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 August Afternoons Pre-Planned Garden brings together a wonderful assortment of our favorite perennials and ornamental grasses to keep things colorful through late summer and well into fall. Blooming in shades of blue, pink, and ivory, this gardens expertly blends color, texture, and fragrance for a waterwise garden. Hummingbirds and butterflies will be drawn to the beautiful nectar-rich plants. Garden of 17 plants covers 50 sq ft.
The flowers in the Summer Dreams Pre-Planned Garden are favorites of butterflies, honeybees, and gardeners alike. Designed with low-maintenance perennials, you can enjoy your garden’s fragrance and bright colors blooming from mid-summer to early fall. Watch pollinators dance from flower to flower in the summer sunlight. Garden of 11 plants covers 30 sq ft.