Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2017 > IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - PURPLE POWER


Are you wanting to add some color to your gardens?  You really need to consider adding the color purple.  Below is my list of some favorite plants that can add the color purple.  Please note that my list is strictly with perennials and shrubs – no annuals.
RHODODENDRON ‘PURPUREUM ELEGANS’  -  Many customers consider this rhododendron as the # 1 evergreen shrub to be used in a partially shaded location.  Purpureum Elegans is a vigorous grower that can grow to be 6’ to 10’ tall with an equal spread.  It is a beautiful shrub used in a natural setting.  In the right environment this rhododendron can be used as an evergreen hedge.  The spring flower is a clear violet with dark blotches.  This acid-loving plant has a shallow root system.  Be sure to plant in rich organic, well-drained soil and then mulch to protect the root system.  The proper time to do any pruning is after it has finished blooming .  Also, fertilize in the spring after blooming.  Espoma Holly Tone is an excellent food for acid-loving plants.
BUDDLEIA davidii ‘BLACK KNIGHT’  -  This hardy, shrubby perennial is most commonly referred to as a butterfly bush.  What a butterfly magnet!  Black Knight has dark purple, almost black flowers that attract not only butterflies but hummingbirds and bees as well.  It is easy to grow and a fast grower.  Butterfly bushes need to be planted in full sun with rich, well-drained soil.  Butterfly bushes bloom off of new growth in the spring.   Black Knight, unpruned, can reach a height of 6’ to 10’ and just as wide.  So be sure to plant with plenty of space.  Because butterfly bushes bloom off of new spring growth they can be pruned back in the winter in order to controll the growing dimensions.  Black Knight will bloom all summer long.
SALVIA sylvestris ‘MARCUS’  -  Marcus is considered a dwarf growing Salvia reaching only 8” to 12” tall and about 12” wide.  Marcus makes up for its lack of size by blooming nearly all summer with its deep violet-purple flowers.  Salvia plants are a very hardy perennial in our region.  They need to be planted in full sun in order to do well.  Marcus and all other varieties of Salvia are considered drought tolerant.  Because of the scent of the leaves, Marcus is deer tolerant, attracts butterflies and bees, and low maintenance.  Because Marcus is compact and dwarf, it can make an excellent container plant with a combination of other sun loving perennials or annuals.
HEUCHURA  -  This plant is more commonly referred to as “Coral Bells”.  A couple of my favorites are ‘PLUM ROYAL’ and PLUM PUDDING’ .  Both of these plants have rich purple foliage and produces small spikes of white flowers in the late spring or early summer.  Coral Bells are best planted in semi-shaded location with well-drained soil.  A couple of great characteristics of coral bells are they are almost evergreen.  Mine may lose some leaves during the winter but keeps most of its color and foliage which is nice to have for winter interest in the gardens.   And, they are easy to divide and plant in other parts of the garden.
NEPETA cataria “CATMINT”  -  Catmint is an excellent hardy perennial that is considered an herb because of its aromatic fragrance.  Nepeta has a unique history in that this herb is thought to have been first cultivated in the roman town of Nepeti, where it was used as herbal tea and insect repellent.  The basic care of catmint is easy.  Be sure to plant in full sun with well-drained soil.  It has light purple flowers throughout the summer and fall.  The flowers are a big attraction for our honeybees.  Because of this attraction by bees, catmint is highly recommended for planting in our vegetable gardens.
LAVENDER  -  What a great herb to grow either in containers or in a garden.  It needs to be planted in full sun to partial shade with well-drained soil.  The scent of the herb and the lavender flowers is known to attract bees, butterflies, and birds.  There are many varieties of lavender with different growing dimensions.  Because of the beauty of the flower and the fragrance of the leaves, lavender makes great cuttings to bring into the house.
VERBENA Canadensis ‘HOMESTEAD PURPLE’  -  This plant is considered a sun-loving hardy groundcover that can grow up to 12” tall but spread as much as 3’.  It can be considered an evergreen in our region, with some winter protection.  Homestead Purple will bloom its heart out from late spring to fall with its bright purple flowers.  Homestead Purple is both deer and drought tolerant and attracts hummingbirds.
SETCREASEA pallida ‘PURPLE HEART’  -  What a unique and unusual plant to have and to see in a garden.  I love seeing it planted along the roadside around a mailbox in full sun.  Setcreasea is considered a tender perennial in our area.  Setcreasea has purple stems and violet purple leaves that produce small pink flowers in the summer. 
There are many more hardy shrubs and perennials that give purple to any garden.  But, these plants are some of my favorite to see planted.  I hope you agree.
                                HAPPY APRIL AND HAPPY GARDENING!!!
Posted: 4/26/2017 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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