For a striking pot or border display, try combining purple flowers with the acid greens of Alchemilla mollis, or euphorbias like Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae. Red poppies and orange kniphofias would also work well here.
Another benefit of growing purple-flowered plants is that they’re highly attractive to pollinators, with some showing an innate preference for purple flowers.
Discover some of our favourite plants with purple flowers to grow, below.
The teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) is a UK native biennial, bearing tall spikes of brush-like flowerheads with purple blooms, popular with bees and butterflies. Goldfinches eat the seed in winter. Grow at the back of a border or in a wild part of the garden.
Height x Spread: 1.8m x 80cm
Sweet rocket, Hesperis matrionalis is a pretty, white- or purple-flowered biennial, with a fantastic evening fragrance. It looks good when allowed to drift, naturally, through an informal sunny or partially shaded border, especially in a cottage garden or wildlife garden scheme.
H x S: 1m x 45cm
Most ornamental alliums range in colour from white, through to pink and purple. They’re especially popular with pollinating insects and provide interest in borders with their drumstick-shaped blooms.
H x S: 90cm x 20cm
H x S: 75cm x 45cm
Catmints are attractive perennials with fragrant foliage, bearing masses of nectar-rich flowers in summer. There are lots of types of catmint available, from smaller bushy types suitable for growing in pots, to taller varieties, perfect for growing in the middle of a border. They thrive in a position of full sun, with light, well-drained soil.
H x S: 90cm x 90cm
Verbena bonariensis is a popular garden perennial, grown for its plate-like purple flowers, which are attractive to a wide range of pollinators. It’s perfect for providing both height and long-lasting colour in borders.
H x S: 1.5m x 45cm
There’s an abundance of purple-flowered clematis to grow, with blooms from pale mauves to deep, royal purples. For spring flowers try Clematis alpina, or for summer grow a variety of Clematis viticella.
H x S: 2.5m x 1.5m
H x S: 9m x 4m
Lavender has become a garden stalwart due to its rich fragrance, gorgeous purple colour and ease of growing. It’s popular with pollinators, too. Grow it in full sun, in well-drained soil.
H x S: 45cm x 45cm
Buddleias are deciduous shrubs bearing masses of flowering panicles, which are popular with pollinators. They grow particularly well on chalky, lime-rich soils and are one of the best plants for attracting butterflies.
H x S: 4m x 4m
Mountain cornflower, Centaurea montana is native to the mountain meadows and woodlands of continental Europe. It typically has grey-green, lance-shaped leaves and large, deep blue or violet flowers, borne in early summer. Bees love the flowers.
H x S: 45cm x 60cm
The lungwort, Pulmonaria spp., is named after its mottled leaves, which are supposed to resemble lungs. Funnel-shaped flowers are borne in shades of blue, violet, pink, purple, red and white. They’re extremely attractive to bees, particularly the hairy footed flower bee, Anthophora plumipes.
H x S: 30cm x 30cm
Globe thistles, Echinops spp., bear spiky leaves and bristly metallic blue flowers, making them a great architectural choice for the back of a sunny border.
H x S: 90cm x 45cm
Perennial wallflowers, such as Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’, are beautiful and floriferous, woody-stemmed perennials, bearing masses of mauve flowers on tall spires, for months on end. In southern regions, it flowers all year round.
H x S: 45cm x 50cm
Cranesbill, or hardy geraniums, are perennial border plants with saucer-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple and blue. They’re easy to grow, thrive in shade and flower for months. Geraniums are popular in cottage garden schemes and offer a long season of pollen and nectar for a number of pollinators, particularly bees.
H x S: 85cm x 85cm
Globe artichoke, Cynara cardunculus ‘Scolymus Group’ is a dramatic perennial plant grown for its edible immature flowerheads, which are produced from July onwards. It’s also highly ornamental, bearing striking silvery, thistle-like foliage and tall flower stems topped by fat thistle buds. If not harvested, these open into large purple thistle flowers which attract masses of bees.
H x S: 1.2m x 90cm
Honeywort, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, is the perfect hardy annual for filling gaps in the ornamental border. It has gorgeous silvery blue-green leaves and pretty bell-shaped purple flowers, which are a magnet for bees. It makes a wonderful cut flower and self-seeds readily.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm
Hardy, vigorous and persistent, trailing bellflower, Campanula portenschlagiana, is an alpine campanula, easily grown in rock gardens, on walls, in front of borders or even in containers. It forms a generous, dense mat of small ivy-like leaves which become hidden beneath the mass of small purple bells in summer.
H x S: 15cm x 50cm
Eryngiums make a striking addition to dry, sunny borders and gravel gardens. They have thistle-like flowers, made up of tiny flowers packed together in a tight cluster, surrounded by a ruff of spiny bracts.
H x S: 1m x 60cm
Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is a handsome sub-shrub that reaches its peak performance towards the end of summer and into early autumn, when it produces masses of lavender-coloured flowers held on branching, aromatic stems.
H x S: 1.2m x 1m