Ultra Violet in the garden

The Pantone Color of the Year selection for 2018 is….Ultra Violet (PANTONE 18-3838). This color is described by Pantone as a thoughtful and provocative shade of purple that will communicate originality, ingenuity and vision to ‘light the way’ for the year ahead. Ultra Violet is sure to be embraced by garden enthusiasts for many reasons.

So many flowers can be described as ultra-violet. Is it purple? Is it blue? To me Ultra Violet is one of those colors that can play tricks on the eye, providing more than one color presence at a time. I have always associated the color with a spiritual or mystical feeling. I think it will be fun and easy to incorporate elements of this color in your landscape so I love this choice for Color of the Year. You may even want to design an entire new planting area in the theme.  

Not only is this particular color readily available in many flowering plant forms, it is also a color beloved by bees.

Scientifically, Ultraviolet is a color that is not actually visible to the human eye. Violet is the highest visible color on the electromagnetic spectrum. Ultraviolet is the next higher color that can be seen by some mammals, birds, insects, and especially our friends, the bees.   

Yes, for bees flower color matters. And what you see and what they see is very different. Ultra Violet is an especially good choice if you are adding bee friendly plants to your garden. Bees are very attracted to flowers in shades of purple as they give off more UV (that’s right, ultraviolet light) than other colors. Bees can ‘see’ these flowers better as their eyesight is based on the amount of UV light that is reflected from the color of a flower. So bees are naturally more attracted to flowers in shades of purple.  

Adding some Ultra Violet to your garden will not only make your bees happy, but it will add some artistic expression, a little imagination and perhaps the feeling of spiritual enlightenment as well.  

I have pulled together a few of my favorite Ultra Violet flowering plants below, as well as other fun picks that have been posted by members of the Plants Map community. I have tried to cover a little bit of everything, from trees and vines to perennials and annuals. If I have missed one of your favorite Ultra Violet picks for the garden, please let me know.  

And one more way quick way to add some Ultra Violet to your landscape, refresh a few garden accents or outdoor furniture with a good old-fashion spray of paint! Next year you can easily cover that with the next Color of the Year.   

Tracy Blevins
[email protected]


African Blue Basil posted by Bill Blevins

Night Sky Petunia posted by Roxbury Farm and Garden Center

Statice (Limonium sinuatum) ‘Blue River’ posted by Generous Gardeners

Viola cornuta Penny™ Deep Blue posted by Tracy Blevins

Native Plants

Anise Hyssop posted by Backyard Abundance

Fernleaf phacelia posted by Annkat

Lobelia siphilitica posted by Betty Truax

Lupines (Lupinus perennis) posted by Tracy Blevins

Viola pedatifida (Prairie Violet) posted by Prairie Moon Nursery

Winter Blooms

Iris histrioides ‘George’ posted by Bill Blevins

Primrose – Primula vulgaris posted by Tracy Blevins

Perennial Spring Blooms

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Pictus’ posted by Bill Blevins

Hyacinths posted posted by The Freckled Rose

Muscari posted posted by Annkat

Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Diana Clare’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Siberian Iris posted by Fredericksburg Area Iris, Virginia

Perennial Summer Blooms

Delphinium grandiflorum ‘Blue Butterfly’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Delphinium exaltatum – Tall Blue Larkspur posted posted by Prairie Nursery

Lavender Big Time Blue posted posted by UpShoot LLC

Geranium ‘Gerwat’ Rozanne posted by Tracy Blevins

Salvia ‘May Night’ posted by Land-grant Programs at the University of the District of Columbia

Veronica spicata ‘Sunny Border Blue’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Perennial Fall Blooms

Aster ‘Purple Dome’ posted by The Gardens at Heather Farm

Bluebeard posted by City of Waxahachie Texas

Salvia greggii ‘Mesa Azure’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Saffron posted posted by Old Dominion Herb Society


Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blue Danube’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Ceanothus – California Lilac ‘Dark Star’ posted by The Gardens at Heather Farm

Lilac ‘Sensation’ posted by Roxbury Farm & Garden Center


Chaste Tree posted by lauracourtney44

Jacaranda posted by Barbara Collins Arboretum

Texas Mountain Laurel posted by Reed Park Butterfly Waystation


Clematis ‘Sapphire Indigo’ posted by Generous Gardeners

Passiflora incarnata posted by Bill Blevins

Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ posted by Tracy Blevins

Previous Colors of the Year

2017 Greenery (PANTONE 15-0343)
2016 Rose Quartz & Serenity (PANTONE 13-520 & 15-3919)
2015 Marsala (PANTONE 18-1438)