Horticulture Magazine

16 Herbs With Purple Flowers To Grow At Home

chives with purple flowers

“A garden of purple is always in bloom!”

This adage, common among gardeners, points to the wide range of plants that have purple flowers.

If you incorporate a selection of these into your garden, it’s likely that their combined flowering season will extend across quite a large swathe of the year.

Adding herbs to your garden brings so much to the space.

Not only do you give yourself a ready supply of tasty herbs to liven up your cooking, but you tap into a whole new seam of flowering potential.

Here are sixteen contenders, all of which will look stunning in your garden regardless of the requirement for kitchen condiments –

1) Lavender

a field of lavender in bloom
  • BOTANICAL NAME: LAVANDULA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Sheltered; Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil
  • RHS AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT

Probably the first purple herb that comes to mind is lavender.

This distinct and varied family of herbs all feature long stalks tipped with purple (or sometimes white or pink) sprigs.

Rub your fingers on a sprig and you’ll get a waft of their famous scent: one you can find in all manner of essential oils, toiletries, and even recipes.

Lavender grows naturally in expansive bushes, often replete with bees going about their pollen-related business.

Bushes naturally exude the captivating scent, making them a lovely addition to any outdoor space.

Lavender also grows well in containers: great if you want to prevent it from getting too unruly.

2) Rosemary

a large flowering rosemary shrub in a garden
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Salvia rosmarinus
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SPRING / SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Full Sun; Most Soils

This is a good example of a herb that most of us never really see in bloom.

If you pick up a packet of rosemary from the shelf at your local supermarket, it’ll just be a few sprigs of dark green leaves.

Catch it in the right season growing in the wild, though, and you’ll find a dazzling array of purple flowers vying for your attention.

3) Catnip

catnip foliage and purple flowers
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Nepeta cataria
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER / AUTUMN
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Exposed Or Sheltered; Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil

If you have a cat (or if you are one, although this seems unlikely), then you should definitely try growing catnip if you have the space.

This member of the mint family has the fascinating effect of being completely irresistible to cats.

Some take a sniff and collapse into a puddle of cuteness and fluff, while others enter into a psychedelic new headspace for a little while, writhing about the place with dilated pupils. [source]

a grey cat enjoying some catnip

However your cat responds to this plant, it’s a nice experience to share together.

And what’s more, the gentle purple flowers will look fantastic in your garden, whether alone or nestled up against other purple herbs.

4) Chives

upright chives with purple flowerheads
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Allium schoenoprasum
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Any

The first time I saw purple flowers on chives was by accident.

I left my chive plant unattended for a while, and then came back to little pink-purple orbs balanced delicately on the top of each strand.

The flowers are not only visually intriguing, but they’re also edible.

Pick one off and plop it onto a salad or any other dish where a garnish tasting faintly of onions will contribute, and you’re good to go.

5) Sage

flowering sage in sunlight
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Salvia officinalis
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Sheltered; Full Sun Or Part Shade; Moist, Well-Drained Soil

No dish of lamb is complete without a sprig of sage, and in fact this herb lends itself so well to a selection of hearty, warming winter foods that we almost insist that any gardener with space should grow it.

Each summer your sage will erupt into a lively purple bloom, and it’s a real treat to behold.

6) Anise hyssop

upright towering blooms of anise hyssop
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Agastache foeniculum (Pursh) Kuntze
  • HARDINESS RATING: H3
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER / AUTUMN
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil

With this herb, we’re entering the realm of herbs that most people may not be overly familiar with. And that’s alright!

It’s a good opportunity to learn what’s available in addition to the regular contenders we see in the supermarket herb section.

Anise hyssop looks a little like lavender to the untrained eye. It boasts purple sprigs atop long stalks and grows in dense bushes.

The scent and flavour are subtly different though: expect something a little like liquorice (hence the name), and ideal for using as garnishes or working through recipes.

7) Oregano

oregano flowers and foliage
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Origanum vulgare
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER / AUTUMN
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Any

This herb packs a very strong flavour punch, and is a common feature in Italian cooking.

Often you’ll find dried oregano in herb mixes on the table in pizza restaurants, but the fresh leaf also makes a great addition to cooking.

Oregano also boasts purple flowers, as you may have expected when you found it in this list.

Pinky-purple petals erupt forth from darker purple, almost red bases, giving this herb a real stunning colour profile.

8) Thyme

thyme plant in flower
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Thymus vulgaris
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil

We’ve written elsewhere on this site about the vast number of pun opportunities presented by thyme.

On the off chance that you’ve read one of those articles, we’ll spare you the onslaught of dad jokes here, and will suffice to say that thyme is another herb commonly found in supermarket which, in the wild, sports attractive purple flowers.

If you’re trying to identify a herb with purple flowers, or you’re looking for purple-flowered herbs to grow in your very own herb garden, we definitely recommend taking the thyme to familiarise yourself with this one.

9) Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea flowering in summertime
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Echinacea purpurea
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER / AUTUMN
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Well-Drained Soil; Full Sun

Echinacea has a long and proud history in traditional cultures.

It also has purple flowers, too, making it a suitable entrant for this list.

While some of the other herbs here have small and dainty flowers, echinacea’s bloom is big and bold.

The centre of the flower is surrounded by big oval-shaped pedals that flirt with pink and purple in equal measure.

10) Blue False Indigo

stems of Baptisia australis flowers with purple petals
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Baptisia australis
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Exposed; Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil
  • RHS AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT

11) Sweet Basil

flowering Ocimum basilicum in a burgundy colour
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Ocimum basilicum
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Sheltered; Full Sun; Well-Drained Soil

12) Spearmint

plumes of spearmint flowers on the stem
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Mentha spicata
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: PART SHADE; POORLY DRAINED SOIL

13) Foxley

Thymus pulegioides 'Foxley' in focus
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Thymus pulegioides ‘Foxley’
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SPRING / SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Full Sun; Most Soils

14) Bergamot

unusual blooms of bergamot in pink and lilac
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Monarda citriodora
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Any Sunlight Or Exposure; Moist, Well-Draining Soil

15) Pennyroyal

pennyroyal foliage and its globe shaped flowers
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Mentha pulegium
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Any Sunlight Or Exposure; Moist, Poorly Drained Soil

16) Coriander

umbels of lilac coriander flowers
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Coriandrum sativum
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • FLOWERING SEASON(S): SUMMER
  • IDEAL CONDITIONS: Any

When growing herbs take care to familiarise yourself with the growing requirements of each.

While an untended (or even forgotten) herb box will hold its own for a little while, they’ll definitely do a lot better with the TLC that any plant deserves.

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