For me, the most satisfying element about gardening is when you create, either by plan or accident, wonderful plant combinations. Not only do companion plants make each other look better, but many plants actually grow better alongside compatible neighbors. I often make the analogy that putting a new plant into the garden is like assembling a new outfit. It's not done when you buy the jacket. It's all the other parts of the outfit like the pants, shirt, tie and socks that make the jacket really standout.
Factors to Consider When Putting Together Plant Combinations
Make sure that the basic growing conditions preferred by the plants in the planting combination are a match. Here are the questions I ask myself before creating a combination planting:
Do they like the same type of soil and soil pH?
Are their watering requirements similar?
Do they have the same sunlight needs?
Are they matched for mature size and plant vigor? Don't plant a tiny rock garden species that grows one inch per year with a "race horse" that triples in size the first growing season and gets three feet tall.
Contrast foliage types and colors. Blue and gray foliage are nice together. Planting fine and bold textured foliage together makes a great combo.
Consider making a group of plants that might be found together in their native habitat. For example, a grouping of South African perennials from the Drakensberg Mountains or a sampling of short grass prairie plants from TX, OK and KS. This is a fun way to re-create regional collections from across the globe in your landscape while teaching you more about the plants and where they come from.
Here are some combinations that work very well. Some are concepts (contrasting flower shapes) and some are specific plant combinations. It's mind-expanding to start thinking about all the wonderful ways plants can be woven together in the landscape.
Plant our drought resistant Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Panned Garden to grow more flowers and foliage while using less water. Perfect for hot, dry, sunny gardens, this eye-catching combination of long-blooming perennials will light up the landscape with bright, clear colors. Easy-care plants feature inedible foliage that keep rabbits and deer away. Large garden of 27 plants covers 190 sq ft, small garden of 18 plants covers 100 sq ft. (For gardeners in coastal CA, OR, and WA, plant the Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden For The West Coast)
Plant our drought resistant Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Panned Garden For The West Coast to grow more flowers and foliage while using less water. Perfect for hot, dry, sunny gardens, this eye-catching combination of long-blooming perennials will light up the landscape with bright, clear colors. Easy-care plants feature inedible foliage that will keep rabbits and deer away. Garden of 18 plants covers 75 to 100 sq ft.
The Butterfly Paradise Pre-Planned Cottage Garden will create a relaxed cottage style perennial garden. Planting masses of nectar-rich flowers magnifies their visual impact and appeal to pollinators, helping butterflies find your garden. Flowers will multiply and spread year after year, offering bold blooms from late spring to late summer. Large garden of 30 plants covers 40 sq ft, small garden of 16 plants covers 40 sq ft.
If you have places in your landscape where most flowers seem to fry from the heat, these tough, long blooming perennials will solve the problem. They thrive in hot, sunny locations and provide flowers over much of the growing season when kept deadheaded. These red, purple and yellow blooms will brighten your yard and withstand the heat. Drought resistant perennial plants (xeric). A collection of nine plants