If you want to feature stunning colors, these plants with purple and green leaves are beautiful choices that can transform your indoor or outdoor space. Green and purple plants can be colorful shrubs, charming succulents, leafy perennials or dark annuals with contrasting foliage that will complement your flower garden.
Whether you’re looking for a small houseplant or a large tropical, the most popular plants come with green leaves on top and purple underneath. With different colors, you can use these plants to add a stylish flair to your landscape or living room.
To inspire you, we’ve compiled a list of plants with green and purple leaves. From indoor to outdoor, these amazing green and purple plants will enhance your space with beautiful and vibrant foliage.
Plants with Purple and Green Leaves
Persian Shield (Strobilanthese Dyerianus)
Persian shield is an evergreen shrub that was originally native to Myanmar and has dark green foliage that is overlaid with iridescent purple stripes and a silvery metallic sheen. Persian shield has served as a desirable ornamental plant dating back to the Victorian era. While its striking leaves are beautiful and alluring, Persian shield will produce delicate pastel purple blossoms in the right conditions.
As a tropical plant, Persian shield thrives in hot and humid conditions. In its ideal climate, this herbaceous shrub can quickly grow into lush mounds as high as five feet and as wide as three feet. While it is also a popular houseplant, Persian shield will typically remain smaller in size when grown in small containers indoors or cooler climates.
To get the most vibrant color out of Persian shield in your exterior landscaping, plant it in partially shaded locations where it will receive dappled sunlight. If you want to amp up the hue of an indoor Persian shield houseplant, keep it in a location where it will receive bright, indirect sunlight.
Oyster Plant (Tradescantia Spathacea)
The oyster plant is a beautiful houseplants that comes with green leaves on top and a purple underside for a stunning look. Sometimes known as boat lily or Moses-in-the-cradle, the oyster plant is an easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial that is equally comfortable inside or outside.
This sturdy and compact plant is recognizable by its long, lance-shaped leaves that are a glossy dark green on top and a rich reddish-purple underneath. These bicolor leaves grow in dense clumps radiating out from a spiral rosette shape in the center.
Hardy in nature, oyster plants are well-loved because they are incredibly easy to care for. As an indoor houseplant, it requires minimal maintenance. Simply water it once every week or two and place it in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. Outdoors, this low-growing plant flourishes in the shade of taller-growing trees.
Ornamental Cabbage (Brassica Oleracea)
Also known as flowering cabbage, ornamental cabbage is a cool-season annual or biennial plant that is notable for its ruffled silhouette. Layers of smooth, wavy leaves are clustered into rosettes that look more like a flower than a vegetable.
Ornamental cabbage is technically edible, but it is more bitter than the cabbage that is cultivated for food purposes. It is much better suited for incorporating interesting colors and texture into your exterior landscaping.
The colors of ornamental cabbage are particularly dazzling and showy when temperatures have dropped below fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Plant them in brightly lit areas alongside other flamboyant fall flowers like pansies and chrysanthemums to usher in the winter months with a riotous cacophony of color.
Coleus (Coleus Scutellarioides)
Coleus is a tropical evergreen tender perennial that is easily identifiable by its brightly-colored foliage. There are countless species of coleus and each variant features leaves of varying shapes, sizes and patterns, but the color palette of bright green, maroon, and purple remains consistent.
While flowers introduce color into your home and garden for only short periods, the coleus plant boasts all-season color throughout the year. This makes it a popular choice among landscapers who want to create visual interest in their garden, as well as with plant enthusiasts who want to induce their home decor with natural and organic vibrancy.
When planted outdoors, coleus has an average lifespan of a year. However, this easy-to-propagate plant sprawls out quickly and grows to its full size within a single season giving you bang for your buck. While coleus is a shade-loving plant, certain varieties also thrive in full sun.
As a houseplant, coleus can live anywhere from three to four years. However, since coleus is toxic to cats and dogs, you may want to restrict it to the outdoors if you have pets in your home.
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Zebrina)
Tradescantia zebrina is a species of trailing tropical plant that can beautify your garden as a creeping groundcover or spruce up your home as a hanging houseplant. This evergreen perennial is often called the zebra plant as its deep purple and olive green stripes are reminiscent of a zebra’s black-and-white striped coat.
It also goes by several other names, including the silver inch plant, wandering spiderwort, and variegated spiderwort.
For many years, the tradescantia zebrina was most commonly known by the moniker “Wandering Jew”. In recent years, people have realized that this name has offensive connotations so they have instead begun referring to it as the “Wandering Dude”.
While there are many cultivars of tradescantia zebrina, the care required is fairly universal across the different variants. These plants enjoy average to high rates of humidity and prosper in partial to full shade. While the soil surrounding tradescantia zebrina should be kept consistently moist, take care not to overwater this plant.
Purple Velvet Plant (Gynura Aurantiaca)
Also known as a purple passion plant, the purple velvet plant is a woody evergreen perennial in the daisy family. Purple velvet plants produce disc-shaped flowers in vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow, but their foliage is the real showstopper.
Their dark green stems and leaves are covered with fine, soft purple hairs giving the plant a rich look and a luxurious velvety feeling. Because the flowers give off a strong and unpleasant aroma, many people choose to trim the blooms off as soon as they appear.
Originally native to Southeast Asia, the purple velvet plant does best in tropical climates. This limits its viability as an outdoor plant in most of the United States, though it can be found in places like Florida and Hawaii.
Its striking good looks and minimal maintenance needs make it a popular houseplant. Keep your purple passion plant in medium to bright light to bring out its color, and make sure the soil is moist but not wet as it is prone to root rot.
Prayer Plant (Maranta Leuconeura)
Maranta leuconeura is another example of a plant where the flowers are secondary to the foliage. This tropical plant sports large, gorgeously-patterned oval-shaped leaves in variegated shades of green, with a pop of contrasting color from purple veins.
These leaves lay flat during the day, but at night they fold up and inwards, in the manner of praying hands. This interesting characteristic inspired its common name, the prayer plant.
Prayer plants do best in environments similar to their native tropical rainforests. This means they need bright indirect sunlight, well-drained soil, and ample humidity. Whether you use prayer plants as an outdoor groundcover or an indoor houseplant, these glorious perennials are a major attention-grabber.
Ti Plant (Cordyline Fruticosa)
Also known as a palm lily or cabbage, the ti plant is an evergreen flowering plant in the asparagus family that has a strong resemblance to a palm tree. The ti plant is popular as an ornamental plant because of its broad and colorful leaves, but it is also valued in certain cultures both as a food source and for its usefulness in traditional medicine.
Whether you’re planting it outdoors or keeping it inside, finding the right placement for a ti plant can be a little tricky. Ti plants are especially rich in hue when they get plenty of sunlight, but they can also fade or turn brown when they get too much sun. Look for a place with bright, yet indirect sunlight to make the most of this beautiful plant.
Rex Begonia (Begonia Rex-cultorum)
Though many varieties of begonia plants are cultivated for their delicate, elegant blossoms, the aesthetic appeal of the rex begonia is in its leaves. There are over five hundred varieties of rex begonias available, each with its own unique look. Newar cultivars like the “Fireworks” rex begonia are particularly compelling thanks to their blackish green leaves that are accented with rich purple and metallic silver highlights.
A semi-tropical herbaceous perennial, the rex begonia can thrive as a houseplant or as an outdoor container plant. For the best color and longevity, position your rex begonia in bright, indirect sunlight and rotate it frequently to keep its light exposure equal on all sides. You should water rex begonias frequently enough that their soil is always moist, but take care not to overwater them.
Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis Alternata)
Also known as red ivy, the purple waffle plant is a tropical perennial that grows well in outdoor gardens and containers. It is also a popular houseplant because of its powerful air-purifying abilities. The leaves of the purple waffle plant are grayish green on top and dark purple underneath and have a ridged, grid-like pattern that inspires its unique name.
This diminutive plant is perfect for people who are just dipping their toes into plant ownership, as they are incredibly easy to care for. Purple waffle plants have great longevity when kept in partial sun outdoors or in bright indirect light inside.
They require little to no pruning and need just enough water to keep the soil moist. Add some slow-releasing fertilizer a few times a year to help it reach its full potential.
Calathea (Calathea Roseopicta)
At first glance, the calathea plant bears a strong resemblance to the maranta leuconeura or prayer plant since both are members of the Marantaceae family and sport graphic, striped leaves in varying shades of green. The leaves on the calathea plant do not fold up at night in the manner of the prayer plant.
Calathea is a sensitive plant that requires a little more care than other houseplants. Its soil should be damp at all times but not wet and it needs indirect sunlight. It loves humidity and should be misted frequently to be kept in optimal health. If you’re willing to put in the work though, this phenomenal plant is worth the effort.
Iron Cross Houseplant (Oxalis Tetraphylla)
Oxalis tetraphylla is an herbaceous perennial that goes by many other names, including four-leaved wood-sorrel, four-leaf pink-sorrel, shamrock, and lucky clover. It has also been referred to as the iron cross plant, although that term has fallen by the wayside because of negative political associations affiliated with the emblem.
Oxalis tetraphylla can often be found in flower shops and gardening seasons around St. Patrick’s Day, as their thin leaf clusters look remarkably similar to four-leaf clovers. However, they are not true shamrocks.
This adorable plant can add a touch of whimsy to your home, but they’re also great for exterior landscaping as an ornamental groundcover. Keep them in bright indirect light for the best results, and ensure that soil stays moist and loose.
Job’s Beard (Sempervivum Heuffelii)
Formerly known as jovibarba heuffelii, the sempervivum heuffelii is a perennial evergreen succulent characterized by its basal rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves. A semelparous plant, sempervivum has showy flowers that bloom only once before dying. Sempervivum is sometimes known as hen-and-chickens as the mother plant produces smaller offsets that cluster around her like baby chicks.
Succulents are hardy plants that can proliferate in harsh conditions like rocky soil and intense sun. When caring for a sempervivum, take a less is more approach. The biggest risk to these low-maintenance plants is overwatering.
Purple and Green Plant Care Tips
All living things need energy to grow. Plants get that energy through a process called photosynthesis, which uses light to convert oxygen and water into carbohydrates. While all plants need some light to survive and thrive, different plant varieties have unique needs.
Some require bright or direct light, while others do best with indirect light. If a plant receives too little light, its growth may be stunted, but if a plant gets too much light, it can dry out. When selecting a plant with purple and green leaves, take some time to research the levels of light they find most favorable and position them accordingly.
Like light, water is an integral part of photosynthesis and helps move nutrients from the soil into the plant. This nutrient flow also provides the hydrogen necessary for the formation of glucose. Most plants need water in varying amounts to flourish. Underwatering moisture-loving foliage like spider plants can cause them to dry out while overwatering arid plants like succulents can cause root rot. As always, it’s a good idea to research your indoor and outdoor plants to ensure that you can meet their needs.
The term fertilizer refers to any natural or artificial substance that can be added to soil to promote plant growth. Fertilizers are a great source of nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Like vitamins in large doses can be toxic to humans, fertilizer can damage plants when overused.
Fertilizer tends to work best when used bi-weekly or monthly during the growing season of early spring to late summer. Avoid using this substance for plants that require low light, as their nutrient expenditure isn’t active enough to require supplementation.
Common Plants with Green Leaves and Purple Underside
The most common plants with green leaves on top and a purple underside are the Amazonian Elephant Ear, Oyster Plant, Persian Shield, Calathea Medallion, Purple Velvet, Boat Lily and Wandering Jew.