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10 Great Purple Shade Perennials for Your Garden

Purple is a regal color, and what better way to add a touch of sophistication to your garden than adding a few purple shade perennial flowers? These flowers are perfect for adding long-lasting color to a shaded area of your garden and with proper care, will bloom year after year.

closeup of Virginia bluebell flowers.

They are perfect for flower beds and do well in part shade or even full shade for some varieties. They come in a variety of colors or shades of purple, and some have dense foliage and make an excellent choice for your flower garden.

Favorite Purple Shade Perennials

When you want something for your shade garden that also brings a pop of color, consider adding a few of the purple shade perennials from this list. For the best results, learn how to provide the best care for them and you’ll have beautiful purple blooms in your shade garden for years to come. Here are a few purple shade perennials to consider adding to your garden:

1.  Hardy geranium, cranesbill (Geranium Brookside)

Kaya Cranesbill (Hardy Geranium)

Cranesbill, also known as Geranium ‘Brookside’, is a cultivar of the hardy geranium species Geranium pratense.

The plant typically grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet and has a spread of 2 to 3 feet. It has deeply cut, green foliage that forms a low, spreading mound. It produces large, showy, violet-blue flowers that are about 2 inches in diameter from late spring to mid-summer.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and while it does best in partial to full sun, it grows well in partial shade too! It is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, which means it can tolerate winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium)

Everwilde Farms - 100 Jacob's Ladder Native Wildflower Seeds - Gold Vault Jumbo Seed Packet

Greek Valerian, also referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder,” is a perennial plant that produces clusters of alluring purple blooms featuring delicate petals.

As a spring ephemeral wildflower, this herbaceous perennial produces striking blue or purple hues with a prominent yellow center. They flourish in a shaded location with loose, well-drained soil. Darker-leaf varieties can tolerate more sunlight if watered frequently. Regular watering also helps to prolong the blooming period. 

3. Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Trevi Fountain Lungwort Perennial - Pulmonaria - Live Plant - 4" Pot

Lungwort (Pulmonaria) is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Boraginaceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and is often grown for its attractive foliage and delicate flowers.

In early spring, lungwort produces clusters of bell-shaped flowers that are usually pink, blue, or purple in color. The flowers are held above the foliage on tall stems and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

It’s a hardy plant that grows well in light shade or dappled sunlight. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can be propagated by division in the spring or fall.

4. Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Plants That Work - Phlox x 'Violet Pinwheels' (Creeping Phlox) Perennial, purple flowers, 8`` - Size Container

Phlox stolonifera, also known as Creeping phlox or Moss phlox, are perennial plants that belongs to the family Polemoniaceae. It is native to eastern North America and is often grown for its attractive foliage and showy, fragrant flowers. It’s one of the more popular garden phlox varieties.

Creeping phlox grows in a mat-like form, with low, spreading stems that root at the nodes and form clumps. Its leaves are evergreen and lance-shaped, with a glossy texture and a medium green color. In early spring, it produces clusters of small, star-shaped flowers that are usually pink, purple, or blue in color.

It is a low-maintenance plant that is ideal for use as a ground cover, edging plant in borders, or rock garden plant. Its showy flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice for ornamental gardening.

5. Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricate)

Live plant from Green Promise Farms American Beauties Native Plants Phlox Divaricata Moon' Perennial, 1 Size Container, Blue Flowers

Phlox divaricata, commonly known as woodland phlox or wild blue phlox, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to eastern North America. It belongs to the family Polemoniaceae and is often grown for its showy, fragrant flowers and attractive foliage.

Woodland phlox grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches and has spreading, rhizomatous roots that form clumps. Its leaves are lance-shaped and dark green in color, with a slightly rough texture. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun.

It can be propagated by division or by taking stem cuttings in the summer. It is a low-maintenance plant that is ideal for use in rock gardens, or as a ground cover.

6. Rocky mountain columbine (Aquilegia caerulea)

200 Blue Columbine Flower Seeds Aquilegia Caerulea Perennial

Rocky Mountain Columbine is native to the Rocky Mountains in North America. It is the state flower of Colorado and is often grown for its showy, unique flowers and attractive foliage.

The plant grows up to 2 feet tall and has a clumping habit. The leaves are light green, lobed, and delicate-looking. In late spring to early summer, it produces striking, bi-colored flowers that are typically blue or purple with white petals and have spurs that stick out behind the petals.

Rocky Mountain Columbine is well-suited to growing in mountain meadows, rock gardens, and woodland gardens. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full sun, but can tolerate some shade.

7. Siberian squill (Scilla siberica)

25 True Blue Scilla siberica Flower Bulbs - PERENNIAL!

Siberian squill is a bulbous perennial plant that is native to southwestern Russia and the Caucasus. It is a popular garden plant due to its striking blue flowers, which emerge in early spring and provide a welcome burst of color after the winter months.

It grows to a height of 4 to 6 inches and produces several narrow, strap-like leaves that are about 6 inches long. In early spring, it produces clusters of bell-shaped, deep blue flowers that are about 1 inch long.

Siberian squill prefers well-drained soil and partial sun, but can tolerate partial shade. It is adaptable to a range of soil types and can tolerate drought once established. The plant is low-maintenance and does not require frequent watering or fertilization.

8. Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

kenneth Rodar Virginia Bluebells Seeds 200+pcs Mertensia Virginica Woodsy Wildflower Amazing Blue Blooms

Virginia bluebells are a native North American wildflower that are commonly found in woodlands, riverbanks, and meadows.

They grow to a height of 1 to 2 feet and have smooth, gray-green leaves that are about 2 to 5 inches long. The leaves grow in a basal rosette and are shaped like elongated ovals. In early spring, the plant produces clusters of bell-shaped flowers that are pink when they first emerge but gradually turn blue to purple as they mature.

Virginia bluebells prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. They can tolerate some sun but may wilt if they receive too much direct sunlight. They are a low-maintenance plant that does not require fertilization or regular watering. After the flowers have finished blooming, the plant will go dormant and die back to the ground.

9. Toad lilies (Tricyrtis spp.)

Tricyrtis Japanese Toad Lily Flower Seeds - Shade Perennial jocad (30+ Seeds)

Toad lilies are a group of flowering plants native to parts of Asia, including Japan, China, and Korea. They are known for their unique and attractive flowers, which resemble small orchids and are often spotted or speckled with purple or brown.

Toad lilies grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet, depending on the variety. The flowers are typically white, yellow, or purple, with spots or speckles on the petals. The leaves are dark green, pointed, and often have a glossy texture.

They prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. They are adaptable to different soil types but prefer soil that is rich in organic matter. They can be propagated by division or by taking stem cuttings in the summer.

10. Big leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Let's Dance Rhythmic Blue Reblooming Hydrangea (Macrophylla) Live Shrub, Blue or Pink Flowers, 4.5 in. Quart

Big leaf hydrangea is a popular deciduous shrub that is prized for its large and showy blooms. This hydrangea typically grows to be 3-6 feet tall and wide and has broad, dark green leaves that can grow up to 8 inches long.

The flowers are the most memorable feature of this plant, with large clusters of blooms that can be pink, blue, purple, or white depending on the acidity of the soil (learn more about changing hydrangea color by tweaking the pH of the soil).

Big leaf hydrangeas prefer moist, well-draining soil and partial shade to thrive. They are hardy in zones 6-9 and can be a beautiful addition to a garden or landscape.

More purple perennial flowers that love shade

  • ornamental onion (Allium)
  • false indigo (Baptisia australis) – can tolerate light shade
  • German bearded iris (Iris germanica) – will tolerate light shade
  • coral bells (Heuchera)
  • butterfly bush (Lepidoptera) – grows well in partial shade, but will have fewer blooms
  • pasque flower (Pulsatilla)
  • foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  • anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
  • clustered bellflower (campanula glomerata)

Hopefully, you found one or more purple blooming plants that provide unique and diverse textures and shapes to your shade garden. With their ability to thrive in partially shaded areas, these perennials are a great solution for areas where the full sun may be limited.

10 purple shade perennials for your garden

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domenic eugene renzetti

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

Would also like to see the zone preferences

Sally McGuire

Friday 3rd of March 2023

Love that you included some natives. Would like to see more plant origins in your descriptions. Thank you!

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