Five Striking Purple Ornamentals

The 2018 Pantone Color of the Year was Ultra Violet, which just happened to coincide with the dominant color scheme throughout the espalier border in the Koehn Garden last fall. In its announcement, Pantone described its chosen color as “dramatically provocative and thoughtful,” adjectives that make a lot of sense when viewed through the lens of these five standout ornamentals of the same hue.

Salvia ‘Amistad’ (Amistad hybrid friendship sage)

This medium-sized annual salvia from Mexico, a regular stop for hummingbirds, has the most intense violet flowers of any we grow. At four to five feet tall this salvia needs some room for all those flower spikes in constant bloom until frost.

Verbena rigida ‘Santos’ (Santos stiff verbena)

I am a big fan of Verbena bonariensis (purpletop verbena), the familiar self-sowing annual seen throughout the Botanical Garden, so it is no wonder I love Verbena rigida ‘Santos’ as well. ‘Santos’ is a stocky plant that weaves around and through its neighbors to find an opening for its bright lavender blooms. The coarse green foliage fills voids within the planting as well. Pollinators value the blooms that last from June through fall.

Salvia ‘Ser-Wish’ (Love and Wishes™ sage)

It’s no secret we love salvias, particularly those that have long flowering seasons. Love and Wishes sage ranks high on our list of favorites with magenta-purple flowers almost constantly in bloom to the delight of hummingbirds. This variety was developed in Australia and a portion of each sale benefits the Make a Wish® Foundation in Australia.

Ocimum basilicum ‘Purple Ruffles’ (Purple Ruffles basil)

In addition to a purple motif, the espalier border also features a mix of edibles and ornamentals this season. Purple Ruffles basil satisfies both categories with ruffled, aromatic foliage that gives visual depth to the border and makes for a pleasant air freshener to garden around.

 Pennisetum glaucum ‘Copper Prince’ (Copper Prince ornamental millet)

This bold statement grass has been the most asked-about plant in the border this year. This annual ornamental millet starts out with caramel gold foliage which ages to bronze as the maroon flower spikes appear.