Forget 50 Shades of Gray: How About 50 Shades of Purple?

shades of purple

shades of purple

Top row: Purple paint swatches; a fading rose; pink muhly grass. Middle row: ‘Helena’s Blush’ wood spurge; ‘Burgundy Glow’ bugleweed; a light purple pansy. Bottom row: red romaine and green oakleaf lettuces; a bright purple pansy; ‘Ruby Perfection’ purple cabbage; ‘Red Giant’ mustard.

Purple may not be the color you automatically think of for the holidays (though according to some on our sister blog, icy purple is the hot color of this holiday season), but it’s all I’ve been able to focus on lately in the garden. So much purple! Light purple, dark purple, pinkish purple, bluish purple, and yes, even icy purple (do I sound like Bubba with his shrimp yet?).

In interior design, purple provides a regal air and sparks creativity. I’d say it does the same outside, but even more so. I don’t know about you, but gray gets me down. Purple provides me and the winter garden with some much-needed color. As I walked into our HGTV headquarters this morning, I couldn’t help but notice all the purple plants shining their royal faces into an otherwise gray morning. Being a plant dork, I set down my stuff, got out my camera, and climbed into the landscaping while my colleagues observed with questioning eyes. (Perhaps you’re familiar with the look given to intrepid gardeners by their inquisitors, no doubt wondering “Who is this crazy person? Doesn’t she know she’s going to ruin her shoes?”)

In the veggie garden, purple also indicates nutrition that can be hard to come by in the colder months—things like the antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give the plants their purple color and help prevent health problems from cancer to heart disease. Whether the varieties are called red or purple or pink, vegetables with a purple or ruddy tint, like red lettuces, purple cabbage, red mustard and purple cauliflower, all contribute these antioxidants to our otherwise meat-and-potatoes winter diet.

All of these pics are from our HGTV garden, except for two. The rows of lettuce, including red romaine, are from my own little veggie patch. And then there’s the nice lady with her fan of purple paint swatches. After taking my detour into the HGTV plant beds this morning, I walked into the building to be greeted by her, and her love for purple, displayed on our wall.

It was a sign, for sure. Maybe purple really is the color of the season.

Next Up

Choosing Plants for Year-Round Color

Certain plants will inject color into the garden all year. They provide structure and a sense of permanence as everything else changes.

Plant the Rainbow: Using Color in Garden Design

Lush greens are just the beginning when it comes to choosing plants for your outdoor area.

Flowers That Change Colors

Tulips, roses, and hydrangeas keep the show going in your garden as their colors intensify or soften.

Choosing Colors and Textures for Your Garden

Learn how to change the look and feel of your garden with this guide.

Color Me Beautiful

Enhance the mood you're setting in your garden with great color choices.

Winter Wonderland: Adding Color to the Landscape

A variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants can offer color and texture.

How to Introduce Color Into Your Garden

A shot of color can deliver a vibrant lift to your garden whether it's delivered via plants and flowers or some imaginative paint.

Creating a Color Scheme for Your Garden

Flowers and plants offer an exceptional color palette that would make any artist envious.

Use Trees for Structure & Color

Learn ways to make the most of trees in your garden design.

Color Garden for the Southwest

Use this landscape plan to create a beautiful garden room alive with color throughout the seasons.