46 Plants With Purple Leaves for Indoor & Outdoor Gardens

Are you looking for a unique plant to liven up your indoor or outdoor garden space? Why not add a plant (or two) with some purple foliage! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares her favorite plants with purple leaves!

Plants With Purple Leaves growing in garden. The plant has dark green serrated edges, with purple sections on most of the leaves.

While there are many beautiful plants with purple flowers, there are equal amounts of plants that have purple leaves! Whether you like to grow plants indoors or outdoors, in warm climates or cold, you can cultivate purple-leafed plants.

Gardeners looking for outdoor plants with purple foliage can choose from perennials, shrubs, ornamental grasses, and even trees.

Houseplant enthusiasts will find also find plenty of purple-leaved houseplants to choose from. There are a number of succulents and tropical foliage plants with purple leaves. There are also plants that you can grow indoors in the winter and bring out for the summer months.

If you are ready to start exploring the colorful world of purple-leafed plants, let’s now take a closer look at our favorite plants with purple leaves.

Contents

African Milk Tree

Close up of a tall, thick, spiky, green stalk with light pink leaves growing on the edge of the each spiky spine.
The African milk tree prefers direct sunlight and well-drained cactus soil.
botanical-name botanical name Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’
plant-type plant type Succulent
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Low
height height 3 to 6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

African milk tree is a large upright succulent that can grow to 6 feet tall in ideal conditions. Give it plenty of bright direct sunlight and loose, well-draining cactus soil. Do not overwater cacti and succulents, as they can easily develop root rot and die.

The African milk tree ‘Rubra’ is a colorful cultivar. This plant grows a thick triangular stem with both sharp spines and sharply pointed leaves along the 3 outer edges of each stem.

The fleshy stems are mottled green-pink, and the leaves and spines are brightly colored shades of pink, green, and maroon. This is a dramatic-looking plant that would make a great addition to a larger, brightly lit location!

Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’

Astilbe Delft Lace growing in garden with purple leaves on foliage. There are pink flowers sprouting up from the stems of the plant.
The Astilbe prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil and is resistant to deer and rabbits.
botanical-name botanical name Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade to full shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 2 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Astilbe is a varied genus with many beautiful species. These plants typically have somewhat fern-like green leaves, but ‘Delft Lace’ has reddish-purple leaves and bright pink flowers.

Plants will grow best in a shaded location and make an ideal addition to a shade garden. In bright sun and extreme heat, leaves tend to die back by late summer and will remain dormant until the following spring.

Astilbe plants are valuable perennials because they are hardy and beautiful, and the flowers attract many pollinators. These plants are also resistant to browsing deer and rabbits. They will grow best in moist, rich, well-drained soils.

Water them regularly throughout the hottest summer months to help keep them healthy and growing until the end of the season. If the plants become too hot or dry, they may die back prematurely but should return the following spring.

‘Black Magic’ Elephant Ear

Dozens of huge heart-shaped leaves ranging from green with purple veins to dark burgundy leaves with a hint of green in them.
‘Black Magic’ elephant ear is a fast-growing plant that is easy to maintain.
botanical-name botanical name Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’
plant-type plant type Bulb
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 3 to 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 10
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Elephant ear plants are winter hardy in zones 7 to 10, but if you live in a cooler climate, you can dig and store bulbs indoors to overwinter them. It’s worth the effort because these are fun plants to grow in a partially shaded location.

‘Black Magic’ elephant ear develops huge heart-shaped leaves that range from green with purple veins to entirely dark burgundy with a hint of green.

They grow especially well in rich, moist, well-drained, soils. Elephant ear has insignificant flowers, so you’ll be growing these plants primarily for their unusual vegetation.

Black Rose Aeonium

Black Rose Aeonium Growing outdoors with deep purple foliage. The succulents are clustered together and are growing well outdoors.
This succulent can reach a height of 3 feet.
botanical-name botanical name Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
plant-type plant type Succulent
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Dry to Medium
height height 0.5 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Black rose Aeonium is an interesting type of succulent plant with purplish-green leaves. If kept as a houseplant in typical indoor conditions, this plant has a tendency to stay fairly small, but if growing in a large pot in ideal bright, warm greenhouse conditions, it can grow stems several feet tall with dark reddish-purple foliage.

A young plant will look like a fleshy, leafy rosette growing close to the ground. As it grows, it will develop a stalk. Lower leaves will die off, while new leaves will continue to emerge from the top. More mature plants will typically grow a few side-branching stalks, each with its own leafy rosette at the top.

‘Black Scallop’ Bugleweed

Close up of small purple flowers surrounded by dark, reddish-black leaves that have a scalloped edge and a thick, waxy, looking texture.
‘Black Scallop’ Bugleweed is a disease and pest resistant plant that requires very little care.
botanical-name botanical name Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.25 to 0.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Ground Cover

Bugleweed is an excellent choice for a flowering ground cover plant. It will grow vigorously to fill in bare patches of earth, such as along pathways, borders, and edges. 

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is listed as an invasive species in a few states, so please confirm that it is not on your state’s invasive species list before planting it.

Many varieties of bugleweed have leaves slightly tinged with purple. The ‘Black Scallop’ variety has leaves ranging from green to purple-veined, to deep dark purplish-black, depending on the amount of sunlight the plant receives.

This plant grows well in many sun and soil conditions and is low-maintenance, other than periodic thinning.

‘Blue Hawaii’ Elephant Ear

Close up of a giant green leaf with dark red stem and veins.
The leaves on these massive plants can grow up to a foot long.
botanical-name botanical name Colocasia esculenta ‘Blue Hawaii’
plant-type plant type Bulb
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 2 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 10
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

The distinctive leaves of the ‘Blue Hawaii’ elephant ear plant are hard to miss. They are bright green with large and prominent purple veins. Not only are they strikingly colorful, they are also huge! Each massive heart-shaped leaf can be up to a foot long, growing singly atop thick, sturdy stems.

‘Blue Hawaii’ elephant ear grows from a large bulb. They grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soil. If you live in zones 7 to 10, your plants can overwinter outdoors.

If you live in a colder climate zone, you can easily dig the bulbs each fall and store them in a cool dark location for the winter months, then plant them outside again each spring.

Boat Lily

Bushels of large, long, pointy, green leaves with white stripes and purple underbellies.
Also known as ‘Moses-in-a-basket’, the Boat Lily is a common houseplant but native to tropical climates.
botanical-name botanical name Tradescantia spathacea
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial, Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 1 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Boat lily, also sometimes called Moses-in-a-basket, is winter hardy in tropical climates but is commonly grown as a houseplant.

Even if grown as a houseplant, it can be placed outside in a container during summer months and then taken in for the winter. You can also take cuttings to propagate for overwintering.

When grown in bright light, the boat lily stays fairly compact. Oblong, tapered leaves grow along stems that can creep along the ground to act as a ground cover or drape over the edges of a pot. Leaf surfaces are typically bright green, and the undersides and stem boast a rich purple hue.

Bok Choy

Medium size plant with large purple and green leaves and bright green veins, growing out of the dirt ground.
This fast-growing vegetable is typically grown in the cooler seasons.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica rapa
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Bok choy, or pak choy, is a familiar garden vegetable grown for its crunchy leaves. There are varieties that stay entirely green and others with attractive purple leaves with green stems.

Bok choy grows quickly, so it makes an ideal edible space-filler for a springtime vegetable garden. If left to flower, it develops a stalk of small yellow blooms.

Bok choy is a cool-season vegetable. It is easily grown from seed in early spring or fall. It does well in full sun, as long as the air temperature isn’t too hot, or it will bolt quickly.

Growing in partial shade can slightly prolong its growing season. Bok choy can be eaten either cooked or raw at any stage of its growing cycle.

Burgundy Lace Fern

Close up of a green plant that has long, light purple stems with pale green leaves growing down each stem. Each leaf is a small version of the larger leaf, layered with smaller tiny leaves.
The Burgundy Lace Fern does well planted along streams or in the shade.
botanical-name botanical name Athyrium niponicum ‘Burgundy Lace’
plant-type plant type Fern
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade to full shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Ferns are an excellent choice for a shade garden. While most ferns display attractive green foliage, the burgundy lace fern sports silvery-green foliage with purple stems, veins, and highlights. The colorful fronds of the burgundy lace fern would complement any other plants growing nearby.

This fern would do well planted in a shady location, under cover of nearby trees or shrubs. Plant it alongside a stream or near a shaded outdoor sitting area so you can enjoy this graceful plant. Soil should be moist and well-drained.

Ferns are typically low-maintenance additions to the garden and are not bothered by rabbits, deer, or insect pests.

Burgundy Spice Sweetshrub

Close up of two large dark red flowers growing off of one tall, thick, red stem with two giant elongated leaves.
This plant is quite large and can grow up to 10 feet tall.
botanical-name botanical name Calycanthus floridus ‘Burgundy Spice’
plant-type plant type Deciduous shrub
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 6 to 10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Burgundy spice sweetshrub is a cultivar of allspice, a shrub native to the southeastern United States. Burgundy spice sweetshrub leaves range from mostly green with slight purple coloration to deeply burgundy with green veins.

The color variations between leaves add to the charm of this shrub. In fall, the foliage turns beautiful shades of yellow and orange before dropping for the winter.

Flowers bloom in the spring and can last into mid-summer. The flowers are showy, fragrant, and deep reddish-burgundy in color. This plant does very well in a partially shaded location with rich, moist soil, although it is tolerant to a variety of soil conditions.

Calathea Purple Rose

Close up of large, round, dark purple leaves with pink stripe up the middle and pink markings in the shape of a smaller leaf.
These unique houseplants will thrive in humid climates and will need rich, moist, well-drained soil.
botanical-name botanical name Goeppertia roseopica ‘Purple Rose’
plant-type plant type Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade to full shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 11 to 12
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

This beautiful calathea plant has broad flat leaves with highly variegated patterns of dark green, light green, white, and hints of pink.

The underside of the leaves, however, is bright pinkish-purple and provides a beautiful and stunning contrast to the greens. Leaves tend to fold together each evening in the dark, separating the following morning again.

These plants do well in a shaded location with rich, moist, well-drained soil. The most difficult thing about growing calathea as a houseplant is that they require high humidity.

In warmer climates, high humidity is easy to provide during the summer, but in winter, plants may have a tendency to brown and dry. Try misting them regularly, particularly in winter, to keep humidity levels high.

Canna ‘Australia’

Close up of a bright red flower growing from a tall, thick, dark purple flower stalk that has giant purple leaves.
Canna ‘Australia’ will add a pop of drama and tropical intrigue to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Canna x generalis ‘Australia’
plant-type plant type Bulb
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 4 to 5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 10
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Cannas are familiar garden plants in the southeast, and while many have green leaves with red, yellow, or orange flowers, the canna ‘Australia’ has broad burgundy leaves with red flowers. Plants can be easily grown in containers and thus brought indoors to overwinter in a cool, dark location in cooler climates.

Cannas are easily grown in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil. Plants can grow quite tall with large, dramatically showy flower stalks.

Even when not flowering, the richly colored leaves of ‘Australia” are beautiful on their own. This plant would make an excellent accent plant and looks especially nice grown in a cluster.

Chinese Fringe Flower

Close up of a plant with small, round, red and dark green leaves with clusters of bright red drooping, fringe-like flowers.
Chinese Fringe Flowers are fast-growing and will make a perfect hedge or border plant.
botanical-name botanical name Loropetalum chinese
plant-type plant type Broadleaf evergreen
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 3 to 6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 10
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

The Chinese fringe flower is a shrub that provides year-round interest in the home landscape. Leaves vary in color from burgundy-green to burgundy-red and remain on the plant throughout the year. In spring, a multitude of showy bright pink or red drooping, fringe-like flowers cover the bush with splashes of color.

Plants grown in sunnier locations will tend to have more colorful leaves and more abundant blooms than those grown in shadier locations.

This would make an excellent plant for a shrub border or hedge or as a larger, stand-alone accent plant. While pruning isn’t necessary, you can prune to maintain shape and size.

Chocolate Joe Pye Weed

Tall purple flower stalks with tiny clusters of white flowers and dark purple leaves.
These flowers reach a height of 3 to 4 feet and will attract a variety of pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Eupatorium rugosum
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium to Moist
height height 3 to 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Chocolate Joe Pye weed is a cultivar that has green leaves with a hint of purple around the edges. When grown in full sun, the leaves may become more uniformly purple with deep reddish-purple veins. This perennial wildflower grows tall and bushy each season and prefers a location with moist, well-drained soil.

Chocolate Joe Pye weed can be enjoyed for its attractive foliage and also its clusters of small white flowers that bloom from late summer into fall.

The flowers are lightly fragrant and attract butterflies and a multitude of other pollinators. If allowed to naturalize and spread, chocolate Joe Pye weed will form dense clusters.

Coleus

Close up of bright pink, pointy leaves. Each leaf has bright pink in the center , purple in the middle and green on its scalloped edges.
This popular plant comes in a variety of different colors and shapes to choose from.
botanical-name botanical name Coleus
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 2.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Coleus is a commonly-grown annual garden plant. It is readily available as small bedding plants or can be grown from cuttings or from seeds planted in the spring.

Coleus is best known and appreciated for its highly varied foliage in a rainbow assortment of hues. There are many colorful varieties of coleus, including shades of pink, purple, burgundy, and maroon.

Coleus will grow well in full sun but is also very tolerant of partial shade. Prune the plants to keep them bushy if they start to grow too leggy. You can also prune off the small flower spikes if desired to keep plants more well-rounded in appearance.

If you have any favorite plants that you want to maintain during the winter, take cuttings and grow the cuttings indoors to plant again outside in the spring.

Coral Bells ‘Forever Purple’

Close up of several large, dark purple leaves with ruffled edges and water drops on it.
The ‘Forever Purple’ Coral Bells are beautiful, hardy plants native to North America and Mexico.
botanical-name botanical name Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 0.75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

There are many cultivars of coral bells, including ‘Forever Purple’ which boasts beautiful purple foliage. Coral bells are best known for their attractive foliage, but they also grow interesting little flower spikes in late spring.

The purple-maroon leaves of ‘Forever Purple’ will contrast nicely with just about any other vegetation in the vicinity.

Coral bells are a good addition to a shade garden or grown in a partially shaded location. Grow it in the perennial garden, along a border, or even in a container. Soil should be rich, moist, and well-drained.

Coral Bells ‘Midnight Rose’

Close up of several large, dark purple leaves with ruffled edges and splashes of bright pink flecks on each leaf.
The ‘Midnight Rose’ Coral Bells have these unique color markings that will either be silver or pink.
botanical-name botanical name Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 0.75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Coral bells are a popular perennial garden plant. There are many heuchera cultivars available with beautifully colored foliage, including ‘Midnight Rose.’ This cultivar has strikingly colored foliage that varies from plant to plant.

Leaves may be dusky green with flecks of silvery-gray and hints of pink on top and a rich solid burgundy-red underneath. Other plants are more predominantly burgundy, with just hints of green and gray flecks. Either way, the leaves are beautiful!

Coral bells are a clump-forming plant that looks great planted with other coral bells varieties or other mixed perennials. Because it is low-growing, it makes a good ground cover or edging plant. Clusters will spread over time by either self-seeding or spreading by runners, but excess growth can be easily controlled.

Crabapple ‘Cardinal’

Close up of a tree branch with bright pink flowers and greenish-purple leaves.
The flowers and fruits from these trees will attract birds and butterflies to your yard or garden.
botanical-name botanical name Malus ‘Cardinal’
plant-type plant type Tree
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 10 to 15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

There are many commercially available varieties of crabapple. Several cultivars have purple to bronze-colored leaves, including ‘Cardinal.’ This cultivar has showy purple-green leaves, which look nice throughout the growing season.

But the real show-stopper is the super-abundance of beautiful pink flowers that cover the tree each spring. The colorful fall foliage is also worthy of appreciation.

Plant your crabapple ‘Cardinal’ in a sunny location. Soil should be rich, moist, and well-drained. Prune your crabapple tree in late winter to maintain a more compact form and remove any dead branches. Flowers and fruits will attract birds and butterflies.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’

Tall purple stems with purple-green leaves that contrast with its jumbo-sized coral-pink flowers perched on top.
This dahlia variety requires full sun and rich, moist soil.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 2 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 10
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Dahlia is an old-time classic garden flower with many more recent cultivars being developed. ‘Bishop of Oxford’ is an interesting cultivar in that it has striking purple-green leaves that contrast nicely with jumbo-sized coral-pink flowers.

If you are a fan of long-lasting cut flowers, dahlias are the perfect choice for your floral arrangements!

Dahlias grow best in full sun but will tolerate light shade, especially in hot summer climates. Dahlias need rich, well-drained soil that stays consistently moist. They do not tolerate dry soil or drought. A healthy plant can bloom almost continually through the summer until the first frost.

Eastern Ninebark ‘Diablo’

Tall purple stems with dark purple leaves that has large semi-spherical clusters of tiny white flowers clusters on them.
The Eastern Ninebark ‘Diablo’ is native to eastern and central North America.
botanical-name botanical name Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’
plant-type plant type Deciduous shrub
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Dry to medium
height height 4 to 8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 to 7
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Eastern ninebark is a medium-sized shrub native to eastern and central North America. The ‘Diablo’ cultivar has purplish-green leaves that become deeper purple when grown in shadier locations.

Large semi-spherical clusters of white flowers bloom in the spring. At a distance, the flower clusters resemble snowballs balancing amongst the leaves.

Eastern ninebark is a low-maintenance shrub that would be a good choice for a hedge planting or grown as erosion control near a stream.

Ninebark is easily grown in a variety of soil and light conditions. Plants tend to be rather sprawling, with long leafy branches reaching out in all directions, but can be pruned to maintain a more compact shape if desired.

Echeveria ‘Afterglow’

Close up of a compact leafy rosette with thick light green leaves and light purple hues.
This succulent is a popular indoor and outdoor plant.
botanical-name botanical name Echeveria ‘Afterglow’
plant-type plant type Succulent
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Low
height height 1 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 12
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ is a succulent that can be grown as a houseplant or planted in a rock garden in warmer climates. As a houseplant, grow echeveria in the sunniest location you can or place them under grow lights.

You can move them outdoors to grow in a container during the summer months, then bring them back inside before the first frost.

Echeveria grows as a compact, leafy rosette. The ‘Afterglow’ cultivar has beautifully colored leaves that fade from bright pink to a blue-green color with various shades of purple.

Make sure to grow any echeveria in well-drained soil so they are never sitting in wet conditions. Plants will eventually spread over time and make an excellent ground cover.

Flowering Dogwood ‘Purple Glory’

Close up of a tree branch with a pink flower that has four large round petals, a green center and tiny greenish-purple leaves around it.
These trees will thrive best in a shady location with medium-moist soil conditions.
botanical-name botanical name Cornus florida ‘Purple Glory’
plant-type plant type Tree
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 15 to 20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

The ‘Purple Glory’ dogwood has leaves ranging from light greenish-purple to deep maroon, turning to dark purple in the fall. Spring flowers are showy with a dark and antique rose color. By early fall, trees produce red berries that attract various birds.

Flowering dogwood grows best in a location with partial shade and medium-moisture soil. Add a protective layer of mulch to help keep roots moist during the summer months.

Dogwoods are susceptible to a variety of fungal diseases and insect pests, but they may still be a worthwhile addition to the home landscape because they are beautiful and useful trees.

Hens and Chicks ‘Purple Haze’

Close up of light greenish-purple rosettes that have thick, spiky leaves with tiny little hair fibers on them.
This succulent is often grown as a ground cover and requires full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Sempervivum heuffelii ‘Purple Haze’
plant-type plant type Succulent
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Low
height height 0.25 to 0.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Hens and chicks are an unusual succulent that grows well in temperate climates. This plant makes an excellent addition to a rock garden, desert garden, xeriscape, along borders and edges, or in containers. Grow hens and chicks in full sun with loose, well-drained soil.

Hens and chicks form a dense ground cover of tight, leafy rosettes. Rosettes spread by sending out new tiny rosettes from more mature plants to colonize an area.

New plants are easily separated and propagated if desired or leave them all to grow where they are. Some varieties are green, some are green with purple leaf tips, and other varieties are entirely purple.

Japanese Maple

Tree with large, red, five pointed star shaped leaves, growing in clusters on the branches.
The Japanese Maple tree can grow to be around 25 feet tall and require little maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Acer palmatum
plant-type plant type Tree
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 10 to 25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

There are numerous varieties of Japanese maple available, varying in size, growth habitat, leaf shape, and color. There are several varieties with reddish-purple leaves during the growing season.

During late fall, Japanese maples develop bright, variable, and very showy fall foliage colors, including shades of red, orange, purple, and bronze.

Japanese maples are attractive small trees for the home landscape. They grow well in full sun but also appreciate partial shade, especially in warmer regions within their range.

They do best when grown in rich, well-drained soil. These trees are commonly grown as ornamentals and don’t generally need to be pruned except to remove dead branches.

Ornamental Cabbage

Close up of a bright pink, leafy, rosette with dense, ruffled edges, surrounded by similar green leaves that have purple veining.
Ornamental Cabbage comes in a variety of colors and sizes and is typically grown as a border plant.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Most ornamental cabbages are grown for their colorful foliage, including shades of pink, purple, and white. Plants can often be found in nurseries and garden centers and can also be started from seed.

They grow best in full sun but will tolerate some afternoon shade during the hottest summer months. In warmer climates, they are best grown as decorative plants during the spring and fall. Ornamental cabbages planted in the fall will survive several frosts, and stay looking fresh into early winter.

Ornamental cabbages are versatile additions to the garden. They can be planted with annuals or perennials, grown in an herb garden, or used as a border, and they are also very suitable for growing in containers. Use rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Ornamental Millet ‘Purple Majesty’

Tall purple grass with bushy red and cream colored, brush like leaves on the edges.
This ornamental grass is fast-growing and requires full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty’
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 3 to 5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Ornamental millet ‘Purple Majesty’ is a variety of grass. It has tall sturdy stems and long, narrow, downward-curving, purple-green leaves.

From mid-summer through early fall, it develops a very showy inflorescence that resembles a thick purple to white bottle brush. ‘Purple Majesty’ looks best grown in groups where the tall plants can help support each other and where they will really stand out from the crowd.

Ornamental millet is easily grown from seed. Plants are quick-growing and somewhat resemble stalks of purple-leaved corn. Grow it in full sun with moist, well-drained soil. In mid to late fall, birds will be interested in the ripe seeds.

Ornamental Pepper ‘Purple Flash’

Close up of tiny pink flowers with green and purple leaves surrounding them.
Ornamental Pepper ‘Purple Flash’ can be planted as an herbaceous perennial or annual depending on the zone.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum annuum ‘Purple Flash’
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Pepper plants are easily grown in warm summer garden settings, and the ornamental pepper is no exception. These plants grow easily from seed and are also sometimes sold as bedding plants in garden centers. In tropical climates, peppers are actually herbaceous perennials, but throughout most of the United States, they are grown as annuals.

‘Purple Flash’ is a smaller, compact variety of ornamental pepper. The leaves are a bright purple-green color with some white highlights. The plants also produce purple flowers.

The pepper fruits are small and round, almost purpleish-black in color, and extremely hot. These decorative pepper plants are a beautiful addition to a seasonal flower garden, or herb garden and are an excellent choice for containers.

Persian Shield

Close up of a plant with large leaves with pointed tips growing in clusters. Each leaf is a bright purple color with a green border and green veins.
Depending on the climate, these plants can either be in full sun or partial shade.
botanical-name botanical name Strobilanthes dyerianus
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Persian shield is best grown as an annual in the summer garden. It can sometimes be found sold as a bedding plant but also grows from seed or from cuttings.

Plants grown outdoors as annuals can be overwintered indoors in pots. You can also take cuttings from outdoor plants in the fall to root during the winter, then plant the rooted cuttings outdoors the following spring.

Persian shield grows best in rich, moist, well-drained soil. It can be grown in full sun in cooler climates, but in warmer climates, it appreciates some afternoon shade.

This is an excellent bedding plant, grown along borders or grown in outdoor containers. If you have a good sunny window, you can even grow it indoors as a houseplant!

Polka Dot Plant

Close up of dark red stems with clusters of pink and green spotted leaves.
These plants will thrive all year round in tropical climates.
botanical-name botanical name Hypoestes phyllostachya
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Although the polka dot plant is actually an herbaceous perennial, it is most commonly grown in the United States as an annual. If you live in a tropical climate, however, you can grow this plant outdoors year-round.

Polka dot plant performs best in a shaded location with rich, moist soil. You can grow it as a bedding plant or use it for container gardening. Plants can be overwintered or grown indoors in pots or take cuttings to root indoors and replant the following spring.

Once you see a polka dot plant, you won’t soon forget it. These leafy tropical plants have bright green leaves with bright pink splotches scattered across the entire leaf surface.

The colorful leaves really stand out in any garden setting. If plants start growing leggy, occasionally pinch back stems to help keep them compact and bushy.

Purple Basil

Close up of a dark purple, leafy plant with tiny, pink flowers growing around the top next to tiny leaf buds.
Purple Basil will thrive in warmer climates and can tolerate full sun exposure.
botanical-name botanical name Ocimum basilicum
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1.5 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Basil is one of the most popular summer herbs. It can be easily grown from seed or purchased as a small bedding plant. Basil grows well in warm summer climates and does not like the cold.

Plant it in a location with full sun, with rich, moist, well-drained soil. Basil grows well in containers and can be incorporated into an herb garden, vegetable garden, pollinator garden, or annual flower garden.

Basil plants typically have bright green leaves, but there are purple varieties as well. Leaves can vary from a pale purple-green color to deep velvety maroon, depending on the variety and the amount of sunlight the plant receives.

Purple Ground Clematis

Cluster of white flowers growing from one tall reddish stem. Each flower has long, skinny, white petals with tall spiky petals in the center, surrounded by dark greenish-purple leaves.
Purple Ground Clematis will attract a variety of pollinators with their fragrant white blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 2 to 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

While clematis may be best known as a vining plant with large, showy flowers, the purple ground clematis is a bit different. This clematis is an herbaceous perennial with 2 to 4-foot stems that can be staked upright or left to sprawl as a ground cover.

Leaves are green with a pale purple hue that varies depending on season and sunlight. Fragrant white flowers bloom from late spring until mid-summer.

This plant is best grown in full sun but will tolerate a little afternoon shade. Clematis like rich, well-drained soil that stays uniformly moist and cool during the growing season.

Train this clematis to grow along a fence, plant it as a ground cover, or include it in a pollinator garden where the flowers will attract bees and butterflies.

Purple Heart Plant

Close up of a dark purple plant with long, thick stems and thick, oval shaped leaves with tiny pink flowers in the center of the leaf clusters.
These are tropical plants that can also be grown as houseplants in dryer climates.
botanical-name botanical name Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 0.75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Purple heart plant has very purple oblong pointed leaves that grow along trailing stems. This plant makes a good ground cover, or you can grow it in a container or along a wall where it can drape over the edge. Pink, 3-petaled flowers appear sporadically along the stems.

This plant is an herbaceous perennial in tropical climates. In other locations, it can be easily grown as an annual or as a houseplant.

Plants grow readily from stem cuttings, so you can easily overwinter several cuttings indoors and plant them out again the following spring.

Purple Kale

Large cluster of dark purple, ruffled leaves surrounded by big green leaf foliage.
These plants thrive in cooler climates and will make a beautiful, edible addition to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea ‘Redbor’
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Purple kale is both beautiful and delicious. This showy leafy vegetable can be grown in the vegetable garden or in a large container, or you can incorporate it into your flower garden for some interesting variety! Kale is easy to grow in the cooler months.

Plants will bolt and send up flower stalks when the weather becomes hot, so plan to grow kale primarily in the spring and fall.

Purple kale is a very attractive plant in the home garden. It can be easily grown from seed or purchased at many nurseries and garden centers. Leaves tend to be purplish-green and highly ruffled around the edges. They have bright lavender-purple stems and veins, which make them quite colorful.

Purple Leaf Plum

Close up of a tiny white flower surrounded by tiny white flower buds and tiny greenish-purple, leaves.
The Purple Leaf Plum tree produces hundreds of beautiful, fragrant, white flowers that will attract many different pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Prunus cerasifera
plant-type plant type Tree
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 15 to 30 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

The purple leaf plum, also sometimes called cherry plum, is an ornamental fruit tree with pretty 5-petaled pink flowers that bloom each spring.

The flowers attract bees and other pollinators. Ornamental plum trees produce abundant flowers but don’t always set fruits. If the tree does grow fruits, they are small and purple, edible, and also attract birds.

The leaves are purplish-green throughout the entire growing season. Plum trees grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Soil should be rich, moist, and well-drained. Prune your plum tree to maintain uniform growth.

Purple-leaf Sand Cherry

Two tiny, light pink flowers growing on a long dark purple stem with round, dark purple leaves.
These trees produce tiny white flowers with a light, sweet scent and small fruit that will attract birds and different pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Prunus x cistena
plant-type plant type Deciduous shrub
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 6 to 10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Sand cherry is a small shrub native to North America. Cultivars and hybrids have been created with variations in leaves, flowers, and fruits. The purple-leaf sand cherry is a hybridized species with leaves ranging from green to reddish-purple. The leaves stay colorful from spring until fall.

In spring, the purple-leaf sand cherry produces clusters of small 5-petaled white flowers with deep red centers. Flowers are lightly fragrant and attract pollinators.

This sand cherry can also produce some sparse fruits that are enjoyed by birds. Sand cherry would be a colorful addition to a hedge or as a medium-sized accent plant for a sunny location.

Purple Leaf Weigela

Close up of tiny, bright pink flowers surrounded by long, pointed, dark purple leaves.
These low-maintenance shrubs are easy to grow and will add a pop of color with their tiny pink blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Weigela florida ‘Wine u0026amp; Roses’
plant-type plant type Deciduous shrub
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 4 to 5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

Weigela is a low-maintenance shrub that would be a good addition to a sunny border or hedge row. The purple leaf weigela ‘Wine & Roses’ has purplish-green leaves that would complement any nearby plants nicely.

‘Wine & Roses’ blooms in the springtime with loose clusters of showy bright-pink flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Grow weigela in full sun or dappled shade. Soil should be medium moisture and well-drained. If plants start to look scraggly, prune them into the desired shape immediately after flowering. Flowers develop on old wood rather than fresh growth, so well-timed pruning can help increase next year’s flowering potential.

Purple Lettuce

Patch of shiny, dark maroon, leaves growing in a tightly packed, circular cluster.
Incorporate some purple lettuce to your veggie garden for an added pop of color.
botanical-name botanical name Lactuca sativa
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 1 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Lettuce is quick and easy to grow. If you are looking for a little variety to add to ordinary green lettuce, try planting some purple lettuce in the spring or fall.

Purple-leaved lettuce comes in different varieties, but most will have a mix of green and purple leaves. For example, some varieties have purple spots on green leaves, while others have almost entirely bright maroon leaves.

You can buy lettuce as bedding plants, but you will have a much greater selection if you try growing it from seed. Lettuce grows best in cooler seasons and will bolt when the temperature gets too warm. You can grow lettuce just about anywhere in the garden or in a large outdoor container for a quick burst of color.

Purple Sea Holly

Tall light, purple, flowers stalks with round, spiky flowers on top that have long, skinny, pointed petals around the base of the flower.
This plant is drought-tolerant and will thrive in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Eryngium planum
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Dry
height height 2 to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Purple sea holly is a striking plant to see in full bloom. The basal leaves are broad and mostly green, but as the plant develops flower stalks in the summer, the stems are bright lavender purple.

The flower bracts and flowers are spiny and also bright purple with hints of green. These eye-catching flowers will attract a lot of attention and are also favored by bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Purple sea holly is a perennial that develops a long tap root. Once it becomes established, it is quite drought tolerant. This plant can become rather bushy and will slowly spread over time, so give it a sunny spot with plenty of room to expand. When grown in clusters, it is quite impressive!

Purple Shamrock

Tiny pink, five leaf flowers surrounded by larger three leaf, clover shaped foliage around it.
These beautiful low-growing plants are known to be toxic to humans and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Oxalis triangularis
plant-type plant type Bulb
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.25 to 0.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Containers

Purple shamrock is perhaps best known as a perennial bedding plant in warmer climates. It can also be easily grown as a houseplant.

Be aware that this plant may be toxic to humans and pets if consumed in large quantities. Grow purple shamrock in moist, well-drained soil with plenty of bright sunlight, but it does not require full sun to thrive.

Purple shamrock is a low-growing clover-like plant. Its 3-part leaves are shimmery purple and it produces delicate pink flowers in the spring. This would be a good plant to grow outdoors in a container, wintering indoors in a cool, dark location until the following spring. If grown outdoors, it makes an excellent ground cover.

Purple Velvet Plant

Close up of long, green, pointed leaves with jagged edges and bright purple fuzz.
Purple Velvet Plant is a popular houseplant that’s easy to propagate.
botanical-name botanical name Gynura aurantiaca
plant-type plant type Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 12
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

The purple velvet plant is an evergreen, broadleaf perennial that is commonly grown as a houseplant. As a houseplant, it is easy to grow in filtered sunlight and moist soil.

Take cuttings to propagate, which can then be planted outdoors for summer container gardens, then preserved through the winter by taking fresh cuttings.

Purple velvet plant is well named. Leaves are bright green but covered with a soft velvety purple fuzz. The stems are also covered with purple fuzz, giving the entire plant a very soft look.

Prune velvet plant as desired to keep it compact. Plants tend to sprawl and would look nice in a hanging basket or another container where they can drape over the edge.

Purple Waffle Plant

A tiny, bright white flower with a dark purple stem and large, dark purple and green, oval shaped leaves that have lots of texture.
This purple-leafed plant is perfect for containers, making them easy to relocate during the winter.
botanical-name botanical name Hemigraphis alternata
plant-type plant type Herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 0.75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Purple waffle plant is an herbaceous perennial that is most commonly grown as an annual. Leaves are silvery green on top with burgundy undersides and reddish-brown stems. The unique coloration of this plant nicely compliments any nearby vegetation.

Purple waffle plant is best grown as a ground cover in a partially shaded location and would also do well as a container-grown annual.

Plants can be overwintered by taking cuttings before the first frost and rooting them inside. These can be grown indoors for the winter months and replanted outdoors in the spring.

Red Leaf Cordyline

Row of tall. pointed red and green leaves lining a field of tall green grass.
These beautiful, eye-catching plants can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet tall.
botanical-name botanical name Cordyline fruticosa ‘Rubra’
plant-type plant type Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 10 to 15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 12
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

The red leaf cordyline is an eye-catching plant. In its native tropical habitat, it can grow to the size of a small tree, but as a houseplant, it will not grow as large.

Red leaf cordyline is a cultivar with bright lavender-pink and green broadly lance-like leaves. If you have a larger sunny indoor space, this plant would be a stunning accent.

Red leaf cordyline needs bright but indirect sunlight to look its best. It also needs a warm location with consistent humidity, or the leaves will have a tendency to become dry and brown. Soil should be kept uniformly moist, except in winter, when the plant appreciates a brief rest with a little less water.

Rex Begonia

Large bush with clusters of dark red and silver colored leaves. Each leaf has a spiral shape in the center that spread out to a point at the top.
The Rex Begonia is a common houseplant that comes in a variety of different colors.
botanical-name botanical name Begonia spp.
plant-type plant type Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Part shade to full shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 1 to 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 11
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

In its native rainforest habitat, the Rex begonia is an herbaceous perennial, but in more temperate regions, it is more commonly grown as a houseplant.

Most rex begonia varieties grow well in filtered sunlight and can be planted outdoors in a shaded location for the summer months. Bring it in for the winter or take cuttings to overwinter.

Rex begonia is noted for its beautiful foliage. Leaves are shades of green, bronze, silver, red, and purple. Leaf colors can be highly varied, even within a single plant. There are also many begonia hybrids and cultivars available, many with brightly-colored, showy leaves.

Royal Purple Smokebush

Large dark purple bushes with large round leaves and sprays of tiny stems with little reddish-purple leaves.
These shrubs thrive in full sun and require well-drained soil.
botanical-name botanical name Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
plant-type plant type Deciduous shrub
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 10 to 15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 to 8
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors

This colorful shrub is a great addition to the landscape to add color and variety. Smokebush is named for its smoky or hazy-looking seed clusters that develop after flowering.

The royal purple smokebush has purple-green leaves that turn bright shades of red and orange in the fall, giving this plant a great deal of interest throughout the growing season.

Smokebush is best grown in a sunny location with moist, well-drained soil. Give your smokebush plenty of room to grow because it can become rather large. Include this attractive shrub as part of a hedge row or as a stand-alone accent plant.

Stonecrop ‘Purple Emporer’

Clusters of tiny pink flowers sitting on top of long dark purple stems, surrounded by dark purple, oval shaped leaves.
When planted in full sun, the Stonecrop ‘Purple Emporer’ will develop these dark purple leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emporer’
plant-type plant type Succulent herbaceous perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
water-needs water needs Low
height height 1 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 to 9
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Stonecrop is an easy-to-grow succulent, well-suited to just about any sunny location with well-drained soil. This plant would be a good addition to a perennial border or rock garden or grown in a mixed container garden. Plants are easily divided by rooting stem cuttings.

‘Purple Emporer’ is a stonecrop cultivar with purple leaves. When grown in full sun, leaves turn a rich dark burgundy but become paler purple and green when grown in partial shade. Clusters of showy maroon-pink flowers bloom in mid-summer and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Wandering Jew

Close up of a green and purple, potted plant. The leaves are clustered together on long stems, with oval shaped leaves that are pointed on the tips. Each leaf has purple and green striping.
These common houseplants are also known as the ‘Small-leaf spiderwort’.
botanical-name botanical name Tradescantia zebrina
plant-type plant type Houseplant
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to part shade
water-needs water needs Medium
height height 0.5 to 0.75 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 12
where-to-plant where to plant Outdoors, Indoors, Containers

Wandering Jew, also sometimes called small-leaf spiderwort, is a popular plant. Although it is an herbaceous perennial in tropical locations, it is better known in temperate zones as a houseplant. It can be grown outdoors in the summer months. As a houseplant, choose a sunny window and use moist, well-drained soil.

Wandering Jew has strikingly attractive leaves. Leaves grow along long creeping stems that will fill in a pot or planter to make an excellent ground cover.

Leaves are striped with shades of green, silver, and maroon on the upper surface, and rich maroon underneath. Other varieties have solid-color purple leaves. These plants are easily propagated by stem cuttings.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of purple, there’s no shortage of plants with purple foliage! You can choose to grow purple-leaved houseplants, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees.

Incorporate a variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors into your landscape for maximum visual interest throughout the year. Many of the plants in this list are easy to propagate and share with others who also enjoy multi-colored gardening!

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