As any regular reader of design blogs knows, accent colors never fail to add some pizzazz to your decor. In the world of houseplants, you’re pretty much stuck with green as your main color scheme, but you can still add a pop of color here and there. There are actually a fair number of plants whose leaves are all or primarily purple, and these can add some visual interest to an otherwise monotone grouping. Plus, they’re freaking purple! What’s not to love? Here are five plants that will help you start cultivating your purple-thumb today.
Hardy and cute, purple shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) looks just the way it sounds: it’s a deep plum hue with tiny shamrock-shaped leaves. Aside from the color, the most fun thing about purple shamrock is that it’s photophilic, meaning the leaves fold up along the stem during in the night, reopening when the sun comes up.
Purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca), also called purple passion plant, has fuzzy leaves that range from green with fuschia tips, to a rich purple depending on the cultivar. Actually, it’s the fine hairs covering the leaves that give them both their color and velvety appearance. Unfortunately these purple velvet plants lose their lovely coloring after about two years, so you’ll need to replace the mother plant by propagating its offshoots.
Rattlesnake plant (Calathea lancifolia) might not appear purple at first glance, but take a closer look. It has narrow variegated leaves that are a surprising plum color on the underside. This is a bushy, compact houseplant with a playful tropical vibe.
Persian shield plant (Strobilanthes dyerianus) may just be the purplest of all purple plants. The leaf color is straight out of a crayon box, and some varieties could even be called neon. It can be grown outdoors as an annual, as well as indoors. Note that the color may become washed out when sunlight is too strong.
Tradescantia (commonly called spiderwort) is a star of hanging baskets, with shoots that ripple gracefully over the side of the planter. Tradescantias come in a variety of colors, but the purple heart variety (Tradescantia pallida) definitely steals the show. For the richest purple color, give it a lot of bright light but shield it from direct sun exposure. Sadly, these plants don’t age well (they lose leaves near the base that don’t regrow) and may need to be propagated every few years.