Flower Gardening

Bring Ultra Violet Purple Color to the Garden

By Jean Starr

The color Ultra Violet purple is big this year so why not add flowers and foliage in purple and blue to your garden? The color of the year, in fact, is a deeply saturated shade of violet that’s more blue than red. Shades and versions of the color have captured the household appliance market, the clothing arena, and is a sure winner for bridal bouquets.

Nature offers just a handful of truly blue flowers (bluebells, delphiniums, Plumbago); the majority are of hues somewhere between red and blue. Ultra Violet can be described as a blue-based purple, which perfectly describes most flowers that don’t fall into the yellow, red or green sections of the color wheel. But flowers aren’t like painted posts or garden furniture. Their colors transform throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky, and as they develop in stages from just unfurled to fading. It’s what gives flowers their magic.

When you consider deploying blue / purple color to your garden, you’ll want to think about how sunlight and shade affect the color purple? What colors make purple come out of the dark, and what are some easy to grow purple plants? In this article, Jean Starr, noted garden writer and frequent contributor to PlantersPlace, provides useful information on 18 purple plants, along with suggestions on how to use them in your garden.


Color and the Garden

The most common flower color is pink, from baby to shocking. True red is rare; blue even more so. Calling the color of a flower ‘blue’ is purely a romantic gesture. It’s most often purple, in the wide range between red and blue. Some familiar plants with varieties that are most likely to contain blue include Veronica, Delphinium, Heliotrope, Lavender and Lilac. But, there are just as many plants that never seem to attain the color purple—sunflowers, peonies, daffodils, marigolds.

Sometimes the plant’s hybrid (cultivar) name offers a clue: Oxalis ‘Plum Crazy’ or Honeywort ‘Kiwi Blue’. Some cultivar names just allude to it: Verbena ‘Storm Burst’ or Sweet violet ‘Rosina’; while others have nothing to do with color: Clary sage ‘Piemont, or Veronica ‘Very Van Gogh’.

Oh, and don’t overlook leaves when seeking violet for the garden. Plants like Canna, with its huge tropical foliage won’t give you purple flowers, but there are varieties with purple leaves. They range from annuals to tropicals to hardy shrubs, and include coral bells, smoke bush, elephant ears, Hosta, Begonia, and black Mondo grass.

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