When it comes to landscaping, trees with purple flowers are an attractive way to add color and richness to your garden for a stunning look. Purple can be a regal, elegant and majestic choice that will bring a soothing and beautiful feel to your space. But you may be wondering what trees you should go for when planning this addition.
From small to large, these gorgeous flowering trees feature fragrant purple blooms that will complement the green foliage and brighten up your yard.
The trick is finding the perfect size, shade and height to suit your landscape. A small tree with spectacular light purple-pink flowers can offer a vibrant and unique flair. In your front yard, a tall tree with dark blossoms can make a bold statement that will elevate your curb appeal.
Check out these beautiful trees with purple flowers to inspire your garden and take your outdoor space to the next level.
Stunning Purple Flowering Trees
Jacaranda Tree (Jacaranda Mimosifolia)
The jacaranda is a stunning tropical tree identifiable by its arched branches, fernlike leaves, and masses of fragrant purple blossoms. With their sprawling canopies and fast rate of growth, jacarandas are prized as shade trees. Because they can gain as many as ten feet in height per year in the first years after they’re planted, jacarandas will have an almost immediately transformative effect on your landscaping.
Once they reach maturity, jacarandas are also highly-desirable for their ornamental qualities. The purplish-blue flowers that cover the jacaranda from late spring to early summer are arranged in large, loose branching clusters called panicles.
These showy bundles of blossoms are lush and voluminous in appearance, making jacaranda trees look like they’re exploding into color like a fireworks display.
Originally native to South America, jacaranda trees thrive in tropical climates. These towering trees do best in sandy, well-drained soil, and need full sun to maximize the brilliance of their blooms.
Desert Willow (Chilopsis Linearis ‘Burgundy’)
The desert willow is a large bush or small tree that can be recognized by its twisting trunk, slender twigs, and spreading canopy. With its elongated branches, feathery leaves, and weeping profile, the desert willow bears a strong resemblance to a willow tree but is actually a member of the catalpa family.
From May to September, desert willows are brimming with fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in varying shades of purple. The Burgundy variety of desert willow is particularly notable for its deeply-hued purplish-pink flowers.
As its name implies, the desert willow is best-suited for arid desert-like climates. This low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plant can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions and flourishes when planted in full sun. Because it needs little to no water, the desert willow is a great addition to a xeriscaped garden.
Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia Speciosa)
Primarily known for their vivid and long-lasting flowers, crape myrtles are a landscaping staple in the southern United States. These versatile plants can be classified as shrubs or trees, and categorized as deciduous or evergreen depending on their environment.
However you describe them, crape myrtles are undeniably good-looking thanks to the dense clusters of tiny purple, pink, or red flowers that pop out against the dark green foliage.
Also known as crepe myrtles, crape myrtles get their name from the crinkled crepe paper-like texture of the flowers. Most commonly found in warmer climates around the world, crape myrtles prosper in well-drained medium moisture soil under full sun. The purple flowering cultivar known as the indica crape myrtle grows especially well in hot and humid climates.
Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-castus)
The chaste tree is a deciduous shrub that bristles with upright spikes of pink, white, and pale purple flowers from late spring to early fall. Its fragrant flowers and sage-scented leaves make this plant particularly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
The chaste tree is strikingly visually-similar to the lilac bush. In fact, people in the southern United States often plant chaste trees in place of lilacs as the former can better tolerate hot summer weather.
There are many alternative monikers for the chaste tree, including Abraham’s balm, chasteberry, lilac chastetree, and monk’s pepper. This easy-to-grow plant enjoys full sun and loose, well-drained soil, and requires little maintenance beyond pruning once it has been established.
Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora Secundiflora)
The Texas mountain laurel is a flowering plant that can be pruned for a small shrub-like appearance or cultivated as a compact, multi-trunked tree. This evergreen plant is covered in glossy, dark green leaves and heavy bunches of purple flowers that give off a distinctive aroma similar to grape soda.
This strong, sweet fragrance is appealing to a variety of pollinators including bees and butterflies. While slow-growing Texas mountain laurels can reach thirty feet in height, they generally top out between ten and fifteen feet high.
Native to the southwestern United States, the Texas mountain laurel is a hardy plant that thrives in dry, rocky soil, full sun, and unrelenting summer heat. This low-maintenance, low-water tree is ideal for a xeriscaped yard or garden.
Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus Cerasifera)
While some trees attract attention with showy purple flowers, the purple leaf plum is a real standout courtesy of its vibrant, deep purple leaves. In the springtime, those dark, saturated leaves give way to a profusion of delicate pale pinkish-purple flowers that are reminiscent of sakura blossoms.
Because the purple leaf plum is primarily cultivated as an ornamental plant, the sour fruit it produces is largely considered inedible to humans. If you want to attract beautiful wildlife, it does serve as an excellent food source for birds and small mammals.
While purple leaf plum trees can grow in the shade, their colors are likely to lose their unique hue. Placing this plant in an area where it will get at least six hours of full, direct sunlight per day will ensure you’re getting the richest color. Enhance its hue even more by planting it in well-drained, acidic soil.
Purple Dogwood (Cornus Florida ‘Purple Glory’)
While many trees get their ornamental qualities from their flowers, dogwoods are often planted because of their unusual, scaly bark structure and their ostentatious bracts. The small blossoms on the flowering dogwood are actually quite plain and unassuming. It’s the flower-like bracts that give the tree its special silhouette.
Most varieties of dogwood trees feature green foliage and white bracts, but there are some more colorful cultivars. The Purple Glory variety is especially showy because of its red bracts and purple foliage.
Though the flowering dogwood can survive in full sun, it will require plenty of water to stay alive. These trees are much happier in well-drained, acidic soil in partial shade. For best results, supplement the soil with organic fertilizer and place mulch around your flowering dogwood to help retain moisture.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’ and ‘Covey’ Lavender Twist)
Available as a large shrub or a small tree, the eastern redbud is a deciduous plant with a short, twisted trunk and vast, spreading branches. A member of the legume family, the eastern redbud bears clumps of pea-like flowers in an array of colorful hues. Eastern redbud trees are often supported by multiple trunks which are wrapped in scaly reddish-brown bark scored with deep fissures.
Relatively easy to grow, the eastern redbud does equally well in acidic or basic soils as long as they’re well-drained and can flourish both in full sun and partial shade. There are many varieties of eastern redbud, but the Ruby Falls cultivar is especially showstopping thanks to its burgundy heart-shaped leaves and vibrant reddish-purple flowers.
The Covey (or Lavender Twist) variety is another knockout, especially in the springtime when its otherwise bare branches are covered in ruddy lavender-pink flowers.
Common Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris)
Known for its pale purple panicles and sweet-smelling aroma, the common lilac is an upright deciduous shrub that’s beloved for its ornamental qualities. The clusters of fragrant flowers on the lilac plant are so iconic in color, there is a specific shade of purple named for them. The heart-shaped leaves on the common lilac bush are just as pretty, in shades ranging from gray-green to blue-green.
As long as they’re planted in the right climate, lilac bushes are fairly low-maintenance once established. These pretty plants don’t do well with heat or humidity, but they will run riot in locales with fairly cool summers. Lilac bushes need full sun and prefer rich, loamy soil with ample drainage.
Hibiscus Tree (Hibiscus Syriacus)
Hibiscus trees are annual or perennial herbaceous plants that are easily identifiable by their signature trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a plethora of colors. People who prefer purple should look for the lavender chiffon variety which has a pale lilac color, or the oiseau bleu cultivar which is notable for its bluish-violet petals with a maroon center.
With their bright green flat leaves and large flashy flowers, hibiscus plants have an exotic, tropical flair that adds to their popularity as an ornamental.
Also known as the rose of Sharon, hibiscus are hardy plants that love full or filtered sun. Hibiscus do exceptionally well in moist, loamy soil that would be too wet for many other plants. Though some varieties of hibiscus can tolerate alkaline soil, slightly acidic soil will enhance the colors of the flowers.
Korean Lilac (Syringa Pubescens)
The Korean lilac is a flowering deciduous shrub studded with panicles of white-throated flowers tipped with hues spanning from lavender to ice blue. Though the Korean lilac belongs to the same genus as the common lilac, it possesses characteristics that set it apart from its relative.
Korean lilacs are slow-growing and compact and require less pruning than the common lilac. They are also more resistant to the powdery mildew that plagues other varieties of lilac. Korean lilacs can prosper in a wider range of climates than common lilacs because they are both cold and heat-tolerant.
Also known as Manchurian lilac and Miss Kim lilac, Korean lilac grows best in fertile, well-drained soil that is moist but not overly wet. Though Korean lilacs can tolerate partial shade, they’ll produce larger quantities of flowers in full sun.
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x Soulangeana ‘Royal Purple’)
The saucer magnolia is a deciduous plant that gets its name from the wide, saucer-shaped flowers that bloom between February and April each year. In many varieties of saucer magnolia, the massive flowers appear in various shades of pink but the Royal Purple cultivar boasts white and purple blooms.
This plant typically grows as a large shrub with multiple stems, but with some pruning, a saucer magnolia can be trained into the form of a small tree with a central trunk.
Saucer magnolias need moisture but, as they are prone to root rot, they should be placed in rich, well-draining soil with some acidity. While saucer magnolias can tolerate partial shade, they’ll do best when planted in full sun.
Lily Magnolia (Magnolia Liliiflora)
One of the smaller varieties of magnolia, the lily magnolia is a compact, rounded plant that erupts with pinkish-purple lily-shaped flowers in April and early May before sprouting elliptical dark green leaves. In its deciduous shrub form, the lily magnolia is a popular ornamental hedge. It can also be cultivated into a small tree.
The lily magnolia goes by many other names including Mulan magnolia, purple magnolia, tulip magnolia, and woody-orchid. Because of its popularity in Japan, this small tree is also sometimes called a Japanese magnolia but it is originally native to southwestern China.
Lily magnolias are somewhat finicky when it comes to soil conditions. These delicate plants require rich, acidic soil that is moist yet well-drained. You should use additives like compost or peat moss to enrich the soil with more nutrients. Though they can grow in partial shade, lily magnolias need full sun to bloom at full capacity.
Purple Orchid Tree (Bauhinia Purpurea)
The purple orchid tree is a small to medium-sized flowering semi-evergreen tree that is identifiable by its large, fragrant five-petaled flowers. Interestingly, this long-blooming tree doesn’t belong to the Orchidaceae family like most other plants with the orchid moniker. Instead, it’s part of the Fabaceae (or legume) family.
Originally native to India and Myanmar, the purple orchid tree is also known as the butterfly tree, camel’s foot, and purple bauhinia. It is also sometimes called the Hawaiian orchid tree because of its prevalence in that state.
Though this tropical tree is valued for its ornamental properties, its low-maintenance lifestyle adds to its appeal. Purple orchid trees require only occasional watering and can survive in conditions ranging from full sun to partial shade.
Purple Robe Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’)
Robinia pseudoacacia is a medium-sized deciduous tree characterized by zig-zagging branches, stunning blue-green compound leaves, and pendant racemes of pea-like flowers that strongly resemble wisteria blooms. On most varieties of Robinia pseudoacacia, these fragrant flower clusters are creamy white in color. The Purple Robe cultivar is notable for its vivid violet blossoms.
Hardy and drought-tolerant, Robinia pseudoacacia is known for being easy to grow. This sturdy tree can persevere in a wide range of soil conditions, including dry and clay soils with low nutrients. Though it tolerates light shade, the purple robe locust does best in full sun.
Purple Wisteria Tree (Wisteria Sinensis)
With its lush, drooping clusters of violet-blue pea-like flowers, wisteria sinensis may be one of the most iconic examples of plants with purple flowers. Wisteria is a deciduous vine that, in addition to its masses of aromatic flowers, is noted for its twisting stems.
This twining climber is most often found clinging to other plants or man-made structures like trellises and pergolas, but it can also be cultivated into a freestanding tree of its own through training and pruning.
Also known as Chinese wisteria, this vine originated in China before being introduced to the United States in the 1800s as an ornamental plant. This aggressively growing, drought-tolerant plant is extremely hardy, but that can be something of a double-edged sword. When not properly cared for, wisteria can quickly take over other plants, crushing them under its weight.
Royal Empress Tree (Paulownia Tomentosa)
The royal empress tree is a deciduous hardwood tree that can be spotted by its substantial and sweetly-scented lavender flowers and unusual foliage. Royal empress trees feature both heart-shaped leaves and five-lobed leaves that are positioned in opposite pairs along the tree’s stems, making them just as distinctive as the foxglove-shaped flowers. This fast-growing tree can gain fifteen feet in height per year, making it incredibly popular for use as a shade tree.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the royal empress tree, which is also known by the names empress tree, foxglove tree, and princess tree. This hardy tree is tolerant of pollution and drought, and can grow in many types of soil. Once it’s been planted, it is a lifetime commitment as it is virtually impossible to remove.
Royal Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus Coggygria ‘Royal Purple’)
Though smoke trees are dotted with tiny flowers, they get their one-of-a-kind look from throngs of wispy, feathery seed clusters that look like colorful clouds of smoke. Smoke trees can feature colors like peach, scarlet, and yellow each autumn, but the Royal Purple cultivar is particularly remarkable with its pinkish-purple seed clusters set against oval, waxy leaves in a deeper reddish-purple hue.
This multiple-branching deciduous shrub goes by a multitude of other names, including the European smoketree, smoke bush, and dyer’s sumach. Often used as an ornamental border plant, the Royal Purple smoke tree can thrive in a wide array of soils, including rocky and infertile loams. Plant them in full sun for the best results.
Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba Speciosa)
Multiple factors combine to give silk floss trees their unique looks, from their frilly star-shaped flowers to the stout spiky thorns that adorn their trunks. These deciduous trees are native to the tropical and subtropical jungles of South America which adds to their exotic ornamental appeal.
The thorns on the trunks of silk floss trees serve several practical purposes. They serve both as a defense against monkeys and other animals that might damage their thin bark in their native Amazonian habitat, and can also function as a drip irrigation system during dry seasons.
In the United States, you’ll mostly find silk floss trees in areas like Florida, Hawaii and Southern California, where the conditions are closest to where they originated. These fast-growing trees need well-drained soil, full sun, and ample room for their sprawling root systems and spreading canopies.