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How to Identify Perennial Purple Midwest Flowers

By Julie Christensen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Clematis is  perennnial vine that has large, showy flowers all season.

Purple perennials are a favorite with gardeners because they come in a variety of shades and mix well with other flowers. Purple flowers combine with white, pink, yellow or even orange flowers to create attractive flower beds. When choosing perennials, consider the growing needs of the plants and the conditions in your garden. Choose plants with complimentary foliage and textures, and don't mix too many different plants in one location.

Inspect the foliage and flowers of the perennial and note any unique characteristics. Easily recognized allium is a member of the onion family and has one large ball comprised of many tiny blossoms on the end of a long, slender stem. Vinca is a spreading groundcover with dark, glossy leaves and small purple flowers. It quickly covers an entire flower bed and is grown mostly for its foliage. Another popular groundcover, lamium, has light green, variegated leaves and purple, pink or white flowers. Bellflowers look like tiny bells.

Consider when the plant blooms. Crocus bloom in early spring and resemble small tulips. Iris also bloom only in the spring and form guazy, multi-petaled blossoms on a tall stem.

Inspect the growth pattern. Several purple midwest perennials produce spikes of flowers, including delphinium, salvia and sage. Delphinium grows to a height of 4 feet tall and produces delicate flowers. Salvia grows to 14 inches tall and produces small, bright purple stalks of flowers. Sage has a shrub-like appearance. Does the plant vine? It is probably clematis. Purple coneflowers resemble sunflowers.

Consider the scent of the flower. Lilacs and lavender both have distinct fragrances that identify them.



  • Buy perennials as nursery plants, as they are slow-maturing. Choose disease-resistant varieties and plant them in moist, loamy soil.

About the Author


Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."