“I’ve always favored purple-flowering plants and trees because the color makes me think of royalty. Purple pigment was very expensive and hard to obtain – a rare color to be worn only by kings and queens. So seeing something like the deep purple of King’s Mantle in modern-day landscape always brings it full circle for me. Cool shades calm; warm shades energize. Regardless, purple is at home in almost any garden.” -- Kirk Brummett, Registered Landscape Architect, ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design
Purple-flowering plants and trees are abundant in Southwest Florida -- guess you could say purple reigns in our tropical environment. Here at ArtisTree, we get frequent requests for landscapes with a pop of purple, so thought we’d share a few of our favorites with you. Here are five we recommend for their majestic beauty and durability.
This woody climbing perennial just feels like nobility. Royal purple blooms with yellow throats resemble crown jewels set against shiny small-leafed foliage. King’s Mantle rules nearly year round in full sun and well-drained soil, and will grow up to 12 feet if you let it (although some prefer to keep it at four to five feet tall). Tuck it inside your garden as an informal accent, or create a casual hedge for a cozy cottage feel. Either way, we recommend planting this shrub in a sheltered area to keep it looking regal all year long.
Prized for its rich, amethyst-colored flowers, the Dwarf Tibouchina can hold court with the best of them. Also known as Princess Flower, this evergreen shrub stays lush when properly trimmed and planted in a protected, partly shaded area (think garden path, entry way or under a tree canopy that lets sunlight filter through). Water regularly but don’t let the area get overly wet -- the royal tibby tends to purse its petals when that happens. Oh, a word of advice: Be prepared for your doorbell to ring. Tibbies can cause a tizzy with admirers asking, “What IS this?”
A groundcover that can be sprinkled on your baked potato? Why not? Society Garlic can be used as garlic chives or as an edible flower garnish. But let’s talk about its lovely color. There’s nothing prettier than seeing these lavender lovelies planted in mass or gracing a border. Star-shaped tubular flowers bob on stalks about two feet tall when planted in full sun (they don’t flower well in partial shade). Plant in sandy soil and water regularly; you can pull back a little when they’re flowering. For a cold- and drought-tolerant groundcover that’s easy to grow, society garlic is always in good taste.
Purple Ground Orchid
Mix a wild flower with an orchid and you get Spathoglottis plicata, also known as a purple ground orchid. Beautiful wildflower-like blooms nestled in leaves that look like baby palm fronds make it a perfect choice for informal gardens. Plant these easy-care shade lovers under a tree for a natural, untamed look – they’ll grow to nearly a foot tall and reward you with pretty little blossoms during warm months. This is one orchid nearly everyone can grow (as long as you have well-drained soil), and you can find it in peach and yellow, too.
Stand in front of a jacaranda and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into an impressionist painting. This dream tree is deciduous, but if you’re willing to wait, its rich purple blossoms will enchant you endlessly -- well, through the spring that is. It is downright gorgeous. You’ll need a medium- to large-size property to suit its size (up to 40 feet), and plenty of full sun, please. Consider this fast-grower as a large anchor for your garden bed or as a stunning stand-alone specimen. Some folks think the fallen blossoms are messy, but for us they’re as picturesque as the tree. The jacaranda is heaven on earth.
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