Your garden is a tribute to your connection to natural beauty, peace, and vitality.
As you begin to consider what you should plant in your garden, go beyond simply checking out which flowers happen to be sitting next to one another at your local home improvement store. Dig deep! Pour yourself a mug or glass of your favorite beverage, sit at the edge of your garden, and contemplate what it is you’d like to communicate.
There are three things to keep in mind as you consider what you should plant together:
Let’s begin with the three basic color schemes you can use to bring life to your garden!
How Do I Decide What Flowers to Plant Together?
When planting flowers, most people begin with color. Usually, the selection process is based on instinct, and it sounds like this, “Ooo! That’s pretty!” We like what we like, right? We react to things we like. Use that instinct as a starting point in choosing the color scheme for your garden or landscaping.
We'll discuss three color schemes: complementary, analogous, and monochromatic.
Complimentary colors are those that are opposite of one another on the color wheel. For example, blue and orange, green and red, and yellow and purple.
Analogous hues are those that are adjacent to or near one another on the color wheel. Blue, blue-violet, and violet are analogous colors, as are yellow, yellow-green, and green. You get the idea.
Monochromatic colors are varying tints, shades, and tones of the same color. In gardening, a popular example of this color scheme is evident in “Blue Gardens,” which contain various shades of blue and purple.
So, if you see a plant or flower and think, “Ooo! That’s pretty!” take note of its color and build your color scheme from there. For example, if that flower is purple, consider which of the color schemes you’d like to embrace as you highlight your purple selection. Imagine the flower that caught your attention is a Purple Haze Butterfly Bush. You might consider incorporating the following flowers or plants.
If you’d like to create a space filled with flowers and plants that are complementary to purple, you could begin with yellows, oranges, and greens:
To build an analogous color scheme around your favorite purple flower, you could consider any of these beauties whose color reflects those near purple on the color wheel, which include pink, purple, and blue:
In a monochromatic color scheme, you might begin with one or all of the following:
Companion planting is an art unto itself. Companion plants attract pollinators and insects that enrich the biodiversity of your garden. When plants act as friends to their leafy neighbors by providing nutrients to one another, attracting pollinators, and improving pest management, they add to the health and beauty of your garden.
Some popular companion plant pairings include the following:
Phenomenal™ Lavender Plants produce a refreshing and vibrant aroma that detracts pests commonly known to disrupt the growth process of carrots and leeks. They also share similar needs for sunlight and dry soil with Sedum Angelina and Adagio Miscanthus Maiden Grass.
Bloodgood Japanese Maple trees and Autumn Angel Encore Azaleas share similar cultural requirements, and they look beautiful together. Bringing these two plants into a community with one another enriches their soil and attracts songbirds to your outdoor living space.
While the potential for companion plant pairings is myriad, remember to begin with flowers or plants that catch your eye and bring a sense of well-being to your soul. Just as healthy people grow in healthy communities, so do healthy plants grow in healthy communities!
How to Create High-Interest Planting Combinations
Planting combinations such as flower combinations and seasonal pairings begin with your desire to create a space that inspires and delights you and your family. These combinations can be predicated upon artistic balance (height and spread) and other visually pleasing points of interest, or you can choose planting combinations based on seasonal growth. Let’s take a look at some combinations that skew toward the dramatic and a couple based on seasonal interest.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees are stunning evergreens that produce brightly colored streaks of orange, yellow, and neon green as they shed their bark. You could argue that nearly any flower or plant could be successfully combined with this superior work of art by Mother Nature, given its variety of colors. To help you narrow your palette, however, we would suggest choosing your favorite color, as seen in the trunk of this tree, and choosing plants that follow a monochromatic color scheme that complements the color you chose.
Upright Elephant Ear provides a beautiful swath of green that includes an upright structure and eye-catching structure and texture to gardens and landscaping alike. Large and lush selections such as these combine beautifully with smaller tropical plants that thrive in full to partial sun. If you think about contrasting the impressive size of elephant ears with the dainty color and growth patterns of one of your favorite small profile plants or vibrant ground covers, such as Drummond's Pink Creeping Phlox you can create a dynamic point of interest.
The Emerald Blueberry Bush combines beautifully with Common Lilacs. Not only do hummingbirds and butterflies love both these plants–which makes them excellent companion plants–but they both thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil. Though these are essential features when considering planting combinations, the piece de resistance is how their colors and textures complement one another.
As you contemplate what you should plant together, remember to begin with plants that nourish your palette for beauty, peace, and vitality. Nature that draws your eye (beauty), gives you a sense of well-being (peace), and attracts and stabilizes life around you (vitality) can help create a space you’ll love to come back to again and again.