Purple and maroon landscape bushes stand out when you plant them in front of a light background, such as white siding or tan stucco. You can also highlight their rich color by placing them among plants with light green foliage or plants bearing yellow or orange flowers. The wonderful purple and maroon colors on landscape bushes, and other plants, come from a pigment called anthocyanin, while chlorophyll makes leaves green. Sometimes maroon plants are described as having burgundy leaves.
Varieties of Weigela
The varieties of weigela (Weigela florida) “Elvera” and “Bramwell” look nice in shrub borders, display good fall color, tolerate clay soil and bear hummingbird-attracting flowers in April to June. “Elvera,” also known as “Midnight Wine,” grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. It has reddish-pink flowers and maroon-purple leaves. “Bramwell,” also known as “Fine Wine,” grows 2 to 4 feet tall in USDA zones 4 through 8. It has rose-pink flowers and dark maroon leaves.
Varieties of Japanese Barberry
The varieties of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea”) “Golden Ring” and “Gentry” serve as accent bushes for small spaces and foundation plants in USDA zones 4 through 8. These very adaptable thorny bushes tolerate dry soil, clay soil, air pollution and drought. Deer won’t eat them and they bear small showy fruit that provide winter interest. “Golden Ring” grows 3 to 4 feet tall and puts out reddish-purple leaves in spring that mature to green and feature a thin gold-color edge. “Gentry,” also known as “Royal Burgundy,” grows 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall and puts out burgundy leaves in spring that mature to reddish-black.
Varieties of Euphorbia
Smoketree spurge (Euphorbia cotinifolia) and the spurge “Chameleon” (Euphorbia dulcis “Chameleon”) are varieties of euphorbia that perform well in areas with air pollution. The foliage on smoketree spurge emerges red and turns dark maroon. This tall evergreen bush grows 10 to 15 feet tall in USDA zones 10 through 11 and is outstanding in mixed containers. The foliage on “Chameleon” emerges dusky purple and turns maroon-purple. This short bush grows 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall in USDA zones 5 through 7 and performs well in shallow rocky soil. Both bushes also tolerate drought, deer and rabbits.
For Container Gardens
Certain purple and maroon landscape bushes perform well in containers as well as in the garden. Chinese fringe-flower “Rubrum” (Loropetalum chinense “Rubrum”) has leaves that are light to dark maroon, green with maroon or green with a copper or red tint. This evergreen bush grows 3 to 15 feet tall in USDA zones 7 through 10. The leaves on smoketree “Royal Purple” (Cotinus Coggygria “Royal Purple”) come out maroon-red in spring and mature to dark purplish-red. Good for decks and patios, the plant grows 10 to 15 feet tall in USDA zones 4 through 8.
- Oregon State University Extension Service: Colored Leaves Have Chlorophyll Too
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela Florida "Elvera"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela Florida "Bramwell"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Berberis Thunbergii F. Atropurpurea "Gentry"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Berberis Thunbergii F. Atropurpurea "Golden Ring"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Euphorbia Dulcis "Chameleon"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Euphorbia Cotinifolia
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Cotinus Coggygria "Royal Purple"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Loropetalum Chinense "Rubrum"