52 PURPLE Wildflowers in Kentucky! (ID Guide)

Did you find a purple wildflower in Kentucky?

Common Kentucky Purple Wildflowers

If so, I’m sure you’re wondering what type of wildflower it is! Luckily, you can use this guide to help you identify it. 🙂

 

Today, we will look at 52 common wildflowers that are purple in Kentucky.

 

You will notice a USDA Hardiness Zone for each wildflower listed in the article. This refers to areas of the US where plants can grow based on temperature. Here is a map showing the hardiness zones of Kentucky:

Hardiness Zones in Kentucky range from 1a to 13b.

 

52 types of purple wildflowers in Kentucky:

 


#1. Bull Thistle

  • Cirsium vulgare

Types of Purple Wildflowers that live in Kentucky

Also known as Boar Thistle, Common Thistle, Dodder, and Spear Thistle.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-6′ (.6-1.8 m)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Bull Thistle is a spiny and common purple wildflower in Kentucky.

 

So be careful if handling! It’s also a great flower if you want to attract giant bees and butterflies.

 

The seeds of this thistle are the preferred menu item for the American Goldfinch. However, these birds also use the thistledown to line their nests; thus, they wait until the flowers bloom in late summer to raise their young.

 


#2. Alfalfa

  • Medicago sativa

Kinds of Purple Wildflowers in Kentucky

Also known as Lucerne.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Farmers often plant alfalfa as a food crop for farm animals, and it fixes nitrogen from the air into the soil through its roots.

 

This purple wildflower is native to warmer climates and attracts many bees, butterflies, and birds.

 


#3. Smooth Blue Aster

  • Symphyotrichum laeve

Kentucky Purple Wildflowers species

Also known as Glaucous Aster and Michealmas Daisy.

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun

 

You will find this striking purple wildflower in plains, meadows, and hillsides throughout Kentucky.

 

Like the hairs on a dandelion, the Smooth Blue Aster pappi (ring of fine feathery hairs surrounding seeds) allows the seeds to be spread by the wind.

 


#4. Winter Vetch

  • Vicia villosa

Common Purple Wildflowers species in Kentucky

Also known as Vicia Species, Fodder Vetch, and Hairy Vetch.

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Life Cycle: Annual, Biennial, Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Sun

 

Often gardeners plant Winter Vetch as a companion plant to tomatoes. This is done because the Winter Vetch helps put nitrogen in the soil, which helps keep weeds from sprouting.

 

This purple wildflower grows in various places such as forests, grasslands, meadows, old fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas. It also is considered invasive in some areas.

 


#5. Common Burdock

  • Arctium minus

purple wildflowers

Also known as Lesser Burdock, Little Burdock, Louse-bur, Button-bur, Cuckoo-button, and Wild Rhubarb.

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-6′ (120-180 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Mid Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Mid Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

You will find this purple wildflower in pastures, open prairies, hayfields, roadsides, old fields, barnyards, railways, and other disturbed areas in Kentucky.

 

Common Burdock has large leaves and deep purple flowers resembling rhubarb, making this plant easy to identify. After the flower head dries, they are similar to velcro because they stick onto humans and animals to transport the entire seed head.

 

This purple wildflower attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Powdery mildew and root rot often affect it. But be careful if you handle this plant; it may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

 


#6. Clasping Venus’ Looking Glass

  • Triodanis perfoliata

purple wildflowers

Also known as Roundleaf Triodanis and Clasping Bellflower.

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 6-36″ (15-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

In Kentucky, you can find this purple wildflower in habitats with dry sandy soils such as disturbed areas, gardens, and woods.

 

You can identify the Clasping Venus’ Looking Glass by looking for the flowers blooming in the rounded leaves. This plant can self-pollinate and attracts small butterflies, bees, and flies.

 


#7. Bee Balm

  • Monarda fistulosa

purple wildflowers

Buy/View Seeds HERE!

Also known as Wild Bergamot, Horsemint, and Wild Bee Balm.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-4′ (60-120 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

Look for this fragrant clump-forming perennial with beautiful lilac-purple wildflowers in dry areas of fields, prairies, and along roads in Kentucky.

 

Bee Balm leaves make a refreshing tea that provides many health benefits, as its antimicrobial properties help ward off colds and the flu. Steaming the plant can also help clear nasal passages, while creating a poultice from Bee Balm could prove helpful in treating headaches, sores, muscle cramps, or fungal infections. Lastly, Monarda can stimulate uterine contractions, so expecting women shouldn’t use it.

 

The main reason that I grow Bee Balm in my flower garden is to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinator bees. When this NATIVE perennial is in full bloom, birds and insects won’t be able to resist visiting the nectar-rich flowers. Many people claim that Bee Balm is so effective at drawing in hummingbirds that they no longer have to worry about filling their feeders!

 


#8. Spotted Knapweed

  • Centaurea stoebe

purple wildflowers

Also known as Panicled Knapweed.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-3′ (60-90cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

You will usually find these wildflowers along roads and open fields throughout Kentucky.

 

This purple wildflower is considered a weed in many places because it can crowd out other plants. However, it is also an allelopathic plant, which chemically changes the soil to discourage other plants from growing and favor its offspring. I can’t believe how rude Spotted Knapweed can be, but it is an effective evolutionary advantage!

 


#9. Creeping Charlie

  • Glechoma hederacea

purple wildflowers

Also known as Gill-over-ground, Ground Ivy, Hedgemaids, Field Balm, Tunhoof, Catsfoot, Run-away-robin, and Alehoof.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennials
  • Approximate mature size: 5-8″ (12.5-20 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

This plant grows in large groups in moist semi-shaded areas and tolerates the sun very well. Many species of wild bees collect pollen from the Creeping Charlie as well.

 

This purple wildflower is invasive in some places. For example, it is considered an aggressive weed in woodlands and lawns in Kentucky mainly because the plant’s extensive root system makes it difficult to get rid of by hand-pulling or mowing. I have personally battled with Creeping Charlie in my yard before!

 


#10. Purple Loosestrife

  • Lythrum salicaria

purple wildflowers

Also known as Spiked Loosetrife and Purple Lythrum.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-5′ (60-150 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Typically you will see this perennial in ditches, wet meadows, marshes, and along lakes in Kentucky.

 

It’s hard to believe this is an invasive plant, but this purple wildflower is considered a weed because it takes over and pushes out native plants.

 

Purple Loosestrife reproduces VERY quickly, as each flower spike can produce up to 300,000 seeds. In addition, it also spreads by growing new shoots from its roots.

 


#11. New England Aster

  • Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

purple wildflowers

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Hardy Aster and Michaelmas Daisy.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-7′ (90-210cm)
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Late Summer, Early Fall

 

New England Aster generally grows in wet environments in Kentucky, although this purple wildflower can survive in dry soil or sand.

 

This purple wildflower is a great perennial for your garden because of its long bloom time in autumn. In addition, if you allow seed heads to dry on the plant, you can remove and collect the seeds for future plantings.

 


#12. Dame’s Rocket

  • Hesperis matronalis

purple wildflowers

Also known as the Damask-violet, Dame’s-violet, Dames-wort, Dame’s Gilliflower, Night-scented Gilliflower, Queen’s Gilliflower, Rogue’s Gilliflower, Summer Lilac, Sweet Rocket, Mother-of-the-evening, Good & Plenties, and Winter Gilliflower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Biennials or Short-lived Perennials
  • Approximate mature size: 1-4′ (30-122 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

This purple wildflower is widespread throughout Kentucky. Dame’s Rocket is fast-spreading and found in meadows and woodlands. Look for them included in prepackaged “wildflower seed” mixes.

 

In some areas, this plant is considered invasive. However, the young leaves of this spring-blooming flower are high in Vitamin C, can be eaten in salads, and have a slightly bitter taste.

 

Dame’s Rocket is often confused with native Phlox species with similar large flower clusters. However, you can tell the difference between them by Dame’s Rocket has alternately arranged leaves and four petals per flower, while phloxes have opposite leaves and five petals.

 


#13. Tall Morning Glory

  • Ipomoea purpurea

purple wildflowers

Also known as Purple Morning Glory and Common Morning Glory.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 12-15′ (3.7-4.6 m)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

This purple wildflower is considered a weed, and it can grow in dry and rich soil. Look for this perennial in gardens, old fields, roadsides, and waste sites.

 

Tall Morning Glory seeds have been used as psychedelic in the past. As a result, the seeds you find for sale are commonly treated with toxic methylmercury, which serves as a preservative and a poison to discourage recreational use.

 


#14. Canada Toadflax

  • Nuttallanthus canadensis

purple wildflowers

Also known as Blue Toadflax and Old-field Toadflax.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-8a
  • Life Cycle: Annual, Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 8-10″ (20-45 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Canada Toadflax flowers bloom in large numbers in early spring, making them a critical nectar source for honeybees and butterflies. In addition, the leaves of the plant are also an excellent food source for caterpillars.

 

This purple wildflower generally grows in full sun areas on roadsides and grasslands. Please note some parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

 


#15. Purple Coneflower

  • Echinacea purpurea

purple wildflowers

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Eastern Coneflower and Eastern Purple Coneflower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-3′ (60-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Purple Coneflower is extremely hardy, which is why people love growing them in their gardens in Kentucky. These flowers are also heat and drought-resistant, which means they will thrive in harsh conditions.

 

The cone-shaped disc comprises several smaller flowers, which contain loads of nectar. The colorful blooms draw the attention of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

 

Make sure to select an appropriate place in your landscaping beds, as Purple Coneflower grows anywhere from two to four feet high. In addition, coneflowers grow in clumps or clusters up to two feet wide. So be sure to give your plants plenty of room to thrive!

 


#16. Canada Thistle

  • Cirsium arvense

purple wildflowers

Also known as Canadian Thistle, Lettuce From Hell Thistle, California Thistle, Corn Thistle, Cursed Thistle, Field Thistle, Green Thistle, Hard Thistle, Perennial Thistle, Prickly Thistle, Small-Flowered Thistle, Way Thistle, and Stinger-needles.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-5′ (30-150 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring through Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

This purple wildflower is an incredibly invasive weed in Kentucky.

 

This non-native wildflower occurs in various habitats such as wetlands, grasslands, forests, and meadows. It reproduces fast because each plant can have up to 5,300 seeds!

 

Watch out for these wildflowers’ leaves; they are very spiny, and it would not feel good to touch them.

 


#17. Bittersweet Nightshade

  • Solanum dulcamara

purple wildflowers

Also known as Bittersweet, Bitter Nightshade, Blue Bindweed, Amara Dulcis, Climbing Nightshade, Fellenwort, Felonwood, Poisonberry, Poisonflower, Scarlet Berry, Snakeberry, Trailing Bittersweet, Trailing Nightshade, Violet Bloom, and Woody Nightshade.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-8′ (60-240 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun and Light Shade

 

Look for this woody vine in woodlands, scrublands, hedges, and marshes. This purple wildflower has adorable little berries that some birds eat.

Please be aware that all the parts of the Bittersweet Nightshade are poisonous to humans if ingested. And its foliage is toxic to animals as well. So this is not a plant you want to add to your salad!

 


#18. Common Grape Hyacinth

  • Muscari botryoides

purple wildflowers

Also known as Muscari and Bluebells.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-11b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 8-12″ (20-30 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

This purple wildflower looks like a cluster of tiny grapes, hence their name Grape Hyacinth. Look for this perennial in various habitats in the wild such as plains, fields, foothills, and along roads.

 

This purple beauty is an easy-to-grow wildflower and makes an excellent addition to your home garden. But watch out for rabbits, squirrels, and deer who enjoy eating their fresh blooms.

 


#19. Great Blue Lobelia

  • Lobelia siphilitica

purple wildflowers

Also known as Great Lobelia and Blue Cardinal Flower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-4′ (30-120 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

This perennial flower does not self-pollinate and must be pollinated by insects, bumblebees, or hummingbirds.

 

This purple wildflower thrives in moist to wet soils and partially shaded environments, including swamp forests, roadside ditches, floodplains, lake margins, and wet prairies.

 


#20. Showy Orchis

  • Galearis spectabilis

showy orchis

Also known as Showy Orchid.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 5-12″ (12.5-30cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade, Shade

 

This perennial is typically found on shady hillsides, which may be rocky, damp, and under deciduous trees. You will rarely ever see these flowers in the full sun.

 

The Showy Orchis provides nectar for many pollinators such as bumblebees, butterflies, and moths.

 


#21. American Hog Peanut

  • Amphicarpaea bracteata

american hog peanut

Also known as Ground Bean.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b
  • Life Cycle: Annual, Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-5′ (30-152 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

American Hog Peanuts is unique compared to other purple wildflowers in Kentucky.

 

The upper flowers are open and pollinated by insects, while lower flowers are low or underground vines that never open and self-pollinate. In addition, both flowers produce seeds, but the lower flowers grow a juicy closed fruit called a Hog Peanut, which is how it got its name.

 

The American Hog Peanut is typically found in the forest, and it attracts several species of butterfly caterpillars that eat its foliage.

 


#22. Violet Wood Sorrel

  • Oxalis violacea

Violet Wood Sorrel

Also known as Sour Grass, Sour Trefoil, and Shamrock.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-8″ (10-20 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

This native plant grows in open spaces in damp woods, stream banks, and moist prairies. Unfortunately, this pretty purple wildflower is listed as a threatened or endangered species.

 

All parts of the Violet Woods Sorrel are edible but should not be eaten in large quantities due to their high concentration of oxalic acid (salt of lemons), which can be poisonous. This plant was a traditional food source for the Native American Apache, Cherokee, Omaha, Pawnee, and Ponca.

 


#23. Field Thistle

  • Cirsium discolor

Field Thistle

Also known as Pasture Thistle.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-5′ (90-150 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Field Thistle has large flower heads that are full of nectar and pollen. Consequently, this is very attractive to large butterflies like migrating monarchs, bees, wasps, bumblebees, and hummingbirds.

 

This invasive purple wildflower is found in damp areas in full sun along roads and open fields in Kentucky. Look for its spines or sharp edges and use extreme caution when handling. This plant can poke you!

 


#24. Hoary Vervain

  • Verbena stricta

Hoary Vervain

Also known as Tall Vervain and Woolly Verbena.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun

 

This medium purple wildflower is found in meadows, fields, and dry, sandy soils. It also is extremely drought resistant.

 

Hoary Vervain is an extremely important wildflower as the leaves are the ideal food source for Common Buckeye Butterfly caterpillars. Furthermore, the seeds are also a necessary part of many small birds’ and mammals’ diets.

 


#25. Purple False Foxglove

  • Agalinis purpurea

purple false foxglove

Also known as Purple Gerardia.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 12-36″ (30-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Purple False Foxglove is a pretty purple wildflower you can add to your garden in Kentucky. It prefers moist sandy soils for it to thrive.

 

This semiparasitic plant derives some of its nutrients from other plants around them, such as native grasses, Loblolly Pines, Sycamore, or Sweetgum Trees.

 


#26. Shooting Star

  • Primula meadia

Shooting Star pic

Also known As American Cowslip, Eastern Shooting Star, Indian Chief, and Rooster Heads.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-7b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size:10-20″ (25-50 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

Look for this flower in forests and prairies, where the flowers bloom in spring. The seeds are dispersed by gusts of wind that shake the flowers.

 

The unique thing about Shooting Stars is the purple flowers grow downward, but the flower stalk becomes upright after pollination.

 


#27. Early Blue Violet

  • Viola palmata

Early Blue Violet

Also known as Palmate Violet, Three-lobed Violet, and Wood Violet.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b-10a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-6″ (10-15 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Light Shade, Partial to Full Shade

 

Early Blue Violet is found in various habitats such as dry upland woods, rocky areas, and meadows.

 

This low-growing perennial attracts butterflies and is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained soil. This plant would also be an excellent plant for beds, borders, and rock gardens.

 


#28. Wild Geranium

  • Geranium maculatum

wild geranium

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Cranesbill, Spotted Geranium, and Wood Geranium.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 12-24″ (30-60 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring, Early Summer, Mid Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

You can find this delicate purple wildflower primarily in dry to moist forests in Kentucky.

 

Wild geraniums are typically found in large groups and make popular garden plants. In addition, this perennial has been used as herbal medicine as an astringent to stop bleeding.

 


#29. Rice Button Aster

  • Symphyotrichum dumosum

Rice Button Aster pic

Also known as Bushy Aster.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 12-36″ (30-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer, Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Rice Button Aster is easy to grow and adaptable to various growing conditions, making it an excellent addition to your backyard or garden. Just keep in mind that it may require some thinning to keep it under control.

 

This very light purple perennial blooms in late summer or early fall, but it will bloom throughout the year in warmer climates. Many pollinators love it, particularly butterflies and native bees. This plant is also a larval host for the Pearl Crescent Butterfly.

 


#30. Field Pansy

  • Viola bicolor

Field Pansy pic

Also known as Johnny-jump-up, American Field Pansy, and Wild Pansy.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 2-16″ (5-40 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

This bluish-purple wildflower grows in prairies, meadows, wild gardens, and along roads and railroads in Kentucky.

 

The flowers of the Field Pansy attract wildlife, and they are an early source of nectar for bees. In addition, caterpillars of fritillary butterflies feed on the leaves, and the seeds are eaten by Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Mourning Dove, and some songbirds.

 


#31. Sharpwing Monkeyflower

  • Mimulus alatus

sharpwing monkeyflower pic

Also known as Winged Monkey Flower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-4′ (61-122 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

This purple wildflower was named for the appearance of the flower, which some people think looks like a grinning monkey. Look for this perennial on the edges of small rivers, swamps, shady stream banks, wet woods, marshes, and springs.

 

The Sharpwing Monkeyflower grows best in wet to moist conditions and has a fast growth rate.

 

However, this purple wildflower has a short life span compared to most other wildflowers in Kentucky.

 


#32. Tall Bellflower

  • Campanula americana

Tall Bellflower pic

Also known as American Bellflower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-6″ (90-180 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade, Partial to Full Shade

 

This purple wildflower thrives in partial shade along woodland edges, open woods, shaded meadows, streambanks, and ditches in Kentucky.

 

The Tall Bellflower doesn’t self-pollinate, so it is pollinated by long-tongued Bees, Halictid Bees, butterflies, and skippers.

 


#33. Kudzu

  • Pueraria montana

purple wildflowers

Also known as Japenese Arrowroot, Kudzu Bean, and Kudzu Vine.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 30-100′ (9.1-30 m)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

This climbing purple wildflower climbs surfaces such as trees, cliffs, and walls and grows as ground cover if there are no vertical surfaces.

 

Kudzu is a widespread purple wildflower and is INCREDIBLY INVASIVE in Kentucky. The seeds spread quickly from human actions, along with mammals and birds.

 


#34. Rough Blazing Star

  • Liatris Aspera

rough blazing star pic

Also known as Blazing Star, Button Snakeroot, Tall Prairie Blazing Star, and Marsh Gayfeather.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 16-48″ (40-120 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

This easy-to-grow and low-maintenance perennial are excellent for borders and gardens. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds can’t resist their deep purple flowers. You can also take the fresh cut flowers, dry them, and use them in arrangements.

 

The flowers are on the stalks in clumps from top to bottom, which is unique compared to most other purple wildflowers in Kentucky.

 


#35. Texas Toadflax

  • Nuttallanthus texanus

texas toadflax

Also known as Blue Toadflax.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-8a
  • Life Cycle: Annual, Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-24″ (10-61 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring through Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Texas Toadflax is easily identified by its long spurs. Many pollinating insects are attracted to the nectar inside.

 

This purple wildflower grows in many habitats such as grasslands, sand, brush, forests, and rocky slopes in Kentucky.

 


#36. Venus’ Pride

  • Houstonia purpurea

venus's pride pic

Also known as Purple Bluet, Summer Bluet, and Woodland Bluet.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 6-12″ (15-30″ cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

These pretty purple wildflowers are found in dry fields, forests, or meadows in Kentucky.

 

Venus’ Pride is an excellent low-growing native plant to pair alongside one that grows larger. In addition, there is nothing better than a plant that can grow in the sun or shade.

 


#37. Eastern Smooth Beardtongue

  • Penstemon laevigatus

Eastern Smooth Beardtongue pic

Also known as Hairy Beardtongue, Eastern Beardtongue, and Pride of the Mountain.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 12-36″ (30-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Look for this purple wildflower in clearings of rich woods, fields, and disturbed sites. The flowers are so pale they look white or pink instead of purple.

 

This perennial is native and called a “beardtongue” because of its brushy yellow tip on the fifth stamen.

 


#38. Lyreleaf Sage

  • Salvia lyrata

lyreleaf sage pic

Also known as Wild Sage and Cancer Weed.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 12-24″ (30-61 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

Lyreleaf is a purple wildflower found primarily in open woods and forests. However, you could grow this plant in your garden. It makes a great border!

 

Please note that the color of the flowers intensifies with more shade. Interestingly, young leaves taste minty and can be used in a salad.

 


#39. Giant Ironweed

  • Vernonia gigantea

giant ironweed pic

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Tall Ironweed.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-8′ (1.2-2.4 m)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade

 

This perennial is solid and tall with dark purple blooms. The Giant Ironweed is commonly found in meadows and woodlands in Kentucky.

 

This purple wildflower is a fantastic addition to your backyard garden, especially if planted in a group. Giant Ironweed attracts many types of butterflies, including swallowtails and Monarchs!

 


#40. Sharp-lobed Hepatica

  • Anemone acutiloba

sharped lobed hepatica pic

Also known as Mountain Hepatica, Hepatica acuta, and Hepatica acutiloba.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-7b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-6″ (10-15 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Light Shade

 

As soon as the snow melts, this dark purple wildflower emerges in Kentucky earlier than other woodland flowers.

 

This plant grows quickly and is excellent for under shrubs and roses in moist soils. In addition, small bees collect the pollen while flies feed on the pollen from the flowers.

 


#41. Hairy Skullcap

  • Scutellaria elliptica

hairy skullcap pic

Also known as Common Large Skullcap, Helmet Flower, Rough Skullcap, and Tall Skullcap.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6b-8a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 6-36″ (15-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring, Mid Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Sun, Light Shade

 

This pest-resistant perennial is an excellent choice for your wildflower garden. The best part is deer and rabbits extremely dislike their taste.

 

Hairy Skullcap spreads from their rhizomes (roots) into small groups. You will see these purple wildflowers in meadows and prairies in Kentucky.

 


#42. Purple Passionflower

  • Passiflora incarnata

purple passionflower pic

Buy/View Seeds HERE!

Also known as Maypop, True Passion Flower. Hardy Passion Vine, Apricot Vine, and Purple Passion Flower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6b-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 6-8′ (180-240 cm)
  • Bloom Time: MidSummer though Mid Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun

 

The Purple Passionflower is a fragrant, beautiful plant. It also produces a fruit, also referred to as a maypop, a yellowish oval similar to the size of an egg; it is green at first but then becomes yellow as it matures. You can eat the fruit off the vine or use it in jelly.

 

The Purple Passionflower is an easy-to-grow winding vine that would enhance any fence or trellis. Moreover, many songbirds, mammals, bees, and butterflies are attracted to these sweet-smelling flowers.

 


#43. Carolina Wild Petunia

  • Ruellia caroliniensis

carolina wild petunia pic

Also known as Ruellia, Wild Petunia, Hairy Ruellia, Low Wild Petunia, and Hairy Wild Petunia.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 6-12″ (16-30 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Sun, Shade

 

You have probably seen this purple wildflower many times in flower-hanging baskets. Many caterpillars love this strong little flower, including Buckeye Butterfly Caterpillars.

 

In the wild, you will find the Carolina Wild Petunia mostly in forests, by streams of water, or growing in a disturbed site (which is a place where the soil is not great).

 


#44. America Wisteria

  • Wisteria sinensis

America Wisteria pic

Also known as Chinese Wisteria.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 10-40′ (3-12 m)
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun

 

Known for its vast scented flowers and twisting stems and vines, the American Wisteria is a non-native purple wildflower from China.

 

Please note all parts of this perennial are toxic may cause many stomach issues if ingested. Furthermore, in children, the effects can be more severe.

 


#45. Spring Larkspur

  • Delphinium tricorne

spring larkspur pic

Also known as Dwarf Larkspur.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-2′ (30-60 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade

 

Spring Larkspur, like many larkspurs, contains a toxic chemical that is poisonous to grazing animals, so the plant has been removed from many places.

 

You can still find this purple wildflower in moist woodlands in Kentucky. This perennial has attractive flowers that are bluish-purple.

 


#46. Downy Lobelia

  • Lobelia puberula

downy lobelia pic

Also known as Blue Lobelia and Hairy Lobelia.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 24-48″ (60-120 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer, Early Fall, Mid Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

This bluish-purple wildflower grows in moderate to moist habitats in Kentucky. You can usually find the Downy Lobelia with its showy flowers in forests.

 

This plant attracts many different bees, butterflies, and birds. However, please be careful; all plant parts are poisonous if ingested.

 


#47. New York Ironweed

  • Vernonia noveboracensis

new york ironweed pic

Also known as New York Flat Tops.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-6′ (120-180 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Late Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

This tall, narrow purple wildflower grows in prairies and meadows in Kentucky. Each flower head may have up to 50 flowers.

 

This full sun perennial would be an excellent addition to the back of the border to your flower garden. This clump-forming plant is attractive to butterflies, and hungry birds will devour the fluffy seeds.

 


#48. Brazilian Vervain

  • Verbena Brasiliensis

brazilian vervain pic

Also known as Brazilian Verbena.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 18-36″ (45-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Mid-Spring through Mid-Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Bees, butterflies, and birds are attracted to the beautiful purple flowers of the Brazilian Vervain. In addition, this plant is a minor food source for large mammals and terrestrial birds, comprising 2-5% of their diet.

 

This invasive wildflower is found in disturbed sites by edges of water, forests, and grasslands. Unfortunately, the Brazilian Vervain threatens other native plants because it pushes them out of their natural habitat.

 


#49. Dwarf Purple Iris

  • Iris verna

dwarf purple iris pic

Also known as Dwarf Violet Iris, North American Dwarf Iris, Spring-flowering Iris, and Spring Iris.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-6″ (5-15 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun

 

This purple wildflower is one of the shortest irises in Kentucky.

 

Look for this highly fragrant perennial in pinewoods or swamp edges.

 

Dwarf Purple Iris is perfect for your shaded rock garden, woodland garden, or in front of your native plant borders. The best part is it will spread on its own!

 


#50. Curtiss Milkwort

  • Polygala curtissii

curtiss milkwort pic

Also known as Appalachian Milkwort.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-10
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 4-16″ (10-40 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

The natural habitat for the Curtiss Milkwort is open, sandy meadows and woodlands in Kentucky.

 

The genus name Polygala is Greek and means “much milk,” which refers to the belief that the Curtiss Milkwort would increase the amount of milk that cows and nursing human mothers could produce.

 


#51. Carolina Phlox

  • Phlox carolina

Carolina Phlox pic

Also known as Thickleaf Phlox.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-4′ (90-120 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun

 

This purple wildflower is a popular choice for flower gardens in Kentucky.

 

The Carolina Phlox grows slender, and the blooms make stunning fresh-cut flowers for your vase. It also self-sows without being aggressive, and it is a beautiful flower for your city or informal garden.

 

Many butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this wildflower.

 


#52. Shaggy Blazing Star

  • Liatris pilosa

shaggy blazing star pic

Also known as Button Snakeroot and Marsh Gayfeather.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-5′ (90-150 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

These purple wildflowers have clusters of shaggy reddish-purple flower heads and grass-like leaves, which helps you identify them in Kentucky.

 

Shaggy Blazing Star grows in sandy or rocky soils in open pinewoods, roadsides, and old fields. It also is attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

 


Do you need more help identifying purple wildflowers in Kentucky?

 

Check out this guide!

 


Which of these purple wildflowers have you seen before in Kentucky?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

Leave a Reply