A purple leaf tree not only looks stunning with contrasting green foliage and also adds a splash of color to a regular garden. Nature offers these royal-looking trees in many forms for us.

Purple leaf tree of tropical garden.They vary in size, foliage type, growing zones, and care requirements. In the following guide we will list the best purple foliage trees for you.

List of The Best Purple Leaf Tree

Here is a list of the best and the most popular purple leaf trees that you can select for your garden:

– Japanese Maple

1. Japanese MapleThe maple tree is best for zones four to eight. They grow to a height of 15 to 25 feet in optimal conditions. Some of these maples are dwarfs too. Plant them in well-draining soil and allow them to get full or partial sun for best growth. 

Other Maple varieties that have stunning purple leaves are burgundy lace, Atropurpureum, Garnet, Sherwood flame, Tamukeyama, and lastly, ever red.

– Purple Leaf Plum Tree

2. Purple Leaf Plum TreePurple-leaf plum trees are fabulous as they offer two benefits to gardeners. Firstly, they have unique purple foliage, and secondly, they produce an edible fruit, which makes it a star.

You can use the plum fruit in cooking or eating raw. The tree remains short, will not cross over 25 feet, and grows a nice round crown of foliage on top. In addition to the fruits and foliage, the tree grows pink flowers in spring.

Plant the purple leaf plum trees in USDA hardiness zones five to nine for best results. The few varieties to choose from are the Pissardii purple leaf plum, Newport plum tree, Mt St Helens, Pendula purple leaf plum, and lastly the Thundercloud.

– Redbud Forest Pansy

3. Redbud Forest PansyThe Redbud forest pansy tree loves to grow in well-drained soil that has the ability to be moist. Plant them in partial shade or full sun in zones five to nine. These trees adapt well to varying pH levels of the soil and will perform well in both alkaline and acid soil.

Make sure the tree gets good air circulation to keep fungal infections away. The tree grows up to 30 feet high, and the purple foliage looks stunning.

Ruby Falls or Cercis canadensis is a type of redbud tree that is the smallest in size and remains as big as 6 feet while it spreads to 4 feet only. The branches drape beautifully towards the ground and create an interesting look.

– Black Lace Elderberry

4. Black Lace ElderberryBlack lace elderberry is a highlight of any garden. It gives a look of Japanese maple from a distance. The foliage is eye-catching, and the purple color steals the show. The plant is highly adaptable and lasts a long time.

Black lace elderberries also produce a pink flower in summer, which creates a beautiful contrast with the dark foliage. Plant these beauties in your garden for their flowers and foliage. It is best suited for zones 5a to 7b.

– Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry

5. Purple-Leaf Sand CherryPurple leaf sand cherry is a lovely flowering plant that is very hardy. It adds beauty to any landscape with its reddish-purple foliage. The Cherry sand tree stands out between the green plants during summers and looks perfect close to the pavements too.

Gardeners use them as deciduous hedges. The most exciting part is the fruits that can be eaten. Make jams, jellies, and pies from these cherries. This fabulous plant grows in zones 3 to 7 and reaches the height of 10 feet.

– Crimson King Maple

6. Crimson King MapleCrimson King Norway maple is popular for its purple-green foliage. The foliage turns maroon or bronze in winters and looks super attractive. It grows to about 45 feet high and spreads to a 30 feet area.

The King maple is a dense shady tree that has a shallow rooting system. If you plant grass around it, mowing can become difficult. It grows best in hardiness zones 3b to seven.

In many parts of the world, Norway’s crimson maple tree is a famous bonsai plant. Grow them as fully grown trees in your garden, or plant them as bonsai. The tree will look equally beautiful as a miniature plant or as a fully grown tree in the garden.

– Purple-leaf Acacia

The Purple Acacia is also known as Acacia baileyana or Purpure. This stunner grows fast as a small evergreen tree and typically grows up to 20 feet. The wide-spreading purple canopy reaches about 20 to 40 feet as the weeping branches show off its shiny gray-blue, fuzzy foliage.

The purple-tinged leaves paired with sweet-scented bright yellow or golden flowers look super attractive. Blooms appear in clusters during late winter and continue to grow till early spring.

It would be ideal for planting these in full sun or partial shade. When they get mature, they can tolerate frost and drought equally. The tree will thrive for 30 years or more, but while it stays, it will continue to be a highlight of your garden. It has a moderate growth rate.

The best place to grow this tree is on the patio, on plant slops, or by the road. It is important to note that this tree has been called invasive in Mediperfectlyan regions and some parf California.

– Purple Smoke Tree

Purple smoke tree, Smoke bush, Royal purple smoke bush, Eurasian smoke tree, Venice or dyer’s sumach are the names of the beautiful shrub. It grows into a small tree that looks like a shrub and is loved by gardeners for its purple-pink misty foliage.

The Royal purple smoke bush grows upright through multiple stems. The waxy, purple leaves are ovate and grow up to three inches long. The foliage turns even more dramatic when it starts turning shades in winter.

It is called the smoke bush because of the hairy, fuzzy appearance of the flower clusters. The flowers also change colors from misty pink to darker shades of purple. The smoke bush grows at a medium pace and is toxic for animals and humans.

– Purple Leaf European Beech

7. Purple Leaf European BeechThis tall and firm tree grows upright when it is young and becomes rounded as it matures. It has rich, lustrous purple foliage that turns copper as the temperatures drop. The bark of this tree is smooth and remains this way even when it matures.

Plant Purple European beech trees eight feet apart on streets and 50 feet away from the house. The tree spreads to 40 feet if allowed to mature, while it reaches an incredible height of 50 feet.

If you have that sort of space to allow it to mature over the years, then you will enjoy the beauty of this royal-looking tree to the fullest. It prefers moist soil that drains well and will love full sun. The fruits called beechnuts are a favorite of the wildlife.

– Crabapples

8. Crabapples treeCrabapple trees are the most beautiful trees for a garden. They continue to add colors to the garden throughout the year with their evolving foliage, fruits, and flowers. The fruits are sometimes edible for humans and at other times for wildlife.

Many types of crabapple trees grow to different heights ranging from 11 to 26 feet tall. Follow the same care practices for all of these varieties. They grow best in full sun and prefer growing zones 4 to 8. Crabapples trees like well-draining soil and will like it to be rich in organic matter.

Some of these crabapples come with purple foliage. Some varieties that grow purple leaves are the Radiance, Profusion, Royalty, Thunderchild, Purple prince, and the Red Baron.

The flower colors vary from white to pale pink. With all these beautiful features, Crabapples make a perfect garden plant that not only adds a splash of purple color but also offers fruit and a display of flowers.

– Purple Ninebark

9. Purple NinebarkThe Purple ninebark grows like a shrub; its highlights are its pink and white flowers. Grow them in zone 2 to 7 and offer the best position on your property for optimal growth. They like to be in partial shade and grow as big as eight feet high. 

Here are some varieties of this leaf tree the center glow, the Coppertone, and the Diablo.

Purple Leaf Tree

Comparison Table

Purple Plants Best Features
1. Japanese Maple foliage, medium height
2. Purple leaf plum Fruits, foliage
3. Redbud forest pansy Adapts to all kinds of soil, small height
4. Blacklace elderberry Adaptable, lives long
5. Purple sand cherry Small, flowering tree
6. Crimson king maple Changing color of the foliage
7. Purple leaf Acacia Fast grower, attractive leaves, large canopy
8. Purple smoke tree Dramatic foliage and flowers
9. Purple European beech Tall tree with large canopy, fruits, changing colors of the foliage
10. Crabapple Fruits, contrasting flowers
11. Purple ninebark Interesting flowers, shrub like appearance


Nature offers a huge variety of purple-leafed trees for us. Here is a quick look at the list above:

  • Some varieties of Maple, Purple sand cherry, Purple-leaf plum tree, Crabapples, and Purple European beech tree offer fruits besides the contrasting flowers on the dark purple foliage.
  • Purple leaf tree Acacia offers fuzzy foliage while the Purple smoke tree grows furred flowers.
  • Black lace elderberry and Redbud forestry pansy are both stunning to choose from the list.
  • Other purple trees can be grown in the streets, on your lawn, and in shrubs.
  • It is essential to know the size of a mature tree before planting them and to offer the tree best care practices.

Purple leaves create a royal-like look and are always beautiful contrasting foliage against the green landscape or a garden.

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