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GARDENS BY THE BAY

Stokesia laevis

PURPLE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 2


Whether your purple preferences run to the softer hues of lilac, mauve and lavender or the deeper, more vibrant tones of royal, mulberry or aubergine there will always be companions aplenty. Check out some of the suggestions below for possible partnerships to try in your own garden.


* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.

The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.

To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.

To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.

To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.


LIRIOPE

Lilyturf is perfect for any garden needing an attractive groundcover plant for a difficult spot in the shade. The evergreen foliage appears grass-like and needs only a light trim in early spring to tidy up a entire patch. The fact that it blooms in late summer makes it all the more appealing. Liriope muscari is not as cold-hardy as Liriope spicata.

Liriope:  Lilyturf

    where:  along paths or walkways
      with:  Astilbe, Bergenia, Hosta, Colchicum autumnale
        with:  Ornamental Grasses, including Helictotrichon sempervirens
      Liriope muscari 'Big Blue':  Zone 6
        where:  around the base of a shade tree
          with:  Anemone sylvestris, Heuchera, Tiarella, Polemonium caeruleum, Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
        Liriope muscari 'Majestic':  Blue Lilyturf (Zone 6)
          with:  Liriope muscari 'Munroe’s White'
        Liriope muscari 'Variegata':  creamy-yellow edged foliage
          in shade beside:  Ajuga
        Liriope spicata:  Creeping Lilyturf (Zone 5 or 4-hardy)
          where:  best in average to moist, well-drained sites, in acidic soil
            with:  Verbena, Helictotrichon sempervirens, Yucca, Aquilegia, Limonium latifolium
          Learn more about this genus, as well as its preferred companions plants, at the links below.

        • Liriope for shade
        • white Liriope
        • Liriope with variegated foliage

        • PLATYCODON

          The Bellflower genus provides wonderful mid-summer blooms in a variety of colours, many with purple tones. They all prefer full sun to light shade and average to rich, well-drained soil. Staking is only necessary for those plants grown in especially rich soil or in part shade. Space them one foot apart in a spot where they can be left undisturbed for a long time.

          Foliage is very late to appear in spring so it is recommended that the plant's position be marked well in fall to avoid cutting into the pre-emergent roots. This can be done with stakes, by leaving fall foliage in place until new foliage emerges the following spring, or by surrounding them with bulbs such as Grape Hyacinths whose early spring foliage with mark their late-appearing neighbour's spot.

          Platycodon grandiflorus:  lavender

            with:  Chrysanthemum x superbum (now:  Leucanthemum x superbum) Shasta Daisy
              with:  peach-coloured Hemerocallis
            For many more cultivars and flowers colours, follow the links below.

          • blue Balloon Flower forms
          • pink Balloon Flower forms
          • the "special" Balloon Flower
          • white Balloon Flower forms

          • POLEMONIUM

            Usually lavender-blue in colour, the woodlander commonly known as Jacob's Ladder is available in pink, white and yellows forms as well. The common name is derived from the positioning of the leaves, like rungs on a ladder. All forms are extremely hardy.

            Polemonium

              with:  Hosta
                with:  Narcissus (daffodils & jonquil)
              Polemonium caeruleum:  Jacob’s Ladder
                Polemonium caeruleum - Jacob's Ladder
                where:  informal gardens, in borders or woodlands, planted in masses
                  where:  under shrubs (Syringa) or airy flowering trees, in masses
                    behind:  Campanula persicifolia 'Alba'
                      in shade behind:  Corydalis lutea
                        in shade with:  Hosta, ferns, Aruncus dioicus
                          with bulbs:  Narcissus
                            under:  Dicentra spectabilis
                              with:  Aquilegia, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Phlox paniculata, Ornamental Grasses
                                long-flowering duo in part shade with:  Dicentra eximia
                                  long-blooming duo in shade with:  yellow Corydalis lutea
                                    with:  Phlox paniculata, particularly 'Eva Callum' or 'Franz Schubert'
                                      mass planted with:  Astilbe, Bergenia (esp. 'Bressingham Ruby'), Helleborus orientalis, Galium odoratum
                                    Polemonium caeruleum 'Brise d'Anjou':  fern-like cream and green foliage, violet-blue flowers, 18-24"x18-24"
                                      said to be:  "a breath of fresh air among shade-loving perennials"
                                        follow the link for photographs and more information:   Blooms of Bressingham, New Zealand
                                          where:  light shade, in rich, moist, well-drained soil
                                            with:  grey-blue or cream and green variegated hostas, ferns including native Asplenium bulbiferum
                                              with:  Pulmonaria esp. silvery 'Majeste', Helleborus orientalis, Heuchera
                                                with moisture-loving:  Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford' with chocolate foliage
                                                  with:  Aruncus dioicus, Perovskia atriplicifolia, most Ornamental Grasses
                                                    mass planted with:  Astilbe, Bergenia, Galium odoratum
                                                  Polemonium foliosissimum:  30"x24", described variously as lilac, lavender or blue-purple
                                                    with:  Papaver orientale (orange/crimson forms)
                                                  Polemonium reptans:  8-16"
                                                    in shade with:  Dodecatheon meadia
                                                      with bulbs:  Narcissus
                                                        combined with:  Phlox divaricata, white Trillium & Tiarella
                                                      What a wonderful plant is Jacob's Ladder. If the combos above haven't convinced you, try the links below and you will want to add more to your shady spots.

                                                    • Polemonium in shade
                                                    • blue Platycodon
                                                    • white Polemonium
                                                    • Polemonium with variegated foliage

                                                    • SALVIA

                                                      Many superb purple-coloured perennials can be found in the genus Salvia. Most have showy, erect spikes of two-lipped flowers, some have aromatic leaves and a few have wonderfully variegated foliage. The square stems clearly place these plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae.

                                                      Salvia:  Sage, Perennial Salvia

                                                        where:  warm, sunny site
                                                          shape contrast with:  Achillea (flat-topped);  Hardy Geranium (rounded)
                                                            with:  Platycodon grandiflorus, Hemerocallis, Tanacetum vulgare
                                                              colour contrast with:  Helenium 'Hoopesii' (Orange Helenium), Rudbeckia
                                                                colour contrast with:  Linum flavum, Solidago canadensis
                                                                  beside:  Phlox paniculata (an orange form)
                                                                    with:  Oenothera speciosa 'Rosea'
                                                                      with:  Rudbeckia, Hemerocallis
                                                                        with:  Anthemis tinctoria 'Kelwayi'
                                                                          with:  Anemone hupehensis 'September Charm'
                                                                            with:  Allium schoenoprasum (Common Chives)
                                                                              with:  Dictamnus albus purpureus
                                                                                combined with:  Achillea 'Coronation Gold', Lilium, Lythrum, Nepeta, Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead' & Veronica
                                                                              Salvia:  any deep purple form
                                                                                Salvia 'East Friesland
                                                                                seen in the photo above with Festuca, Heuchera sanguinea and red-foliaged Sempervivum tectorum
                                                                                  with:  Alchemilla mollis
                                                                                    with:  Achillea filipendulina 'Parker's Variety'
                                                                                  Salvia azurea var. grandiflora:  bright clear blue
                                                                                    with:  Helianthus multiflorus
                                                                                      with:  Phlox paniculata 'Mt. Fujiyama' (white, late-blooming)
                                                                                    Salvia farinacea 'Victoria':   lavender-blue annual
                                                                                      with:  Achillea millefolium 'Fire King'
                                                                                        with:  Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
                                                                                          combined with:  Perovskia atriplicifolia & Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
                                                                                        Salvia haematodes:  Meadow Sage, lavender-blue, 3'x18"
                                                                                          synonym:  Salvia pratensis
                                                                                            with:   red Papaver
                                                                                          Salvia nemorosa:  violet-blue, 3'x18"
                                                                                            synonym:  Salvia virgata var. nemorosa
                                                                                              with:  Yucca, Achillea, Sedum, Rudbeckia, Hemerocallis, Coreopsis
                                                                                                generally with:  Daisies, Mums, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                              Salvia nemorosa 'Lubeca':  18" tall dwarf
                                                                                                with:  Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb'
                                                                                              Salvia nemorosa 'Superba'
                                                                                                with:  Geranium endressii 'Wargrave Pink', Oenothera, Nepeta, Campanula, Phlox & Iris
                                                                                              Salvia officinalis 'Icterina':  Culinary Sage, gold/green variegated foliage, purplish flowers
                                                                                                over:  Dyssodia tenuiloba
                                                                                                  beside:  Santolina chamaecyparissus, Dianthus 'Aqua'
                                                                                                    in front of:  Kniphofia 'Royal Castle'
                                                                                                  Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens':  gray-violet foliage, 2'x3', blue-purple flowers
                                                                                                    with:  Heuchera sanguinea 'Irish Mist' (a red variegated form) or 'Snow Storm'
                                                                                                      over:  Ocimum basilicum 'Dark Opal'
                                                                                                        in front of:  Helianthemum 'Wisley Pink'
                                                                                                          beside:  Sedum 'Vera Jameson', Stachys byzantina
                                                                                                        Salvia x superba:  Violet Sage, Perennial Salvia
                                                                                                          where:  borders or rock gardens
                                                                                                            in front of:  Allium sphaerocephalum
                                                                                                              in front of:  Baptisia australis, Lysimachia punctata
                                                                                                                combined with:  Armeria maritima 'Dusseldorfer Pride', Stachys byzantina, Artemisia (feathery form) & Achillea
                                                                                                                  combined with:  Sedum spectabile & Eupatorium (lavender-blue)
                                                                                                                    with:  Achillea millefolium 'Cerise Queen'
                                                                                                                      with:  Yucca, Achillea, Sedum, Rudbeckia, Hemerocallis, Coreopsis, Stachys byzantina
                                                                                                                        generally with:  Daisies, Mums, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                          combined with:  Achillea x 'Coronation Gold' & Chrysanthemum x superbum
                                                                                                                            combined with:  Achillea x 'Coronation Gold', Lavandula 'Munstead', Lilium, Lythrum, Nepeta & Veronica
                                                                                                                              beside:  Phlox paniculata (orange), Achillea 'Gold Plate'
                                                                                                                                behind:  Heliopsis (double yellow)
                                                                                                                                  with:  Papaver orientale (deep crimson)
                                                                                                                                Salvia x superba 'East Friesland':  Perennial Salvia, deep violet, dark violet-purple
                                                                                                                                  Salvia x superba 'East Friesland'
                                                                                                                                  note:  follow the link for a profile of Salvia x superba 'East Friesland'
                                                                                                                                    seen in the photograph above with:  a pink Dianthus and a blue Festuca grass
                                                                                                                                      with:  Dianthus
                                                                                                                                        in general with:  light yellows, pinks, rosy-pinks
                                                                                                                                          with:  Allium christophii & Nepeta
                                                                                                                                            beside:  Helictotrichon sempervirens
                                                                                                                                              beside or offset behind:  Achillea x 'Moonshine'
                                                                                                                                                in front of:  Achillea 'Paprika'
                                                                                                                                                  in front of:  Paeonia lactiflora (Common Garden Peony)
                                                                                                                                                    with:  Rosa, Lilium 'Design' (white with yellow throat), Yucca
                                                                                                                                                      with::  Sedum, Hemerocallis, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia,Coreopsis
                                                                                                                                                        with:  Dendranthema (Garden Mum), Daisies, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                          in front of:  pink roses
                                                                                                                                                            with:  Tulipa (pink, lavender & plum)
                                                                                                                                                          Salvia x sylvestris 'May Night':  violet-blue, 3'x18"
                                                                                                                                                            what:  a hybrid of S. pratensis and S. nemorosa
                                                                                                                                                              with:  Papaver orientale, Coreopsis auriculata 'Nana', Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro'
                                                                                                                                                                combined with:  Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' & Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'
                                                                                                                                                                  combined with:  Centaurea macrocephala, Digitalis lanata & Campanula persificolia 'Grandiflora Alba'
                                                                                                                                                                Salvia 'Miss Indigo':  taller than 'East Friesland' but only marginally hardy, intense violet-blue
                                                                                                                                                                  generally with:  June-blooming perennials (rosy-coloured)
                                                                                                                                                                    for color and shape contrast with:  Paeonia (pink or dark red)
                                                                                                                                                                      behind:  Eryngium 'Miss Willmott's Ghost', all amid California Poppy
                                                                                                                                                                    Salvia turkestanica:  Clary Sage, 30"x12"
                                                                                                                                                                      synonym:  Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica
                                                                                                                                                                        what:  biennial grown as annual, white & lavender-purple flowers
                                                                                                                                                                          with:  Chrysanthemum x superbum
                                                                                                                                                                        Even more ideas on using Salvia can be found at the links below.

                                                                                                                                                                      • white Salvia forms
                                                                                                                                                                      • yellow Salvia forms
                                                                                                                                                                      • Salvias to attract Hummingbirds
                                                                                                                                                                      • Salvia with silver foliage
                                                                                                                                                                      • Salvia with variegated foliage

                                                                                                                                                                      • STOKESIA

                                                                                                                                                                        Amid all of late summer's bright oranges and yellows the lavender-blue tones of the Stoke's Aster, a drought-resistant perennial, are a welcome addition to any garden. Happy in either full sun or light shade, and in moist, well-drained, sandy soil, this beautiful flower "combines the precision of a thistle with the softness of an aster". Cutting stems back to the base will encourage rebloom. Also look for pink and white forms of this lovely native North American wildflower.

                                                                                                                                                                        Stokesia laevis:  Stoke's Aster12-24"x12"

                                                                                                                                                                          Stokesia laevis - Stoke's Aster
                                                                                                                                                                          note:  see this beauty in the border around this page, and in the images at the top of the page and directly above
                                                                                                                                                                            with:  Verbena, Artemisia


                                                                                                                                                                          VERONICA

                                                                                                                                                                          Among purple-flowered perennials, one of my favourite groups is the Veronicas, commonly called Speedwell, perhaps because they are available in a variety of heights and come in such a wide range of tones, from deepest violet to lightest gentian. Most will reward your efforts to keep them dead-headed by producing a continuous sequence of blooms over a long period of time. An added bonus is that there is no shortage of well-known perennials to match to every type.

                                                                                                                                                                          Veronica alpina 'Goodness Grows': royal purple, to 12"x12-18"

                                                                                                                                                                            Veronica alpina 'Goodness Grows'
                                                                                                                                                                            combined with:  Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro', Achillea 'Salmon Beauty', Lilium (burgundy) & Shasta Daisy
                                                                                                                                                                          Veronica austriaca subsp. teucrium 'Crater Lake Blue': true blue, 12-18"x12"
                                                                                                                                                                            Veronica austriaca 'Crater Lake Blue'
                                                                                                                                                                            with bulbs:  Crocus, Allium moly
                                                                                                                                                                              beside:  Papaver orientale
                                                                                                                                                                                with:  Dianthus, Heuchera, Hemerocallis, Geranium, Coreopsis, Platycodon, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                                                  in front of:  Perovskia atriplicifolia
                                                                                                                                                                                    combined with:  Artemisia 'Silver Brocade', Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies', Dianthus deltoides 'Albus'
                                                                                                                                                                                      also combined with:  Thymus serphyllum 'Coccineum' & Geranium sanguineum
                                                                                                                                                                                    Veronica gentianoides: icy-blue, 24"x18"
                                                                                                                                                                                      Veronica gentianoides
                                                                                                                                                                                      combined with:  pink Tulipa, pink Dicentra, Bellis perennis
                                                                                                                                                                                        combined with:  yellow Tulipa, white Dicentra, Myosotis
                                                                                                                                                                                          with:  Coreopsis, Asclepias, Achillea, Geranium, Hemerocallis, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                                                        Veronica grandis 'Blue Charm': lavender-blue, 18"x18"
                                                                                                                                                                                          over bulbs:  Crocus
                                                                                                                                                                                            with:  Veronica longifolia 'Icicle'
                                                                                                                                                                                              beside:  Dianthus, Heuchera sanguinea
                                                                                                                                                                                            Veronica grandis 'Sunny Border Blue': dark violet-blue, 24"x18-24"
                                                                                                                                                                                              Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
                                                                                                                                                                                              note:  follow the link for a profile of Veronica grandis 'Sunny Border Blue'
                                                                                                                                                                                                generally with:  yellow, pink and white-flowered plants
                                                                                                                                                                                                  with:  Hemerocallis (fruit shades such as peach, lemon, apricot, orange or plum)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    behind:  Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'
                                                                                                                                                                                                      beside:  Eryngium spp
                                                                                                                                                                                                        near:  lemon-yellow Achillea x 'Moonshine' or hybrid Achillea (buff, rose or scarlet)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          combined with:  Lythrum virgatum'Morden Pink' & Hemerocallis 'Lavender Tonic'
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Veronica spp. incana : deep violet-blue, 8-12"x12" or more
                                                                                                                                                                                                          synonym :  V. incana spp. incana
                                                                                                                                                                                                            generally with:  pink June-blooming flowers
                                                                                                                                                                                                              over bulbs:  Crocus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                with:  Heuchera sanguinea (pink), Lavatera 'Mont Blanc'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  behind:  Santolina chamaecyparissus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in front of:  Caryopteris clandonensis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      combined in front of:  Hemerocallis 'Mme Bellum' & Achillea x taygetea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue': blue, 12"x20-45"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      discovered in the Republic of Georgia;  foliage turns glossy purple in winter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        this plant attracts butterflies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          for early bloom with:  daffodils
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Veronica repens: milky-blue, 3-4"x12"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          over bulbs: species Crocus, small species Narcissus and Tulipa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Veronica 'Blue Spires': 3-4'x2-3'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Veronica 'Blue Spires'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          over bulbs:  Crocus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            with other Veronicas:   Veronica spicata 'Red Fox', 'Blue Peter', 'Blue Charm' or 'Icicle'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              beside:  Dianthus, Heuchera sanguinea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Veronica spicata: blue, 12-24"x18"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              with:  Achillea, Nepeta, Oenothera, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                for contrast with:  arching Hemerocallis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Veronica virginica: purple-blue, 5-6'x18-24"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                synonym:  Veronicastrum virginicum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  generally with:  white & blue perennials
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    with foliage plants:  Hosta, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      with:  Phlox paniculata, Hemerocallis, Aconitum, Helenium, Rudbeckia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Veronica whitleyi: light blue with white center, 2-4"x12-18"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Veronica whitleyi
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      above bulbs:  Tulipa (peachy), Allium aflatunense
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with:  Intermediate Iris (lemon-yellow)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Get inspired to plant more of these wonderful perennials by exploring the suggestions at the links below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Veronica edgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • pink Veronicas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Veronicas with silver foliage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • white Veronicas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • red Veronicas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • TO RETURN TO PURPLE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 1, FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BLUE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Geranium  |  Iris - Vinca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BULBS    Allium - Hyacinthus  |  Narcissus only  |  Tulipa only  |  Minor Bulbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BUTTERFLY MAGNETS    Anaphalis - Hemerocallis  |  Liatris - Veronicastrum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DAYLILIES      Spider & Unusual Form

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EDGERS    Arabis - Iris  |  Nepeta - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FOLIAGE PERENNIALS     Alchemilla - Tanacetum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HOSTA    Hosta - all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS    Alcea - Salvia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ORANGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Tulipa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ORNAMENTAL GRASSES    Acorus - Imperata |  Miscanthus - Spodiopogon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PINK PERENNIALS    Achillea - Lilium  |  Lychnis - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PURPLE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Liatris  |  Polemonium - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      RED PERENNIALS    Achillea - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SHADE PERENNIALS    Aegopodium - Erythronium  |  Ferns - Polemonium  |  Polygonatum - Vinca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Cerastium    |    Cornus - Limonium    |    Lunaria - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS    Acanthus - Saxifraga

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      WHITE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Iris  |  Kalimeris - Yucca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      YELLOW PERENNIALS    Achillea - Hypericum  |  Inula - Verbascum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Acorus - Erythronium  |  Hakonechloa - Lysimachia  |  Miscanthus - Yucca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PLANT PROFILES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies'  |  Geranium  |  Geum coccineum  |  Kerria japonica  |  Knautia macedonica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paeonia tenuifolia  |  Papaver somniferum  |  Rudbeckia  |  Salvia 'East Friesland'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trollius  |  Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PROPAGATION

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DIVISION - SPRING ONLY  |   DIVISION - FALL ONLY  |   DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL  |   DO NOT DIVIDE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FERTILIZATION

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