Purple perennial flowers are a treasure that keeps on giving. They’re a sight to behold in the wild or the garden when they’re in full bloom. You can also use dried flowers to create decorative centerpieces or press flowers into bookmarks!
But beauty is only the beginning of what purple perennials have to offer. Certain species are particularly alluring to songbirds, hummingbirds, and a variety of butterflies. If you plant the right flowers, you’ll increase your odds of tempting these wonderful visitors into your yard! For instance, the American goldfinch loves feeding on the seeds of the purple coneflower.
What are the top purple perennials should you know about? Read on to find out.
1. Crested Iris
Get ready to enjoy one of the most wonderful plants for the garden, the crested iris! This plant does well in average soil with a sloping bed that provides adequate drainage.
Be patient and wait as your crested iris spreads throughout the years. It will form a dense mat of leaves and has delightful early spring flowers. Blooming between April and May, the crested iris can reach heights of 4 to 6 inches. This plant is perfect for those who want to enjoy colorful spring blooms without having to do much work.
2. New England Aster
Did you know that New England Aster is one of the purple perennial flowers pollinators can’t resist? Butterflies of all sorts love to frequent this striking flower in late fall when other sources of pollen are gone. The violet-colored petals are almost daisy-like and have sticky undersides.
Cabbage whites, sulfurs, monarch butterflies, and painted lady butterflies all enjoy feeding on this perennial. So if you’re looking to attract some beautiful butterflies to your garden, make sure to plant some New England asters! New England Asters will bloom from mid-summer to fall, and they’ll attract bees and butterflies to your garden. To keep them blooming throughout the season, deadhead the spent flowers regularly. With a little care, you’ll enjoy a bounty of beautiful blooms all summer long.
They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and they’re tolerant of a wide range of soils. They can start from seed, or you can purchase young plants from a nursery. If you’re starting from seed, plant the seeds in early spring, about six weeks before the last frost. Cover the seeds lightly with soil, and keep them moist until they germinate. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out so that they’re about eight inches apart.
3. Birds-Foot Violet
Bird’s foot violet is a purple perennial wildflower that gets its common name from the shape of its leaves, which resemble a bird’s foot. Similar to alfalfa, it’s drought tolerant. This low-growing plant has erect, unbranched stems and blooms from June to August. The flowers are lilac-colored and have five petals that fuse at the base. The leaves arrange in a basal rosette and are also variable in shape, with some being oblong and others being more lance-shaped. Bird’s foot violet is abundant in dry open woods, meadows, and fields. It is native to North America. Now it has a presence in Europe and Asia as an invasive species.
Despite its delicate appearance, this plant is actually quite easy to grow and care for. The first step is to choose an extra sunny planting area. Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and water regularly. In just a few weeks, you should see the first seedlings emerging. Bird’s foot violet does best when it can stay on the drier side, so be sure not to overwater.
When the plants are about 6 inches tall, you can begin to thin them out so that they are 12 inches apart. With a little patience and care, you will soon be enjoying the beauty of bird’s foot violet in your own garden!
4. Dame’s Rocket
Dame’s rocket is a member of the mustard family, and it is easily recognizable by its four petals. This flower is native to Mediterranean countries, but it has become popular in gardens worldwide. Dame’s rocket persists in garden beds, especially old ones. This flower has lovely large leaves at the base and small leaves along the stem.
The star-shaped flowers are usually purple, but they can also be white or pink. Dame’s rocket occurs throughout Canada and the United States, but it is most common in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Although this flower is beautiful, it is considered to be an invasive species in many areas. Nevertheless, it’s a great garden plant.
However, it’s short-lived. You’ll need to replace the purple perennial flowers every few years. The best time to plant dame’s rocket is in the spring, after the last frost. The plant prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Plant in well-drained soil. Once established, dame’s rocket is relatively drought-tolerant. To encourage continuous blooming, deadhead spent flowers.
Dames rocket will self-seed, so if you do not want it to spread throughout your garden, be sure to remove the seed heads before they mature. With a little care, dame’s rocket will provide months of color in the garden.
5. Wild Lupines
Lupines are a vibrant, eye-catching sight in the wild. These purple perennial flowers are show stoppers. With their tall spires of colorful flowers, they add a touch of elegance to any landscape. But lupines are more than just pretty faces. These hardy plants are an important food source for many animals, including bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
In fact, the lupine is one of the few plants that can provide food for the larvae of the monarch butterfly. Lupines also play a critical role in restoring damaged ecosystems. Their deep roots help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while their nitrogen-rich leaves help to fertilize the soil. As a result, lupines play a vital role in preserving the natural world.
Lupines prefer full sun, but they will tolerate some afternoon shade. They also prefer well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. If your soil is heavy or compacted, amend it before planting.
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- Virginia Wildflower Association, Available here: https://virginiawildflowers.org/category/purple-flowers/
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Available here: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/visual-guides/perennials-for-season-long-bloom
- University of Texas, Available here: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ecpu
- Missouri Prairie Foundation, Available here: https://grownative.org/native_plants/purple-beard-tongue/