8 Shrubs With Purple Leaves to Add Drama to Your Garden

If you’re looking to add a touch of drama to your garden, you may consider adding plants with big, colorful blooms or whimsical habits. Both are lovely options, but another feature that can bring something bold to the garden is dark purple or near-black foliage. In a sea of green foliage plants, the deep purple leaves will really stand out and make a statement. Here’s a list of our favorite purple foliage shrubs that are sure to add that touch of drama wherever you put them in your garden.

Weigela florida

  • USDA zones 4-8
  • full sun, part sun
  • 2-3′ tall
  • 2-3′ wide

This shrub boasts wavy dark purple foliage that contrasts beautifully with its vibrant hot-pink/magenta flowers. This color combo is sure to turn heads in the garden. 

Diervilla rivularis

Close up of Kodiak Black Diervilla's dark purple/near-black fall foliage
  • USDA zones 4-7
  • full sun, part sun, full shade
  • 3-4′ tall
  • 3-4′ wide 

An eye-catching shrub from spring to fall, Kodiak® Black diervilla’s new growth emerges burgundy black, transitioning to dark green in summer when its yellow trumpet-shaped flowers bloom, and then finally, in fall, its foliage turns a deep purple. 

Black Lace elderberry with light pink blooms in the landscape
  • USDA zones 4-7
  • full sun, part sun
  • 6-8′ tall
  • 6-8′ wide

Black Lace® elderberry’s dark purple, near-black foliage, which has a delicate lacy appearance, adds bold color and texture to the garden. In early summer, light pink flower clusters bloom against the dark purple backdrop.

Close up of the dark foliage and vibrant flowers of Jazz Hands Bold chinese fringe-flower
  • USDA zones 7b-9
  • full sun, part sun
  • 5-6′ tall
  • 5-6′ wide

As its name suggests, this shrub is bold! Not only does it have dark purple black foliage, but it also boasts vibrant fuchsia streamer-like flowers, giving it even more drama in the garden. Its flowers and foliage are larger than conventional fringe-flowers, too.

Vibrant pink blooms and dark foliage of Center Stage Coral Crapemyrtle
  • USDA zones 6b-10
  • full sun
  • 6-12′ tall
  • 8′ wide

Showy and disease-resistant, Center Stage® Coral crape myrtle’s purple near-black leaves create a striking backdrop to the vibrant coral-pink flowers that bloom in summer.

Physocarpus opulifolius

Summer Wine ninebark blooming in a landscape
  • USDA zones 3-7
  • full sun
  • 5-6′ tall
  • 5-6′ wide

Summer Wine® ninebark’s long-arching branches are covered with deep purple leaves, adding a touch of whimsy to the garden. In late spring, white button-like flowers line each branch.

Close up of the dark purple/near-black foliage of Winecraft Black smokebush
  • USDA zones 4-8
  • full sun, part sun, 
  • 8-10′ tall
  • 6-8′ wide

Winecraft Black® smokebush is another shrub that shines from spring to fall. Rich purple foliage emerges in spring before maturing to near-black and then transitions to orange-red in fall. Wispy red flowers that turn to hazy-violet smoke-like plumes add an extra touch of drama.

An established specimen of Pearl Glam beautyberry covered in purple fruits.
  • USDA zones 5-8
  • full sun
  • 4-5′ tall
  • 2-3′ wide

From spring to frost, Pearl Glam® beautyberry sports stunning deep purple foliage. In late summer/early fall, its arching branches are covered in purple berries.

If you’re in need of some more garden color scheme inspiration, check out this “Picking the Right Garden Color Scheme” article.

Written by
Samantha Huisman

Samantha Huisman

I’m still pretty new to gardening, but I’m eager to learn more as I grow my USDA Zone 6a garden. I share my space with two very energetic German Shepherd dogs, and I'm happy to share my experiences building a garden that is beautiful and safe for my pups. As I learn and grow in the gardening world, I’m excited to give you tips and inspiration that may just help you on your gardening journey.

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