(Image credit: Roxana_ro)

All flowering shrubs add interest and color to the garden, so why not pick purple? It’s a joyful color and certain to be a focal point. And when you go about selecting a plant, you’ll be surprised by how many purple flower bushes are available in commerce. 

Ready to plant a shrub with purple flowers? Here are our top recommendations.

Purple Flower Shrubs

Any list of garden plants with purple blossoms has to include that classic of the ages, lilac. Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) has been a landscape plant in this country from the 1700s and today, there are thousands of cultivars and hybrids. 

We particularly like ‘Charles Joly,’ with double flowers in deep magenta and ‘Sensation,’ with deep purple flowers trimmed in white. Both offer the seductive lilac fragrance. 

Lilacs are easy maintenance shrubs, but you have to take steps to avoid powdery mildew and other fungal diseases, to which they are quite susceptible. Plant them in full sun locations with good air circulation.

Purple Flower Bushes

Hydrangea is such a workhorse in the landscape that bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla) should definitely be on your shortlist. Select mop heads, with their flowers big and round as grapefruit, or lace caps, with flat clusters of short blossoms surrounded by a ring of showy blossoms. The shrub blooms in late spring and early summer on the prior year's growth.

Many gardeners think of bigleaf hydrangea as pink, in alkaline soil, or blue, in acidic soil. But when the soil is halfway between, the color turns a shade of purple. Plant in sun in regions with cooler summers, partial shade if your summers get hot. 

Bush with Purple Flowers

The gorgeous flowers that rhododendron shrubs produce in springtime have earned them an impressive popularity. Pick an azalea or rhodie with flowers in a shade of purple you love, plant in a site with filtered sunlight and loose, well-draining soil, and you’ll be rewarded year after year.

Other good choices include butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), with its spires of purple blooms on gracefully arching branches; crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), a heat-loving plant with a profusion of pink/purple flowers, and blue mist spirea (Caryopteris clandonensis), heat and drought tolerant, that produces small, blue/purple flowers in mid-summer.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.