Purple-foliaged groundcover for perennial bed

girlndocs(8 WA)May 28, 2008

Hi all,

I'm filling a bed with some lime-green foliage accents and I thought some purplish groundcovers would be just the thing.

Some of the bed is in full sun and some of it is in part shade; the soil is good and kept fairly moist but not soggy. I have a rose, salvias, geranium, salix purpurea (in the wettest section, by the downspout), and hosta.

I like finer-textured groundcovers, in most cases, that grow around other plants and form a "carpet" without competing. The only two purple species that spring to mind are New Zealand Brass Buttons (have that, what a cool plant) and ajuga (can anyone recommend the purplest ajugas?). Any other ideas?



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Lamium has a purpurea variety that has purple leaves, but it is finicky compared to ajuga. I have included a website that details how to propagate perennials to expand your garden bed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:55AM
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Lamium purpurea is a common weed and an annual to boot, so don't plant that! And only the newest growth is tinged purple, otherwise it is green. A couple of the darkest leafed ajugas are 'Mahogany' or 'Chocolate Chip' but you might be able to determine from the cultivar name that they're more of a deep bronze color rather than a true purple or burgundy.

Look for Viola labradorica for a good purple leaf for shade, but this is a bit of thug and will reseed rampantly. Or in the sunniest areas, Acaena inermis 'Purpurea' or purple bidibidi would look great against chartreuse - it is a plummy gray color.

Personally, I think the Cotula squallida 'Platt's Black' (NZ brass buttons) is a great groundcover - looks stunning against chartreuse and will take sun or shade....but it's not really purple :-))

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 9:52PM
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I just though of another possibility that would look gorgeous with chartreuse foliage! Trifolium 'Dark Dancer' is a well-behaved, ornamental groundcover clover with dark burgundy foliage edged in lime green! I've grown a patch in my shade garden for years and the spread is modest but ongoing. Mostly evergreen in our climate as well.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:13PM
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girlndocs(8 WA)

Gack! "Lamium purpurea" AKA Creeping Charlie? Uh, no. I have an alley full of that stuff already.

I completely forgot about Labrador violet. It's kind of a thug but it can't be any worse than V. odorata, can it? I might have a spot for it, if it doesn't crowd other things out, and I would think that it's small enough and my other stuff is big enough for it not to do that.

Pretty trifolium. Like the Acaena too.

Gardengal, I'm blowing you a raspberry. Pthhhhhhbbbtttttt! New Zealand Brass Buttons look purple to me. I always think they look like some cute-but-vaguely-disturbing alien species, tho.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:23AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Acaena inermis 'Purpurea' has very delicate purple leaves and spreads well. Mine is in sun to part shade.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 4:36AM
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