‘Blue Fortune’ produces chubby spikes of light purple blooms atop licorice-scented foliage. Adored by bees and butterflies, but loathed by deer, anise hyssop is in non-stop bloom for months. Pinch the plant back by a third in late May, and you’ll have twice as many blooms! Full sun conditions are best for this plant, but it can also tolerate light shade. There are many deer-resistant perennials with purple blooms, but the only one with licorice-scented foliage is the anise hyssop in the lower left corner of this garden.
Mistflower ( Conoclinium coelestinum ) Another North American native plant with purple flowers, mistflower reminds many gardeners of common annual ageratum. The powder puff-like blooms appear in clusters, just like ageratum, but this late-blooming purple flower doesn’t produce its blooms until very late in the season. Also unlike ageratum, mistflower is a perennial that’s fully hardy down to -20 degrees F. Plant it in full sun to partial shade, and your late-season garden will be filled with pale purple, fuzzy blooms on 1-foot-tall stems. It’s moderately resistant to deer, and spreads quite prolifically (occasionally to the point of being obnoxious). The fuzzy blooms of mistflower look a lot like annual ageratum, but this is a long-lived native perennial. Spike speedwell ( Veronica spicata ) Veronica is an old-fashioned, deer-resistant, purple flowering perennial that gardeners have loved for generations. Unfortunately, some varieties are prone to powdery mildew, so choose resistant varieties, such as ‘Royal Candles’.
Reaching about 12 inches in height, spike speedwell has pointy spires of densely packed purple flowers that open from the bottom up. When planted in full sun the plant does not need to be staked and survives winters down to -40 degrees F. Spike speedwell is an long-time favorite of gardeners everywhere. Pikes Peak beardstongue ( Penstemon x mexicali ‘Pikes Peak Purple’) Yet another purple perennial for the bees, ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ beardstongue has it all. Gorgeous looks, prolific dark purple flowers, and ease of care separate this plant from the rest. Winter hardy to -20 degrees F, Pikes Peak Purple’s tubular blooms are shaped like little trumpets. Choose a full sun site with well-drained soil, and this plant thrives. Give Pikes Peak Penstemon well-drained soil and full sun, and it’s as happy as can be. Wood phlox ( Phlox divaricata ) Wood phlox is a shade-loving, purple perennial that produces early-season blooms. Often finished blooming right along with the tulips, this native of the woodlands of eastern North America, is nothing short of lovely. The pale purple blooms bear five petals each, and they are borne in clusters atop 6-inch-tall, wiry stems. In bloom for just a few short weeks each spring, wood phlox is hardy to -40 degrees F. Wood phlox is a shade lover with lots to offer, including it’s early-season blooms. Purple-leaved spiderwort ( Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Queen’) While this perennial does have tiny lavender flowers, it’s more prized for its purple leaves. Though it is hardy only in warmer climates that don’t fall below 0 degrees F, it’s well worth growing, even if you have to replace it each spring. Of all the plants with purple leaves available to gardeners, ‘Purple Queen’ is a real standout. It makes a dramatic display, and with a height of just 12 inches, it tumbles nicely over the edges of containers and retaining walls. Purple tradescantia looks terrific in containers, too! Lalla aster ( Symphyotrichum x ‘Lalla’) A hybrid of a North American native aster, ‘Lalla’ has so much bloom power it’s not even funny. Low-growing and spreading, this purple perennial is hardy to -40 degrees F. It produces a bazillion small purple flowers very late in the season, and it’s a magnet for tiny native pollinators. Though the deer may nibble it from time to time, ‘Lalla’ provides much-needed late-season color in the perennial border. It enjoys full sun, though it’s at home in dappled shade, too. If you can’t find this variety of aster, try the more common ‘Purple Dome’ as an alternative. ‘Lalla’ asters are low-growing and spreading, making them a perfect fit for the front of the border. Lavender ( Lavandula species) Lavender is among the most familiar of all plants with purple flowers. Prized for its heavenly scent and essential oil content, lavender is both deer-resistant and sun-loving.
Plant it in well-drained soil for the best results. There are many different species and varieties of lavender available. Choose one that’s hardy in your climate as there are many to choose from. Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ and ‘Grosso’ are personal favorites. A list of purple-flowered perennials wouldn’t be complete without lavender! Creeping speedwell ( Veronica x ‘Waterperry Blue’) A low-growing perennial with purple flowers, creeping speedwell makes a great ground cover. Though it’s only in bloom for a short time each spring, creeping speedwell looks lovely year-round. It’s semi-evergreen and needs nothing more than a light haircut in the very early spring. Hardy to -30 degrees F, this purple-flowering groundcover is deer resistant and produces pretty little blooms in full sun. ‘Waterperry Blue’ is a great plant to use as a ground cover.
Lungwort ( Pulmonaria species) Those seeking purple perennial flowers that bloom early, thrive in the shade, and are deer resistant, should put lungwort on their list. There are many varieties of lungwort with purple blooms, including ‘Diana Clare’, ‘Mrs. Plant lungwort in a shady spot and give it ample water. Coralbells ( Heuchera species) Okay, I’m cheating a little here, because coralbells aren’t purple perennial flowers.