Purple Foliage

Andorra junipers (foreground) and purple wintercreeper euonymous both turn maroon in the Sperry landscape in winter.

Most of our plants are some shade of green.  A few, however, become purple jewels in the winter landscape.  In our little part of North Texas it’s still been fairly cold the past few days, so I still see the winter look in our gardens.  And, most noticeable are those plants whose leaves turn purple-red in the winter.

Purple wintercreeper euonymous is one of the best.  Its deep green leaves and stems take on a decided Aggie shade come the first cold days of early winter. They hold that color until new buds begin to pop in early spring.  It makes a handsome groundcover to 8 inches tall.  You’ll have to trim it once or twice each year to keep it that short, but it will be worth it.

Andorra junipers are trailing forms of this big group of evergreens. The thing that sets them apart is that they shade toward purple when really cold weather rolls in. They hold that color all the way through the winter.  Several other junipers, most of them blue-needled types, make a similar turn.

Nandinas turn from green to all shades of maroon-red in the winter. Shown on the prior page is foliage of compact nandina (the second tallest variety we have now).  In the summer, it’s rich, dark green, but in the winter, it’s a purple shade of crimson.

There are still other plants that develop more of the red pigment in winter.  Cleyeras do, as do Oregon grape mahonias and even Asian jasmine.  Get a little variety into your landscape – use a few of these winter performers.

Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top