Purple Angelonia and more in a Purple Garden

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - Angelface Blue Angelonia and white Begonias

 “If you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it, God gets real pissed off.”

~ Alice Walker

Purple tickles the brain. It speaks to us of mystery and enlightenment.  Purple gardens evoke delight and sumptuousness.

Leonardo da Vinci said that light streaming through purple stained glass windows could increase the power of meditation ten fold. And scientists have found that purple stimulates the brain activity used in problem solving, integrating both hemispheres of the brain – the thinking left side with the feeling right side.  Stare at purple and your mind will stop chattering...Try it!

 In 2008, the ‘Color of the Year’ selected by Pantone was ‘Blue Iris’ (Pantone 18-3943), which combined, "the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple..."  So true - calming and mystical.

Indeed Blue/ Purple Iris are intoxicatingly beautiful. Especially Siberian Iris 'Caesar’s Brother' which is a velvety rich purple perennial that blooms profusely in late spring and is spectacular when planted in masses.  Very reliable, trouble free and grows zones 3 -9 in sun or part shade.   Also deer resistant and suitable for heavy soils! (photo from Bluestone perennials)

This is a must for a Purple Garden.
Purple Smokebush - Cotinus 'Royal Purple'

In feng shui, purple is used in healing and meditative spaces. In gardens it is used to create a luscious setting that captivates all who enter.

In my small front entry garden I have a purple Smokebush 'Royal Purple' (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple') which has beautiful, velvety, dark purple foliage throughout the growing season. It is  topped with smoky-purple flowers  in mid-summer creating a smoky cloud.  It is in the corner and is a wonderful accent  shrub. I prune it down in the very early spring to about 2 ft high and the new growth is gorgeous. Deer resistant too!

 Purple is a blend of stimulating red and calming blue, the proportions of which determine its hue. Shades range from an indigo blue-purple to a violet red-purple. In Hinduism indigo purple governs the pineal gland or third eye and Violet purple triggers the crown chakra at the top of the head. Focusing on these respective colors quiets the mind. 

 Okay - purple gardens rule!
Purple Gomphrena - 'Buddy Purple'
One of my favorite purple annual flowers - blooms until frost - is Gomphrena Buddy Purple or Purple Gnome. I plant it with everything - here it contrasts beautifully with Jack Frost Brunnera. And below I  paired with pink supreme roses, iris ensata and more...
 Purple flowers have been proved to be rich in nectar...that is why bees and butterflies love purple flowers. Here is a butterfly on a purple aster:

Purple Dome New England Aster is an outstanding compact perennial ( comes back every year) notable for its mounding habit and luscious deep lavender-purple flowers. 18” x 18” wide. Easy to grow in any decent soil and not bothered by mildew.
Purple Dome Aster courtesy of Plant Delights

Another great and easy pruple plant is Agastache 'Purple Haze'...One of the easiest and most rewarding perennials to grow! This new selection of Anise Hyssop produces darker purple flowers and looks amazing when planted en masse. Vibrant violet-purple flowers on strong, upright stems bloom from midsummer to early fall.   A great plus: The leaves smell like black licorice when cut or crushed.

Purple Haze Agastache courtesy of Acorn Farms
And by far one of my fave raves for purple in the garden is Angelonia - an annual flower that blooms throughout the season....Plant in beds or pots....This is Angelface Blue but it looks purple. I paired it with Silver Licorice Plant (Helichrysum) and Pink petunias.

Of course purple comes in all hues so here are a few more plants to add to a purple garden:

Variegated Iris



  1. Season’s Greetings, Jan!

    May Sarton’s quote is rich with wisdom. Now all I need to do is put it into action. Then you quoted Alice Walker and, believe it or not, I have just started reading her book, “The Color Purple.” I’ve seen the movie with Whoopi Goldberg many years ago but have never gotten around to reading the book until now.

    Being among my favorite colors, I include a variety of purple blooms into my garden and I too have a Purple Gomphrena, several Irises, a patch of Lavender and Dome Asters as ground covers around a number of Rose bushes. Indoors, I have several Orchids which produce magnificent purple blooms of various shades.

  2. Thank you! and your Orchid blog is wonderful!

  3. Nice article Jan. The Siberian Iris 'Caesar’s Brother' look marvelous. I tried Angelface® Dark Violet Angelonia this year for the first time and now am hooked on it.

  4. I am so glad you agree - it is a non stop bloomer through the whole summer..... and deer resistant!


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