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Purple Leaf Shrubs for the Landscape

Add a bit of season long color to your landscape with shrub foliage.

The purpleleaf sandcherry (Prunus cistena) has long been a favorite of gardeners. The leaves hold their purple color all season, but pest problems can shorten its life. Regular pruning will keep it healthy and looking good.

But now there are many more possibilities.

The purple leaf ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo') hold their color all season. These hardy drought tolerant plants also provide flowers in late spring and shreddy bark for winter interest.

The burgundy stands out against the backdrop of blue-green needles of the Colorado blue spruce. The summer blooming blue catmint (Nepeta 'Walkers Low') echoes the blue of the spruce and complements the ninebark foliage.

Purple smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) leaves are topped with smoky pink panicles in summer and turn orange-red in fall.

The Japanese maple's (Acer palmatum) form and foliage are welcome accents in this shady garden.

A bit more information: Use the artist color wheel to find partners for purple leafed plants. Orange and yellow are complementary colors (appear opposite purple on the color wheel) that contrast with purple, creating a focal point. Pinks, rose and other analogous colors appear next to each other on the color wheel and blend in the garden.

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