Striking dark purple foliage can make any tree stand out in a landscape. Certain beautiful trees with purple leaves are natural ornamental wonders, or trees have purple leaves through select cultivation.
The rich, dramatic shades create an eye-catching contrast against green lawns or colorful blooms. A trees with dark purple leaves comes in many forms, from small spring-flowering trees to large shade trees. Varieties of purple-leaf plum, cherry plum, Japanese maple, smoke tree, crabapple, copper beech, and more provide options for gardens of every size.
Deep reddish-purple leaves look stunning paired with pale pink flowering trees like crabapples or set against evergreens. The saturated foliage also pairs well with blue-toned blooms like hydrangeas.
In our guide, you can learn more about planting a small garden tree with purple leaves from the most popular purple leaf varieties. By the end, you’ll better understand more than 9 trees with purple leaves and how a specimen tree in your garden can transform your landscape. (Read Shrubs With Red Leaves All Year)
Types of Purple Leaf Trees
Here, you can explore the various types of trees with purple leaves that turn red or leaves that change to other colors and add beauty and vibrancy to landscapes.
In the following list, each tree produces leaves that turn purple or purple and turn a different color.
Purple Leaf Plum Tree
Prunus cerasifera, sometimes known as the cherry plum or purple-leaved plum tree, is a deciduous tree with leaves that give beauty to any landscape. The vivid purple leaves of this little tree, which stand out against other plants’ green leaves, make it very desirable.
The purple foliage of this tree makes it a standout choice among ornamental trees with purple leaves. In addition to its beautiful appearance, the purple-leaf plum tree also produces purple flowers that are either white or pink, resembling cherry blossoms when they first appear.
The Sand Cherry is a popular choice for homeowners due to its unique coloring and ability to add elegance to any garden. Also known as cherry plum or plum leaf sand cherry, this small deciduous tree is native to North America.
It’s a tree that features stunning purple leaves that distinguish it from other purple-leaf trees and shrubs and small tree with purple leaves. The deep purple foliage of the Sand Cherry stands out beautifully against other plants in the garden.
Vibrant Red Japanese Maple
This particular Japanese maple is known for its striking red foliage. In the spring, the leaves emerge in shades of purple, creating a beautiful contrast against the tree’s dark purple leaves.
As the season progresses, the leaves gradually turn red, adding a splash of color to any garden. The Vibrant Red Japanese Maple is a member of the purple-leaf trees family and is highly sought after for its unique and eye-catching appearance. (Read Japanese Maple Losing Leaves In Summer)
Crimson King Norway Maple Leaf
This beautiful tree is characterized by its deep purple leaves, which exhibit a “royal purple” hue. Unlike other purple-leaf trees, such as beech trees with burgundy leaves, the Crimson King Norway Maple Leaf stands out due to its intense and consistent coloration.
The leaves retain their rich purple shade throughout the growing season, providing a stunning display in any landscape.
Additionally, this maple tree’s leaves turn a vibrant red in the fall, adding another layer of beauty to its overall appearance.
Royal Purple Smoke Tree
The purple smoke tree, also known as Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple,’ is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows as part of the family Anacardiaceae. It’s highly regarded for its ornamental value and is commonly used in landscaping as it adds a touch of drama and elegance.
The leaves of the purple smoke tree are a unique, dramatic purple color that intensifies as the tree matures. The purple smoke tree also pairs beautifully with other purple-leaf ornamental trees and shrubs, such as the purple-leaf plum tree, creating a harmonious and visually striking landscape.
This particular variety of crabapple, Malus ‘Red Silver,’ is known for its beautiful purple foliage.
The heart-shaped leaves add to the charm of this tree, creating a striking visual display. In addition to its stunning purple leaves, the red-silver crabapple produces green foliage, providing a lovely contrast in your garden.
This tree is an excellent option if you’re looking for shade trees with purple leaves. It’s also worth mentioning that some purple-leaf varieties of the red-silver crabapple produce white or pink flowers in the spring, adding even more beauty to this already remarkable tree. (Read Syngonium Leaves Curling)
The Blireiana Plum, scientifically known as Prunus x blireiana, is a hybrid tree resulting from the cross between the Japanese apricot and the purple-leaved plum. It’s renowned for its deep burgundy leaves, which adorn the tree with dark purple foliage.
The purple color of the leaves adds an enchanting touch to any garden or landscape. In addition to its beautiful purple leaves, the Blireiana Plum also produces purple fruits resembling small cherries, known as purple pony cherries.
Copper Beech Tree
A tree that gets rather big is the Copper Beech, also known as Fagus sylvatica purpurea. When they first emerge in the spring, its leaves may be a light pink color before progressively turning a rich purple as they age. These serrated leaves give your landscape design an intriguing texture.
Even though the Copper Beech doesn’t have purple blooms, its foliage alone is striking.
Sambucus nigra ‘Purpurea,’ or the black elderberry, is a stunning tree that lends a touch of sophistication to any landscape. Up to 20 feet tall, this tree develops as a shrub or small tree.
Black elderberry leaves turn a vibrant orange in the fall as the seasons change, striking a striking contrast with its pink blooms.
With its eye-catching foliage and lovely blooms, the black elderberry isn’t only a stunning tree but an excellent specimen for attracting pollinators to your garden.
If you’re looking for a striking purple-leaf tree, consider planting one or two Cherry Plum trees in your garden. The cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’) is a tree that produces beautiful purple leaves that can add a vibrant touch to your landscape.
This is a tree that is native to various regions and known for its glossy dark purple twigs and leaves. The cherry plum is just one of many types of trees with purple leaves, adding color and beauty to any garden.
There are numerous varieties of Japanese maple trees with stunning purple leaves. Due to their vibrant foliage, these trees make a wonderful addition to any garden. The tree’s native habitats in eastern Mongolia, north Korea, southeast Russia, and south Korea are where the tree gets its name.
The Japanese maple is a woody, deciduous shrub to a small tree that produces leaves resembling an open hand with outstretched fingers. The tree features a range of purple leaf colors, from deep burgundy to bright magenta. Japanese maple trees are native to regions with a USDA growing zone of 5 to 9.
Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry
The purple-leaf sand cherry leaves are a unique addition to this popular choice for gardeners looking for a special touch to their landscape.
While the purple-leaf sand cherry offers an eye-catching appeal, it does have a relatively short life span, lasting less than a decade. This tree typically reaches a height of 6 to 10 feet and a width of 5 to 8 feet. It can flourish in various soil types if they’re moist and well-draining.
With its striking appearance and adaptability, the purple-leaf sand cherry is an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. (Read Sunflower Leaves Turning Brown)
Royal Purple Smoketree
When choosing a purple leaf tree for your landscape, consider the royal purple smoketree, as it adds a touch of elegance and beauty to any garden.
The royal purple smoketree, scientifically known as Cotinus coggygria, is a dramatic, loose-spreading shrub and trees that showcases light pink to purple tree foliage during the summer.
Consider planting a tree with purple leaves like the chaste tree in your garden. The chaste tree, also known as Vitex agnus-castus, is a native of China and isn’t only aesthetically pleasing but also possesses medicinal properties.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, this tree is renowned for its ability to treat menstrual cycle-related pain and problems.
The chaste tree undergoes a captivating transformation throughout its blooming season, with its leaves changing color.
Purple Pony Cherry
If you want to add a touch of elegance to your garden, you should consider planting the Purple Pony Cherry tree. This dwarf tree, scientifically known as Prunus cerasifera, is a common sight in Japanese landscapes and will make a statement in your garden.
The Purple Pony Cherry tree is known for its pale pink flowers and burgundy leaves, which remain vibrant throughout the entire season. It thrives in USDA growing zones 5 to 9 and prefers loamy, well-draining soil.
Growing and Caring for Purple Trees and Shrubs
You’ll need to follow a few key steps to successfully grow and care for purple-leaf trees in your garden design.
- First, select a suitable location that provides full to partial sunlight for where the tree grows. Purple trees thrive in well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5.
- Before you place the tree, dig a hole that is twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. This will give the tree enough room to grow roots. Before you put the tree in the hole, carefully take it out of its pot and spread out its roots.
- Backfill the hole with soil, ensuring the tree is planted at the same depth as in the container. Water thoroughly after planting regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
- Apply a layer of mulch around the tree’s base to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Prune the tree in late winter or early spring to remove dead or damaged branches and to shape the tree.
- Fertilize annually with a balanced slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth and vibrant purple foliage. Monitor for pests and diseases and take appropriate measures to control them, if necessary.
In conclusion, the enchanting allure of planting trees and shrubs with purple leaves presents a truly captivating addition to any landscape. Their unique coloration adds aesthetic appeal and offers a sense of tranquility and serenity.
One can create a stunning and vibrant outdoor environment by carefully selecting and cultivating these remarkable trees.
Explore the varied options available and embark on a journey of creating a picturesque landscape that will leave your heart brimming with joy.
FAQs About A Tree With Purple Leaves
Are All Purple Leaf Trees Suitable for All Climates?
Not all purple-leaf trees are suitable for all climates. Factors such as temperature, sunlight, and soil conditions play a crucial role in determining the adaptability of these trees to specific climates.
Can Purple Leaf Trees Be Grown in Containers, or Do They Require a Large Garden Space?
Purple-leaf trees can be grown in containers, making them suitable for small gardens or limited spaces.
Are There Specific Pruning Techniques Unique to Purple Leaf Trees that Gardeners Should Know?
Purple leaf trees need pruning during their dormant season to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth.