We probably don’t have to sing the praises of plant combinations (who doesn’t love a variety of blooms and greenery in their garden?) so we’ll get right down to telling you our secret. The key to combining plants is to mix color, texture and form while paying special attention to what blooms when so you can have beautiful flowers somewhere in your yard nearly year-round. Another tip is to group plants that have the same growing needs: soil type, sun or shade, and wet or dry. Finally, fill the area with your plant selections, but do not overcrowd it—give each individual plant enough room to show off its best qualities.
These six look great together due to the wide array of foliage textures, colors and sizes. Each of these plants comes in a vast array of varieties, which makes mixing even more exciting! Hosta acts as a soft backdrop for more dramatic plants. Brunnera has softer foliage, but its white coloration bursts from the green sharply. Astilbe’s wonderfully fluffy plumes grow vertically from the ferns, and are generally a bright color that jump out from the surroundings. Heuchera has a lacy flower that stands tall above its round, ruffled foliage, and brings a whimsical look to the combination. The hellebores have the harshest texture and most unique form. These act as the centerpiece, the eye-catching wow plant in the grouping. The ferns’ frothy leaves break up the scene and grow in the gaps.
Plant this combination in shade or partial shade, and in well-draining soil, especially the brunnera (the rest will tolerate lesser draining soils). Water throughout the summer, especially during times of drought. Prune dead flower heads and cut back during late fall or early spring to allow them to reflush.
This combination is quite large, and not every plant needs be included. However, if you have a big open space, try them all! The daylily is the filler flora, but has the bonus of an incredible but short blooming period. Daylilies come in all sorts of colors and shapes of flower; however, their base leaves are very simple and therefore perfect for the backdrop. The echinacea and coreopsis will grow to fill the space between daylilies. Echinacea has a rough texture, covered in blooms from early summer through mid-fall. Coreopsis has a fine texture, and is also covered in small blooms. The tall, thin, flowering structures of the liatris and kniphofia will rocket out of the lower foliage like candles, or “hot pokers” as some gardeners describe them. The phlox stands above everything, adding a contrasting dimension to the combination.
Plant this combination under full sun in well-draining soil, and water throughout the summer especially during times of drought. The flowers are the first to wilt, so don’t let these dry out. Dead head spent flowers and cut the lot back in late fall or early spring.
This combination is wonderfully simple. The rhododendron or azalea shrubs provide year-round interest, blooming in spring, and being a lovely dark green the rest of the year, holding onto their leaves and turning a dark burgundy shade in winter. Some varieties can have an even redder hue. The spring bulbs add a pop of color and interest early in the year to kick-start the growing period of your landscape. You can add perennials into this combination if desired. Both rhododendron and azalea prefer a part-shade environment, so plants like astilbe or coral bells would work nicely.
Plant in partial shade and well-draining soil, watering mainly during times of drought. In late spring, remove dead spring bulb foliage, and cut back shrubs when they start to grow wild.
There’s a mix of perfect plants for every home and landscape in varieties that you will love and can take care of. Eagleson Landscape tailors every one of our garden designs to match your home, your tastes, and the level of upkeep you want. If you are looking for an expert to surround your home with natural beauty, email us, or call (317) 997-4803.
Eagleson Landscape Company provides landscape and hardscape services in the Greater Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Fishers and Geist.