15 Purple Vegetables You Need to Grow in Your Garden

purple eggplant to grow in garden

One of the big benefits of growing your own food is the ability to plant vegetables you wouldn’t find while walking down the produce aisle of your local grocery store.

You can buy orange carrots, green beans, and red tomatoes anywhere.

But, in your garden, you can leave those boring choices behind and choose to grow yellow carrots, purple beans, and orange tomatoes instead.

Growing interesting and unique varieties will infuse a sense of fun and adventure into your gardening season.

Neighbors will stop by and ask about the unusual things you have growing behind your fence, little kids visiting your garden will be pleased to pick colorful produce, and cooking with these beautiful varieties will make the chore of dinner prep something you look forward to rather than dread.

If you’re looking to add a little spice to your garden this year, the color purple is a great place to start. There are lots of options for growing this intense color, and it’s the perfect visual complement to all of the green tones in the garden.

Pick and choose your favorites from this list of purple vegetables and add them to your garden plan!

dancer eggplant purple garden vegetable

A Fun List of Purple Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Season

#1: Dancer Eggplant

This is number one on my list of purple vegetables because I’ve never seen an electric purple color quite like this one on any other vegetable in my garden.

The size is great, too. It’s a cross between the fat Italian and skinny Japanese eggplants.

Find them here.

purple peas for the garden

#2: Royal Snow Peas

Have you ever thought about how much easier it would be to find your ripe peas if they didn’t blend in with the plant? Here’s your solution!

No more coming out to the garden to harvest and being disappointed by a bunch of overripe peas you missed the day before because you didn’t see them.

Like purple beans, these snow peas will lose some of their purple hues when cooked, so try to eat them raw in salads and other dishes.

Get these seeds here.

purple potatoes from the garden

#3: Magic Molly Potatoes

These are a must-grow if you have kids or grandkids who help you in the garden. In fact, this variety was chosen several years in a row by my 6-year-old neighbor who planted them in the garden bed she tends in my front yard.

Purple french fries, anyone?

Get yours here.

purple kohlrabi list of purple vegetables

#4: Kolibri Kohlrabi

I like growing kohlrabi in spring when I’m starved for fresh veggies from the garden. I find that the purple varieties are much more appealing looking than the plain white.

We love to eat them raw in salads or lightly sauteed in a stir-fry.

Buy purple seeds or a mix of purple and white here.

list of purple vegetables with purple tomatillos from the garden

#5: Purple Tomatillos

My philosophy is this — why grow a green vegetable when you can grow a purple one?

Once I found out that purple tomatillos existed I plant them right alongside my green ones so I have a colorful mixture in my harvest basket.

How do I eat my tomatillos? I love to roast them to make this Homemade Salsa Verde which I then freeze in glass pint jars and use in recipes like enchiladas all winter long.

Get purple seeds here. Buy a mix of purple and green here.

purple vegetables in the garden peppers

#6: Iko Iko Peppers

These peppers are pretty cool because they start out purple, but as they ripen they transform to light purple, light yellow, darker yellow, and then red. Eat them at any stage and always have a rainbow of color in your salads.

I plant around 35 sweet and hot pepper plants in my garden each season. We as many as possible fresh, and then ferment and freeze the rest.

If you struggle with growing colored peppers, here’s one of the secrets to growing great peppers.

Get your seeds here.

purple vegetables for the garden

#7: Romanian Red Garlic

I was smitten with this variety last summer when I washed a few off to see their coloring. Of course, I had to grab my camera to snap a few photos.

This is a hardneck Rocambole type garlic that will store for many months in a cool spot in your house or garage. We’ve had these last in storage all the way until the next July’s harvest.

Read why you should plant garlic this fall.

Get them here.

purple veg to grow in your garden purple ruffles basil

#8: Purple Ruffles Basil

Once you see how beautifully ornamental this variety is in your garden you’ll want to grow it every year like I do. It tastes and smells great and is a pretty addition to fresh salads and pasta dishes.

Like the idea of whipping up a batch of purple pesto to impress your friends? Unfortunately, purple basil makes more of a grayish pesto. Pretty unappetizing! Try to use it fresh instead.

Find the seeds here.

purple vegetables to grow in your garden brussels sprouts

#9: Red Rubine Brussels Sprouts

What?! Who knew purple brussels sprouts even existed in the world? I didn’t until I happened upon the seeds from these beauties at my local nursery last winter.

Of course, I had to have them. As you can see from the photo above I got a pretty good harvest this past fall. They’re not as robust as the green variety I plant, but they taste great roasted in the oven.

Grab some seeds here.

redbor kale and a list of purple vegetables to grow in your garden

#10: Redbor Kale

If you’re as wild about growing kale as I am, you have to try Redbor. It’s been on my have-to-grow-every-season list for many years and won’t fall off anytime soon.

You can use it fresh in massaged kale salads, easily freeze it for winter, or throw it in soups, egg dishes, and smoothies. There’s not much you can’t do with it!

Get your seeds here.

purple vegetables to grow in garden redwing onion

#11: Redwing Onions

If you want to store onions for winter cooking you need to grow a storage variety, not the more common sweet ones found at most nurseries.

Redwing is one of my top picks for a tasty onion that stores for many, many months in my basement. Sometimes we’re still eating these in April or May of the following year. Amazing!

Learn how to grow awesome onions here.

Buy seeds here.

purple veg to grow dragon tongue bean

 #12: Dragon Tongue Beans

Several years ago when I ran an educational farm for youth, this was one of the kids’ favorites. I never could figure out whether it was the name, the colors, or the taste, but every fall when they returned to the farm they would run towards me yelling, “Do we have Dragon Tongue beans this year?”

Try them for yourself and decide which feature is the coolest!

Get seeds here.

purple carrots to grow in your garden

#13: Purple Haze Carrots

Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in the garden and these are at the top of my list.

Purple carrots can sometimes taste more earthy than their orange cousins, but this variety is milder. I also love how there is a little orange mixed in with the purple coloring of the root. It makes for great photos!

Grab some seeds here.

purple vegetables to grow in the garden purple cabbage

#14: Ruby Perfection Cabbage

If you like to grow cabbage in your garden then make sure you’re planting both green and red varieties. The contrast of the two colors is striking both in the garden and the kitchen.

I ferment the majority of cabbage I grow and purchase from my local farmers market. We always have a half-gallon jar of curtido (Central American Sauerkraut) in our fridge to add to tacos, egg dishes, soups, and more. You can more about my favorite fermentation recipes in my post, 5 No-Fail Fermented Food Recipes for Beginners.

Buy seeds here.

passionflower purple vegetables to grow

#15: Passionflower

I’m ending this list with a flowering vine because you should always mix at least some flowers into your vegetable garden for added pops of color and interest.

I picked up this passionflower vine on a whim at my local farmers market one spring. Even in zone 5a where I live, it grew vigorously on my trellis and even survived the winter to come back again the next spring.

The flower is one of the most intricate and complicated I’ve ever seen. This is strictly an ornamental vine for me, I don’t get any fruit.

Since it’s such a vigorous grower, if you live in a warmer climate you might want to check whether this vine would take over your garden before planting it. It is listed as an invasive species in some areas.

Order a plant.

Additional Resources for Growing Unique Vegetable Varieties

Where to find new varieties. When I talk about growing unique varieties a lot of gardeners ask me how I find all of these vegetables.

My favorite seed companies that offer many of these varieties are:

Johhny’s Selected Seeds

High Mowing Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange

Botanical Interests

Renee’s Garden Seeds

Baker Creek Seeds

Etsy: I gathered some of my favorite varieties from different sellers at this link.

Amazon: Find my recommended varieties, tools, supplies, books and more in my Amazon storefront here.

Request a catalog or look on their websites to be inspired to try some new vegetables and varieties this season.

Grow your own plants at home. Unfortunately, many of these varieties can’t be found as plants at local nurseries and farmers markets because they’re so unusual.

But, if you start seeds at home, you’ll have access to hundreds (thousands!) of interesting, colorful, and unique varieties you won’t be able to find anywhere else. 

Once you get the hang of it, growing your own plants at home is an easily repeatable process year after year. I walk you through exactly how to set up your grow light rack, create a planting schedule, and more in my how-to video series about seed starting.

Find even more varieties. If you’re excited about discovering and growing interesting varieties of vegetables in your garden beyond this list of purple vegetables, check out the following resources.

 

In my book, I share my top 10 unique vegetable and colorful flower varieties. The back of the book also contains a big table of every vegetable you can grow in your garden with my recommended varieties for each.

Grab a copy here.

 

 

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This is a super fun book that’s laid out in a “If you like to grow this, try this instead” format and makes suggestions on how to shake up your garden a bit by growing things that are new to you.

Grab a copy here.

 

 

 

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Besides vegetables, there are also a lot of really exciting flower varieties out there to grow. Floret Flower Farm is testing so many of them every season and in this book they share the best varieties to grow, how to grow them, and more.
 

 

 

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I have a few more blog posts featuring favorite varieties:

What Kind of Garlic Should You Plant?

Grow These Unique and Colorful Varieties This Year

How Many Different Varieties Should You Plant?

How to Choose Which Tomatoes to Grow

This season, I encourage you to add some more pops of color to your garden by picking a few varieties from this list of purple vegetables to grow. And while you’re at it, make sure to mix in some of the other colors of the rainbow, too!

 

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