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10 Pretty Plant Combinations to Suit Any Garden Style

It’s easy to pick out pretty plants at the garden center, but how do you know which plants will go well together in the garden or in your patio pots? We’re sharing ten beautiful ideas with you here, complete with details like how much sun and water they’ll need to thrive.

It’s easy to pick out pretty plants at the garden center, but how do you know which plants will go well together in the garden or in your patio pots? We’re sharing ten beautiful ideas with you here, complete with details like how much sun and water they’ll need to thrive. 

Let’s get started!


Heavenly Hydrangea Pairing

Gorgeous flowering hydrangeas are some of the most widely planted shrubs across North America. If you’re struggling to know what to pair with them, first take a look at how much space you have to work with. In most cases, you’ll want low growing plants like the Dolce® ‘Wildberry’ coral bells you see here to grow around the base of your hydrangeas. By using something short, you won’t cover up any of those amazing hydrangea blooms.

A few more details make this a perfect plant pairing:

  • The soft pink tones of the Invincibelle Spirit II® smooth hydrangea flowers pictured here coordinate beautifully with the fruity purple tones of the coral bells.
  • Both enjoy similar growing conditions.
  • In the North, they will thrive together in full sun to part sun. In the South, they will both need some protection from the hot afternoon sun.
  • Both enjoy average amounts of moisture, meaning the soil isn’t soggy but doesn’t dry out either.
  • Both need well-drained soil.
  • Their hardiness zones are similar. Invincibelle Spirit II smooth hydrangea: zones 3-8. Dolce® ‘Wildberry’: zones 4-9.


Bold Colors, Strong Plants

When you grow our extra-vigorous Supertunia Vista® petunias, you’ll need to pair them with something equally vigorous to make it a perfect pairing. If you choose a partner that is too small or grows slowly, it can quickly be swallowed up by all those petunia blooms. Don’t underestimate how large and fast they will grow.

Here, our Suncredible® Yellow multiflora sunflowers are paired perfectly with Supertunia Vista® Paradise petunias. Both are strong, quick growers that thrive in full sun and warm, summer weather. They need average amounts of moisture and appreciate an application of continuous release plant food mixed into the soil when you plant them. Since the sunflowers grow at least 2-3’ tall, they’ll grow big enough to be seen behind the petunias without being overrun.

Want more ideas for what to plant with Supertunia Vista® petunias? Here’s a list of recipes.


Elegant Texture for Shade

If you garden in the shade, you probably are already growing some hostas. While they have interesting foliage, you can spruce up that space even more by adding a few colorful caladiums and silver speckled lungwort foliage. Ferns make a great textural addition, too. Here, Heart to Heart® ‘Splash of Wine’ caladiums are paired with ‘Spot On’ lungwort and young Shadowland® ‘Wheee!’ and ‘Waterslide’ hostas. As the hostas mature and gain more of their mature traits, the blend of textures will be even more outstanding.

What makes this a perfect plant pairing:

  • All of the plants prefer part shade to nearly full shade conditions and rich, moist soil.
  • The shapes of the leaves are all similar, producing a quilt-like effect.
  • The soft pastel tones comprise a soothing color palette.
  • These plants all grow at about the same rate and have a similar habit, so they won’t overrun one another as they mature.
  • Hostas and lungwort are both hardy in zones 3-9. The caladiums are replanted each year.


Hot Fun in the Summertime

This whimsical pairing of Pyromania® ‘Hot and Cold’ red hot pokers and ‘Firefly Peach Sky’ yarrow is at its peak in midsummer when both perennials are in full bloom. But the show doesn’t stop there! Since both varieties are rebloomers, you’ll get a repeat performance after a brief lull, lasting until the fall. By planting two varieties with similar orange tones, you’ll create a monochromatic effect in your design.

Both of these perennials need full sun, heat, average well-drained soil, and no supplemental fertilizer to grow well. Plant them where the sprinklers barely reach—daily watering would be their demise. Firefly yarrow is hardy in zones 3-8. Our red hot pokers grow in zones 5b-9.


Easy Foundation Bed Makeover

Here’s a unique solution to liven up boring foundation plantings for the summertime. If your traditional home has a row of evergreens growing up along the foundation with nothing in front of them, consider widening your bed to accommodate some colorful annuals. By doing so, you’ll retain the coverage in winter but bring far more curb appeal to the bed in the summer.

Here, a grouping of 2 to 2 ½’ tall annual ‘Sky Rocket’ grasses was planted in front of a row of evergreen shrubs that are up against the house. In front of them, a mass of 6-12” low growing Supertunia Mini Vista® petunias in shades of White and Violet Star was planted between the grasses and rock border. You can use any shade of petunias you like, just make sure to choose these shorter Mini Vistas so your grasses won’t get overrun. They will form a solid carpet of flowers that lasts from planting time until frost without deadheading.

Grow this combination in full sun with average moisture in all but the hottest climates in the summertime. An application of continuous release plant food mixed into the soil when you plant will help your flowers thrive all season.



Lunchtime at the Pollinator Buffet

If you want to draw in pollinating bees, butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long, this is the perfect plant pairing for you! It works in large containers or in the landscape as long as lots and lots of sunshine is provided. These plants do not need any shade and love the heat. Average to somewhat dry soil is suitable for both, too. The blanket flower will be happy to “blanket” the feet of the cuphea without vying for the same space in the pot.

Vermillionaire® cuphea acts as the “thriller” in this pairing—the tall element with cigar-shaped, orange-red flowers that appear prolifically without deadheading for the entire summer. You will be amazed how quickly and easily hummingbirds find this plant! We’ve paired it here with an equally sun and heat tolerant annual blanket flower called Heat it Up® Scarlet, which is also available in Yellow. Plant Scarlet for a monochromatic look, or Yellow if you prefer a mixed color palette.


Early Summer Eye-Catcher

While it’s a good idea to plant perennials that bloom at different times so there’s always something flowering in your landscape, small pairings of plants that bloom together are always eye-catching. A classic combination for early summer (or late spring in the South) is dianthus and salvia. Here, a 6-8” tall grouping of ‘Paint the Town Magenta’ dianthus is planted in front of a 20-22” tall clump of Color Spires® ‘Indiglo Girl’ perennial salvia. Both share a similar bloom time early in the season, with some rebloom throughout the summer and early fall.

A few more details make this a perfect plant pairing:

  • Both plants need 6+ hours of sun to flower prolifically. They do not grow well in shade.
  • Both like the same kind of soil—well-drained soil that’s not too rich in nutrients and dries out a bit between waterings.
  • The contrasting shape and scale of the plants creates a layering effect with the taller plants in back and a carpet of shorter plants in front.
  • Their hardiness zones are similar. ‘Indiglo Girl’ salvia: zones 3-8. ‘Paint the Town Magenta’ dianthus: zones 4-9.
  • Both plants are fragrant, which helps them be more deer resistant and attract pollinators.



Elegant COR-TEN® Steel Container Planting

If an elegant, upscale container planting is just what your sunny space needs, try this perfect plant pairing in a large COR-TEN® steel planter. The recipe, named Rustic Chic, combines these elements:

  • Prince Tut® Cyperus grass - thriller
  • Fiber Optic grass - spiller
  • Diamond Frost® euphorbia - filler
  • Superbells® Over Easy calibrachoa – filler and spiller

A monochromatic white palette paired with verdant greens brings a clean, bright feeling and simply elegant look to this container. While both grasses prefer consistent moisture, the calibrachoa and euphorbia won’t mind that their planting partners steal some of the moisture away between waterings. Both types of flowers need only average moisture to thrive. A weekly to bi-weekly application of water-soluble plant food focused around the calibrachoa is recommended.

Learn more about how to pair plants together successfully in containers in this article.



A Flowering Succulent Carpet

Along the edge of a dry, sunny flower bed or pathway, or planted at the feet of a heat-tolerant shrub is where this carpet of succulents will thrive. It combines the fantastic textural foliage of Lemon Coral® sedum with the all-summer flowering Mojave® Fuchsia moss rose to create a vibrant mass of cheerful color all season. Since they share a similar growth rate, you won’t have to worry about one outcompeting the other for space.

Going away for the weekend or forgetting to water for a few days won’t set these drought tolerant succulents back. They continue to shine through the heat and won’t need to be fertilized to stay in bloom from planting time until frost. Though Lemon Coral sedum is perennial in zones 7-11, you’ll want to replant annual Mojave moss roses each spring. Try a different color every year! They come in these five fun colors.



Purple + Chartreuse = A Winning Combination Every Time

If you struggle with color pairings, try purple and chartreuse together. It works every time, whether you’re looking for container companions or larger plantings for the landscape. Here, we’ve paired ‘Miss Violet’ butterfly bush with Fluffy® Western arborvitae. The purple-violet summertime blooms and glowing chartreuse-gold evergreen foliage will easily catch your eye and that of pollinators who are happy to stop by the butterfly bush for lunch.

What makes this a perfect plant pairing:

  • Contrasting colors of foliage and flowers
  • Shape and scale of the two plants, with one not overpowering the other
  • Year-round structure and interest from pairing an evergreen with a deciduous shrub
  • Both plants absolutely require well-drained soil and thrive in full sun, though Fluffy can take a bit of shade.
  • Their hardiness zones are similar. Butterfly bush: zones 5-9. Western arborvitae: zones 5-8.



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