Purple Flowers for Pantone’s Color of the Year “Ultra Violet”

Bridal bouquet designed by Love 'n Fresh Flowers featuring Ultra Violet.

It’s always amusing to watch what unexpected hue the Color Experts at Pantone will reveal each year to be the leading color for the following fashion season.  It feels a little bit like a cat playing with a mouse sometimes, but it keeps life interesting!  Though why should you even care what Pantone thinks if you’re a flower farmer?

The color they select always has a trickle-down effect on the dress colors and decor choices of weddings the following season, sometimes longer.  And eventually the influence is felt in the flower breeding world too.  A few years back we had Marsala as the Color of the Year, a hue that left many flower growers scratching their heads to come up with anything that really matched.  Here we are a few seasons later and the seed breeders have graced us with beauties like Rudbekia ‘Sahara’, Lisianthus ‘Rosanne Deep Brown’, and Helianthus ‘Strawberry Blonde’.

Sadly color trends usually  move too quickly for flower breeders to keep up though.  Farmer-Florist such as myself need to work with what’s already available.  The 2018 Color of the Year is “Ultra Violet”, an intense, luminescent purple that takes me back to my childhood in the 80s.  At first glance, you would think it’s hard to match this with flowers, but as it turns out, there are already several great flowers out there to grow in this colorway.

Galilee Blue anemones grown at Love 'n Fresh Flowers

So here’s my quick list of flowers to grow for the 2018 season that already fit into this brilliant purple trend.
Pro Tip: a lot of times flowers designated as “blue” in the seed catalogs actually look bright purple in bloom.

Anemones

I particularly like ‘Galilee Blue’, which really reads much more bright violet than blue in bouquets.

Sweet Peas

So many to choose from here, but consider trying ‘Royal Family Blue’

Lisanthus

One of the very first varieties of lisianthus I ever grew was ‘ABC 2-3 Blue’.  I loved that variety for how easy and productive it was, but I kicked it out of the rotation a few seasons back because I just couldn’t work it into our wedding designs that were all muted palettes.  Can’t wait to add it back in!

Monarda

Several bee balms are purple, but my favorite to grow and arrange with is ‘Lambada’.  Truly awesome in mixed market bouquets!

Frosted Queen Bachelor Buttons in purple arrangement by Love 'n Fresh Flowers

Bachelor Buttons

One of my favorite fun and funky flowers, I’m so excited to have a reason to use ‘Frosted Queen Mix’ more often!

Dahlias

Clearly there’s quite a selection here.  But my favorite bright(er) purple dahlia is ‘Jason Matthew’.  A wonderful subtle lavender complimentary dahlia is ‘Jasmine Pearl’, hands down my very favorite dahlia as a designer.

Ageratum

Highly under-appreciated, this little filler is going to enjoy a renewed interest with this bright purple trend.  Most of the cultivars read a bit blue, but it’s ‘Red Flint’ that I think will fit the bill perfectly.

Larkspur

If your ground is still workable here in December or if you’ve got a little tunnel space to spare, get some seed for ‘QIS Dark Blue’ and get sowing!

Lupine

This one doesn’t grow well for us here in Philadelphia, but it’s worth mentioning.  When picking a variety, look for ones that are “blue”.

Love 'n Fresh Flowers30

Allium

Lots of purple in the Allium genus and ‘Purple Sensation’ has long been a staple for cutting.

Iris

Bearded iris have been all the rage the past few years in Old World painting inspired floral designs.  But I’m thinking there might be room to return to an old staple in the floral industry…the common Dutch iris.  ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Blue Star’ are two varieties that practically glow purple.

Callicarpa

Ah, Beauty Berry!  I finally have a reason to use you in abundance!  Lots of texture, color and movement in these delicate stems loaded with bright purple berries!

Zinnia

We like Benary’s Giant series at our farm and the ‘Purple’ in that series is nice and bright!

Salvia

Lots to choose from here again, but if you can get a hold of it, plant some Salvia leucantha (purple Mexican sage bush).  It won’t be ready to cut until the fall, but that’s the perfect time to blend this bright purple into all the other jewel tones of autumn.

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There are several other varieties of purple flowers in more muted shades as well that mix beautifully with the brightly colored ones listed above.  We’ve also grow Dacus, Tulips, Ranunculus, Nigella, Hellebores, Baptisia, Delphinium, Colombines, Fritillaria…the list goes on and on.  Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments.

Embrace the purple, Flower People!  And look forward to the return of some rich, deep color in floral design!

(Eventually.)

8 Responses to “Purple Flowers for Pantone’s Color of the Year “Ultra Violet””

  1. Natalie Beverage

    Fun suggestions Jenny! Love this. Us flower nerds can never get enough flowers.

    Reply
    • Jennie Love

      Thanks, Natalie! Yeah, never enough flowers and never enough color! It’s fun to have a bright color for a change to try to work into the mix. I’m personally quite tired of white, blush, and nude tones. :-)

      Reply
    • Jennie Love

      Hi Jim! Thanks for the comment! I’m not a big lily grower myself so don’t have much experience to back up my opinion. :-) Generally, I think the “purple” lilies will read a bit too pink in arrangements to be considered purple by designers. BUT, they are a really nice complimentary color for a designer who is looking for something to go along with purple. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. Helen Skiba

    Awesome Jennie! Love all your suggestions. Do you grow the dahlia “Diva”? She’s so lovely and such a deep purple! Can’t wait to see my Frosted Queen bachy buttons in the spring :)

    Reply
    • Jennie Love

      Thanks, Helen! I grew Diva a few seasons back and forgot all about her (in 2015 I dumped my entire collection of dahlias and started over with a strict 10 variety limit as I was driving myself nuts with over 40 varieties to keep track of when harvesting and dividing — Diva is one of the ones that got nixed but only because I had to make some tough choices)! Great suggestion!

      Reply

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