Save on Pinterest

12 Pretty (and Easy) Plant Combos

Variety is the spice of life. Try some of these savvy plant combinations to add flavor to your garden.

1 / 12
Irish Moss and Calla Lily

Irish Moss and Calla Lily

With two hues—emerald and lime—it's easy to make a pretty mosaic out of Irish moss (Sagina subulata), Zones 4–8. Use it as a groundcover or as the underplanting of a featured planter, as seen here. Then add an upright plant as a focal point, in this dramatic-looking calla lilies (Zantedeschia spp.), Zones 8–11 or annual. Photo: Luke Miller

2 / 12
Amsonia and Barberry

Amsonia and Barberry

Amsonia, also called bluestar, is a multiseason star. It's got light-blue flowers in spring and attractive, airy green summer foliage that turns golden yellow in fall. Here the dependable perennial (Zones 5–8) is joined by lime and burgundy barberry (Berberis spp.), Zones 4–8, offering interesting contrast throughout the growing season. Photo: Luke Miller

3 / 12
Groundcover Roses and Sedum

Groundcover Roses and Sedum

Groundcover roses bloom for an extended period. And they seldom need another groundcover. But with two levels to work with, it was a good opportunity to contrast the lime-green foliage of this Sedum against the dark green glossy foliage of the roses. Photo: Luke Miller

4 / 12
Heuchera and Ajuga

Heuchera and Ajuga

Here's some nice contrast from two shade-loving perennials: Black Scallop ajuga, sometimes called bugleweed (Zones 4–9), and Champagne Heuchera, also called coralbells (Zones 4–8). It can be fun to experiment with different cultivars. Meet some of the newest cultivars. Photo: Luke Miller

5 / 12
Shrub Roses and Sundrops

Shrub Roses and Sundrops

Shrub roses have a relaxed habit that doesn't look out of place in a natural setting. So why not pair them with an equally informal perennial? These yellow sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa), also known as evening primrose, offer a powerful punch of color. Knock Out roses are hardy in Zones 5–11 and sundrops are hardy in Zones 4–9. Photo: Luke Miller

6 / 12
Orchids and Selaginella

Orchids and Selaginella

Then there is this pairing of beautiful orchids surrounded by the ferny-looking spikemoss (Selaginella umbrosa) at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. Don't live in a tropical climate? Mimic the look with hardy ferns surrounding potted begonias. Photo: Luke Miller

7 / 12
Bedding Zinnias and Ageratum

Bedding Zinnias and Ageratum

These shorter yellow bedding zinnias (Zinnia haageana) won't overpower their companions. In fact, they make a rather spectacular partner for these blue ageratums. Both are annuals that will bloom all summer long with proper care. Photo: Luke Miller

8 / 12
Lilies and Larkspur

Lilies and Larkspur

Fragrant lilies deserve a place in any garden—and no one will complain if they're allowed to fly solo. But you can come up with some interesting looks by interspersing self-seeding annuals among your perennial lilies. The ferny foliage and pink and blue flowers of these larkspur (Consolida ajacis) pair nicely with the red lilies. Photo: Luke Miller

9 / 12
Purple Coneflower and Larkspur

Purple Coneflower and Larkspur

Speaking of larkspur, it looks particularly good interspersed with other wildflowers, such as the purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) seen here. While the coneflowers are perennials in Zones 4–9, the larkspur are annuals. However, they easily self-seed and come back year after year—just moving around a little bit each time. Looking for hardy plants for your boulevard? Check these out! Photo: Luke Miller

10 / 12
Fountain Grass, Salvia, Begonia and Calibrachoa

Fountain Grass, Salvia, Begonia and Calibrachoa

When working with a large bed, it's best to group plants to avoid a spotty look. It's also a good idea to mix up heights. The purple fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) makes a nice foil for the midsize blue salvia and the shorter white begonia and purple calibrachoa. Photo: Luke Miller

11 / 12
Pansies and Melampodium

Pansies and Melampodium

Pansies (Viola spp.) are a cool-season standout tailormade for spring and fall. When you plant them with a heat-tolerant annuals such as blackfoot daisy (Melampodium paludosum) you get extra bang for your buck because the melampodium can take over as temperatures heat up. Photo: Luke Miller

12 / 12
Chokecherry and MapleLuke Miller/OldsmobileTrees

Chokecherry and Maple

When it comes to pretty plant pairings, don't forget trees! The burgundy foliage of this chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) contrasts nicely with green companions in summer and even better in fall when other trees turn color, such as this maple (Acer spp.). Chokecherry is hardy in Zones 2–10 and maples are hardy in Zones 2–8, depending on cultivar. Meet some other interesting trees. Photo: Luke Miller

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.