10 Purple, Blue and Pink Perennials for Part Shade

10 purple and blue perennials for part shade
10 purple and blue perennials for part shade

Last fall, I planted purple and black bulbs around my deck, so I was looking for perennials in mauve, purple, and blue that will both complement the blooms and hide the foliage when they flowers are spent.

As you know from my previous post on shade perennials for spring bulbs, the west side of my deck is in total shade, but the east side gets some sun (about 4 hours a day).

This list is some of my favorite purple and blue spring perennials for part shade…keep reading to find out what they are.

Dwarf Purple Rhododendron

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By Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Zones: 5 to 8
Bloom Time: Spring

This small bush (Rhododendron impeditum) with its dark green glossy aromatic evergreen foliage and its intense blue/purple blossoms will shine in the spring border.

Plant it in dappled light with acid soil and see how the spring bulbs bounce off its color! You can buy it HERE*.


Clematis 'H.F. Young'

Clematis ‘H.F. Young’

Zones: 4 to 9
Bloom Time: Spring through fall (depending on the variety)

Clematis is a great companion plant for spring bulbs. Spring varieties produce a great show of flowers right around the time that the tulips are blooming

Clematis ‘H.F. Young’ is a purple clematis with large 7″ blooms in late spring and early summer. I plan to place it so that it will grow up the east fence.  You can find it HERE.

Clematis ‘New Love’*

If you want a Clematis with blue flowers that blooms from spring through summer and has a beautiful fragrance, try ‘New Love’.  It grows to 36″ high and 20″ wide which makes it more of a border filler plant than a vine…which is perfect for your bulb garden!

Clematis like cool roots so cover them with a generous layer of mulch after planting.  Click HERE if you want more information on growing and pruning Clematis.

Alpine Columbine

Columbine and Iris
Columbine and Iris

Zones: 4 to 8

Bloom Time: Spring

The Alpine Columbine (Aquilegia alpina) has blue nodding flowers above gray foliage that bloom in late spring and bring a cottage feel to the border.

They look best in groups of 3 or 5.

When they self-seed, I leave them be to allow a less contrived feel.  Because they are easy to grow from seed, you can save yourself some money by growing them yourself (you can find seeds HERE*).

You may also want to try ‘winky double blue and white columbine’ for its small double blue blossoms.

Cranesbill ‘Rozanne’

Cranesbill ‘Rozanne’

Zones: 4 to 10

Bloom Time: Summer to fall

Cranesbill ‘Rozanne’ is a perennial geranium that was selected perennial of the year in 2008.

It blooms all season from June to frost and requires no attention. Its cut leaf foliage will camouflage the tulip leaves as they store energy for next year. You can buy it HERE.*

‘Royal Candles’ Dwarf Spike Speedwell

Dwarf Spike Speedwell ‘Royal Candles’*

Zones: 2 to 9

Bloom Time: Summer

Dwarf Spike Speedwell (Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’) creates a clump of royal blue spikes atop green foliage. The blooms appear in June, last for several weeks and will re-bloom if sheared by half.

The spikes add a new dimension to the border, and although veronica blooms after the tulips are finished, it continues the feel of spring.  You can find these HERE*.

‘Camelot Lavender’ Foxglove

‘Camelot Lavender’ Foxglove*

Zones: 4 to 9

Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer

‘Camelot Lavender’ Foxglove (Digitalis ‘Camelot Lavender’) is a beautiful tall sturdy plant topped by spiked lavender blooms that will look great with the alliums at the back of the border.

They need a part shade location and may require staking to prevent them from falling over. Bloom time is Spring/summer.

You can find these plants HERE*.

‘Victoria’ Blue Salvia

Salvia ‘Victoria’*

Zones: Annual

Bloom Time: Summer to fall

Salvia is one of my favorite blue plants. It is an annual, except in the extreme south. It has the most vibrant deep blue spikes that bloom all summer until frost. I plant it in every available vacant spot in my part-sun garden and I will for sure put it into my new border to help create the cottage feel.

You can buy the plants in the spring, or save yourself some money and plant them from seed (which you can find HERE*).

Lily of the Valley Shrub

Pieris japonica 'Katsura'

Pieris Japonica ‘Katsura’*

Zones: 5 to 8

Bloom Time: Spring

The Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica) is a small evergreen bush with clusters of flowers in the late winter or early spring. I love this pink variety called ‘Katsura’ (which you can find HERE*). What a pretty site they will make surrounded by white and purple/black tulips!

In the fall, the leaves turn red so there is all season interest here.

Pieris "Forest Flame"
Pieris “Forest Flame”

You can also find them with white flowers if that’s what you prefer.  (Find them HERE*)

Find out more information about growing Japanese Pieris HERE.

‘My Monet’ Weigela

'My Monet' Weigela
‘My Monet’ Weigela

Zones: 4 to 8

Bloom Time: Spring to Summer

I love this little bush and plan to site it so that the tulips will grow up through it. In this picture, you can see it growing in another part of my yard and doing a good job of covering up the allium leaves.

Mauve- pink flowers amid variegated foliage on a compact deciduous bush that does not need pruning is my idea of a worthy plant.

In my experience, they do best in part shade. They bloom in Spring with some repeat blossom thereafter.

You can buy it HERE*.

Lavender Astilbe

Lavender Astilbe

Lavender Astilbe*

Zones: 3 to 9

Bloom Time: Summer

Lavender Astilbe is another one of my favorites that gives an ethereal feel to the border. It blooms with feathery lavender spikes above the fern-like dark green foliage in early summer. The tulip blossoms may be done, but it will echo the alliums in color and contrast with their round form and greater height.

Although all garden sites say this plant will grow in the shade, I have much better luck with it in part sun.

Astilbe ‘Purple Lance’ starts out pinkish red and changes to purple as it gets older.  Very pretty!

You can buy these plants HERE*.


Hint: Remember that your design will have a bigger impact if you plant your selected plants in multiples of three. When you have finished planting, water everything well and add 3-4 inches of mulch to retain moisture and replenish nutrients.

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