​Purple- and Pink-Flowered Perennials for Your Viewing Pleasure

(News article for July 30, 2022)

A recent article discussed some yellow-flowered plants that perform reliably in Louisiana landscapes. This week, I’ll focus on a few purple- and pink-flowered perennials. These also attract butterflies and bees.

Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) is a purple-flowered Louisiana native that begins blooming in late spring. Deadheading can help extend its bloom period through late summer. A number of cultivars are available. Honeysong has survived since 2016 at the Hammond Research Station in a well-drained location with some shade. Peachie’s Pick has also proven itself here. Stokes’ aster can reach 1 to 2 feet tall.

I learned about the pink- to purple-flowered Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium spp., formerly Eupatorium spp.) while working with a community garden in Birmingham and was excited to see some thriving here in Louisiana. The native form can grow to 6 feet or taller, but some cultivars are more compact. Little Joe, which reaches about 3 to 4 feet tall, has survived at the Hammond Research Station since 2019. Baby Joe and Euphoria Ruby have also performed well.

Another plant I first learned about elsewhere was beebalm (Monarda sp.), which is in the mint family. I recall seeing this growing in the mountains of North Carolina, an area with a climate that’s a bit different from ours. I was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of beebalm flourishing in Louisiana. There is a nine-year-old planting of Peter’s Purple beebalm at the Hammond Research Station. Peter’s Purple is said to be a hybrid between M. fistulosa, which is native to the southeastern US, and M. bartlettii, native to Mexico. It grows to approximately 3 to 5 feet tall.

Finally, verbenas (Verbena spp. and Glandularia spp.) have been grown in the southeastern US for many years. Some are perennial here, and some are not. The perennial variety Homestead Purple was found at a homestead (surprise!) in Georgia and is one of the most reliable performers in our climate. It was named a Louisiana Super Plant for 2015. It grows to approximately 1 foot tall and 1.5 to 2 feet wide. It should be planted on a well-drained site in full to partial sun. Homestead Purple blooms between late winter and early summer, and again in the fall.

Let me know if you have questions.

Contact Mary Helen Ferguson.

20210601_165401-croppedjpg'Honeysong' Stokes’ aster. (June 2021; photo by M.H. Ferguson)

20210720_095011cropped5jpg'Little Joe' Joe Pye weed. (July 2021; photo by M.H. Ferguson)

20210601_071141-croppedjpg‘Peter’s Purple’ beebalm. (June 2021; photo by M.H. Ferguson)

8/19/2022 3:30:06 PM
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