’ tall and needs regular watering, especially in extreme heat. They prefer well-drained soil and full to partial sunlight, and they grow well in Zones 7-10.
12. Sand Cherry
Sand cherry (Prunus pumila) is a shrub or small tree that is both a cherry and a member of the rose family. It has small pink blossoms in the spring and stunning dark purple leaves all year round. Sand cherries are fairly hardy and easy to grow, even though they are susceptible to the pests and diseases that plague most roses. They grow best in full to partial sunlight and moist, well-drained soil in Zones 2-8.
Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) is a deciduous shrub with unique purple blooms that look like puffs of smoke. It grows 10’ to 15’ tall and makes an eye-catching and unique addition to any garden! Plant your smokebush in full sun for best results, but don’t worry about soil quality or pH levels - it can adapt to almost anything except for moist, wet ground. It prefers the temperate climates of Zones 4-9.
Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense) is a small, rounded shrub with dark purple leaves that is part of the witch hazel family and native to East Asia. It has fringe-like flowers of white or pink, blooms in early spring, and typically reaches heights of 10’ to 15’. Loropetalum is a hardy plant that should be grown in alkaline to neutral soil and thrives in Zones 7-10.
Alternanthera (Alternanthera reineckii) is a shrub with brightly-colored foliage in a variety of shades, including deep purple. It can be grown indoors, outdoors, in containers, or in aquariums, and makes a great edging plant. Alternanthera thrives in partial sunlight to full shade, although its colors are better with more sunlight, and should be planted in moist, well-drained soil. It prefers the warm climates of Zones 10-11.
Nepeta (Nepeta), more commonly known as catmint, is an herbaceous plant with beautiful spires of soft purple flowers. It’s also closely related to catnip and has similar effects on our feline friends! Nepeta grows best in sunlight to partial shade and is drought-tolerant after it is established. It thrives in Zones 4-8 and can tolerate any type of soil.
Heuchera (Heuchera), more commonly known as coral bells, is an evergreen herbaceous plant with spire-shaped flowers and colorful leaves in shades that include purple. They are about 12” to 18” tall and will add a brilliant touch to your garden at any time of the year. Heuchera can grow in full sun to partial shade and prefers loamy soil with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Depending on the variety, they grow well in Zones 4-8.
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