It’s Purple Time

My garden is graced with purple:  purple blooms, foliage, and fruits continue with a seasonal tradition of a purple-to-lavender champion performances during the long Central Texas summer. Of course other colors dot the landscape, but plants which rock the purple hue thrive after months of heat, with (typically) little rain, and rule the month of August.  It’s purple time!

Foliage recovery is in full swing for this Branched foldwing, Dicliptera brachiata,            , which appeared unannounced, but welcomed, in my garden a couple of years ago.

Munched stems are recovering their green.

This restrained and unobtrusive little native perennial hosts the Texan Crescent butterfly.

Texan Crescent nectaring in spring on Golden groundsel.

My garden enjoys a nearly year-round population of these pollinators because I grow several of its host plants in the Acanthus family, including the Branched foldwing. The caterpillars do a nibbling number on the foldwing’s leaves, but the plant rebounds with aplomb, leafing out again and again, and setting blooms in late summer.

Dainty and unpretentious, the lavender–not really purple–flowers provide for tiny pollinators.


Drummond’s ruellia, Ruellia drummondiana, is another native Texan that loves the heat and demonstrates that affection with daily doses of purple goodness.

Opening early in the morning and closed by late afternoon, the blooms are loved by many-a-buzzing pollinator.  I’m rather fond of them myself!

I like the foliage, too. An attractive green-gray, it’s full and lush from spring until the first hard freeze–whenever that happens.  I like to mix it with some evergreen plants, so that there’s some winter action while the ruellia plants rest up for summer.

Cast Iron Plant, Iris, and Sparkler Sedge provide some winter green structure alongside the ruellia.


The cultivar, Katie’s Dwarf ruellia, also called Mexican petunia by Texas AgriLife, produces similar blooms as the native ruellias, though larger and more purpley colored. The lance-like foliage structure and ground-cover growth habit allows this plant to front large plants beautifully.  Katie’s Dwarfs also fits well into a narrow garden.

A water-wise wonder,  I’ve had a couple of these tough Katie’s grow out of rocks;  that’s a plant I can get behind!

With a  bouquet-like demeanor, the Katie’s Dwarf bloom spectacularly in shade, in full sun, and everything in between.


Purple-luscious fruits of the American beautyberry,  Callicarpa americana, are nearly ready for the appetites of hungry Mockingbirds and Blue Jays.

Gone are the petite pink blooms which decorate this deciduous shrub in early summer. Instead, the fruits are morphing from green to garish metallic purple, preparing for the birds’ meals.

Beautyberry also has a graceful growing habit, lovely in any garden.

Beautyberry is a win for gardeners and for wildlife–and adds some purple vibe to my August garden.

The refreshing pond isn’t without its purple contribution in the form of a cleansing bog plant, Pickerel rush, Pontederia cordata.

With the ever-increasing shade thrown on my garden, these pretty blooms are less active with each passing summer.  I appreciate the foliage, but I miss the massive blooming show that was common 8-10 years ago when we first built the pond.  These blooms benefit from plenty of shining summer sun.


Another pond plant, this Ruby Red runner, an Alternanthera hybrid, adds a bit of purple-ish foliage fellowship to the waterfall.

I’m probably stretching the purple with this plant; I suppose it’s really more of a burgundy red, but I’ll lump Ruby Red into the purple camp.

Purple HeartSetcreasea pallida, is native to Mexico, but naturalized in many parts of Texas.  I grew up with this common groundcover; my mother planted it along with her banana plants.  No banana plants in my garden, but Purple Heart works in shade or sun as a border groundcover.

As well, I like it cascading over containers.  It brings a spot of color to a dark corner of the garden.

Reds, pinks, whites and yellows are biding their time for now, hunkering down against the blast of August heat.  Once the days are shorter and the rains more regular, the garden wheel of color will burst forward with a vivid spin.  But for the rest of August, I’ll treasure the purples for their late summer donations to garden color.

Pretty purples!

Joining with Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day to celebrate the blooms of August, please pop over to May Dreams Gardens to enjoy blooms from many gardens.

29 thoughts on “It’s Purple Time

  1. Your Drummond’s ruellia is such a pretty plant. I will have to see if it grows in my wetter climate. Is it invasive? I have Katie’s ruellia and spend a lot of time pulling out the volunteers. They moved from their original spot and grow where they want to grow.


    • Yeah, it’s a seedy one. If you’re annoyed at the Katie’s, you won’t like the Drummond’s. I’ve made my peace with the weeding factor. I just don’t have enough sun to grow many plants that I want, so when I find one, especially a native/good wildlife plant, I latch on to it and do what I can. I’ve weeded many up, potted them and donated to some plant swaps, so I’m spreading the joy. Or, maybe the frustration. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The purples make me smile. They’re great complementary companions for the bright oranges and yellows. I can see why the pollinators are attracted to these plants. How interesting that your Beautyberries are forming berries already! Mine still have buds and flowers. 🙂


    • They’re great performers, year-round and you’re right: gorgeous with oranges and yellows. I think the purpling up of the beautyberry is all about latitude line.


  3. Beautiful purples! I love them all!
    I was surprised to see Beautyberry – I must go check on mine first thing in the morning
    Hope you are having a great week!


  4. Hi Tina, i love purple too, but i only have the purplish blue Duranta erecta. It is also favored by butterflies, which we have a lot now. That butterfly you got there is lovely too. Chasing them exhausts my time during weekends.


    • I love the blue Duranta erecta! I also grow one, but it doesn’t get the sun it really needs. You’re right about the time required for butterfly photography.


  5. My beautyberries are also forming berries I noticed the other day. My plant is edible, don’t know about yours, but I munch on the sweet, ripe berries in the fall as I walk past them in the early mornings. It is hard to get up early enough to beat the birds to the berries.
    Everything in your garden is lovely and I love purple too!


    • Yes, the beautyberry is edible, though I haven’t tried a berry. I know also that the leaves can be crushed and rubbed on skin as an insect repellent-again, I haven’t tried that. Birds really do love the berries!


      • I will try using the leaves as an insect repellent; haven’t heard that before. The remnant of hurricane Harvey blew in last night (lower middle Tennessee) and I fear the mosquitoes will be bad now from all the rain. Thanks for the idea.
        Jeannie @


      • I haven’t tried the leaves as insect repellent, but they are a folk remedy, apparently. Hope your rain is not too heavy; I had about 10 inches here in the Austin area and lost about half of an Arizona Ash tree. You’re right about the mosquitoes–I’m waiting, they haven’t quite started yet, but any day now. I like a lemon-eucalyptis spray called Repel; the only downside is that I smell like a walking lemon pie. 🙂


  6. Tina her garden is magnificent and the flowers are all beautiful in purple. The photos are wonderful. I love the Ruellia of Drummond. Katie’s dwarf Ruellia is beautiful as is her flower. Purple Heart is very pretty. Tina would like to tell you something personal: my older brother passed away 24 years ago but is still present in my life and in that of my Parents. Thank you for your condolences. The same condolences I give her for her daughter and her parents. But they remain in our hearts forever. Have a very good week. Greetings from Margarita.


  7. I was here once, saw your Drummond’s ruellia, and became so confused I had to go off and start thumbing through books. It looks so different from the flowers I’ve seen. I tried last year to sort them out, and never managed it to my satisfaction. I know the Katie’s — I can spot that one without a problem. I just did some more looking, and it may be that what I’m seeing out and about is Ruellia nudiflora. More exploration is required — although it’s going to have to wait until the heat breaks a bit.

    I love the beauty berry. I was so surprised to find it everywhere in Arkansas last fall. It looked so pretty mixed with the goldenrod. I agree with you: the purples are a wonderful addition to August. I wonder if the liatris are blooming? I’d better get out and see, heat or not heat!


    • There are close similarities with the various Ruellia species. From my own observations, the one that I grow, R. drummondiana, has larger leaves and gets slightly larger than the others. I collected a few seeds from a public garden that I used to work at–and the rest is purple history!

      Beautyberry is such a wonderful shrub, I wish I had room for more of them. It’s beautiful with goldenrod and anything else that is yellow–or orange or pink, for that matter! I think I saw a blurb in my email from the LBJWC that their liatris is blooming. It’s that time!


  8. All your plants are marvelous to see. I like purple too. I am in love with American Beauty Berry. Years ago in the spring, while on a camping trip with my husband and children, I found a shrub and broke off some hard wood and soft wood cuttings. We were at Sam Raborn lake in East Texas. I now have about 5 beauty berries in my yard. They are so beautiful and attract birds that love to eat berries.


    • Beautyberry is a hit wherever it grows, it seems. I’ve always purchased mine, but you were wise to take the cuttings. Supposedly, they also seed out, but mine haven’t. Maybe the mocks and the blue jays take the seeds elsewhere!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the seeds sprout sometimes and that is why I have a few of the shrubs. I have never intentionally planted any seeds but maybe I’ll give the seeds a try. Might put some directly in the ground and some in a growing medium.


  9. I was pleased to see the id of Drummonds ruellia as the plant I have seen when walking around Lady Bird Lake. I knew it was a ruellia but not like either of the two that I grow. It looks more mannerly than the others.


    • I love this ruellia, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s mannerly–it seeds with abandon and I pull up quite a few seedlings. If you’re interested though, let me know!


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