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Purple Plants for the Patio and Yard

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in Florida, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland, Australia, and South Texas.

The Persian Passion plant adds a punch of color to any planter.

The Persian Passion plant adds a punch of color to any planter.

Add Color with Purple Foliage Plants

When people want color in their patio container gardens, they should consider colorful foliage, not just flowers. I use a number of purple-leaved plants on my lanai in Florida and they add quite a splash of color.

With foliage plants, you get color all season, not just during a short blooming time. Too many flowers bloom and then remain a nondescript green patch after that. I'll share with you the plants that brighten my Florida plantings all year. If you live somewhere with snow, you can still enjoy these plants in spring, summer, and autumn.

Add some cheerful color to your container plantings with some purple foliage plants. Here are tips for these easy-to-grow plants that make great accents or feature plants for the patio or yard.

Moses in the Cradle

The underside of these sturdy plants is a vivid purple. They thrive equally well in a container as they do in this spot in the yard.

The underside of these sturdy plants is a vivid purple. They thrive equally well in a container as they do in this spot in the yard.

Growing Tips for the Moses Plant (also called Rhoeo)

Are You Using Purple Plants?

Shamrocks Can Be Purple Too!

You don't have to be Irish to grow shamrocks. The green-leaved ones are traditional, but try the purple ones for a change. They are a delight.

You don't have to be Irish to grow shamrocks. The green-leaved ones are traditional, but try the purple ones for a change. They are a delight.

The flowers are fairly small and delicate with a pale lavender or pink color.

The flowers are fairly small and delicate with a pale lavender or pink color.

Growing Tips for Shamrock Plants

Although their 3-part leaves are the main attraction, shamrocks also bloom. The green shamrocks have a delicate white flower and the purple shamrocks have a light, lavender flower.

Growing Tips

  • Don't let them get too dry.
  • They grow well in full sun. In Florida, mine grow all year.
  • Don't worry if they die back for a while. They are just resting up and will come back strong.
  • They are easy to divide. Dig up the small tubers that are their roots. A big clump of shamrocks will have many of these. Each one can be placed into dirt in a peat pot. Water regularly and in a very short time, you'll have new plants. I surprise my neighbors with one on their doorstep each St. Patrick's Day.

Purple Plants Look Great with Pink

This container has Persian Passion, Moses in the Cradle, and the trailing Tradescantia zebrina adjacent to a pink flowering plant.

This container has Persian Passion, Moses in the Cradle, and the trailing Tradescantia zebrina adjacent to a pink flowering plant.

Tradescantia or Wandering Jew Plant

There are a number of plants in the genus Tradescantia that people call "wandering Jew." The one that I knew by that name was a trailing plant with silvery green with a purple stripe on the surface but all purple underneath. The one in the picture above is Tradescantia zebrina because of the stripes.

Since the name might be based on an anti-Semitic legend, I'm trying to train myself to call it by its official name.


Propagation

I brought home a free bit of it that I snipped off one that was running wild outside a nursery. Be sure to have several joints where the leaves attach. Some will even have roots already forming. Remove the leaves from the part that will be in the dirt.

Put it in some potting medium in a peat pot and don't let it dry out. You can also put it straight into the ground or into your container where it is to grow.

Mix And Match the Purple Plants with Other Colors

I use these with yellow-flowering plants for some pizzazz. They look great with white flowers or pink flowers too. I also plant them around the base of larger, green foliage plants like a Robelinni.

Purple Coleus Grows Well

Coleus comes in many colors but I love the purple ones like this the best. They add a dramatic splash of color and are easy to grow.

Coleus comes in many colors but I love the purple ones like this the best. They add a dramatic splash of color and are easy to grow.

Persian Passion Looks Great in Clumps

These leaves are slimmer and longer than a coleus. Propagating them is very similar though. Clip a stem and put it in water or straight into soil to root.

These leaves are slimmer and longer than a coleus. Propagating them is very similar though. Clip a stem and put it in water or straight into soil to root.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Virginia Allain

Comments

Sp Greaney from Ireland on March 03, 2021:

These are really beautiful plants. I love the purple shamrock one.

While flowers are great, I sometimes think plants are better especially evergreen ones as they look great all year round.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on March 02, 2021:

Hi Virginia, I love the purple passion, but I think coleus is still my favorite. I enjoy reading articles by fellow gardeners.

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