Choosing plant combinations is an art, and we're here to show you how to perfect it with gorgeous annual and perennial plant combination ideas for any kind of garden. The garden is one of the best places to tap into your creativity and inner artist. Below you'll find a few annual and perennial plant combination ideas to get you started. These ideas are sure to spark some creativity, but there's so much more to explore when it comes to making artful plant choices.
Remember foliage is a color; consider your green tones — are they "warm" or "cool"?
Think in terms of height and layers. Keep mature plant heights in mind when layering your plant combinations.
Soften showy blooms with grasses and evergreens.
Use contrasting colors to create a lively "pop," or use tonal shades for a more soothing look.
Keep experimenting! Creativity in the garden never stops, and you're always bound to find something new that you love if you keep paying attention with curiosity.
Lively Combination Ideas for Containers and Borders
Here are a few ideas of ways that you can pull three cheerful colors together (in the first two options) OR three shades of the same color (third option) to achieve a lively, welcoming display. These examples show ways that you can combine bright, "happy" colors, or colors that communicate joy, in containers or borders in your front porch or yard to welcome people to your home, and instantly put visitors in a good mood.
A superior annual for color, blooms, and all-season performance, this hybrid petunia blooms from spring until the first hard frost and makes a great partner to other colorful blooms. Up to 14" tall, 18" wide. Annual
Forms a dense mat of bright color in garden beds and looks great as a "spiller" in container combos, too! Plus, this creeping variety is more heat tolerant than garden phlox. Up to 6" tall. 3' wide. Zones 3-9.
Masses of golden yellow flowers bloom from spring until frost on this beautiful spreading lantana. A beautiful container specimen. Up to 3' tall, 8' wide. Annual.
Dark Meets Light Perennial Combination Ideas
These dark and dramatic plant combinations were inspired by the "Dark Meets Light" garden trend that you can learn about in the Garden Trends webinar. These beautiful perennial combinations are also great examples of the "height matters" and "foliage is a color" tips above. They combine plants with deep, dark foliage and contrast them against light blooms or a cool-tone groundcover. These combinations utilize a taller back layer, mid-sized middle layer, and short groundcover to achieve a balanced look that allows you to fully enjoy what all the plants have to offer.
A low-maintenance shrub that offers a high visual impact. Deep burgundy stems are covered in mildew-resistant, dark-burgundy purple leaves on a densely branched dwarf form. Pale pink flowers pop against dark foliage in spring and summer. Up to 4' tall and wide. Zones 4-8.
The deep, dark purple-red foliage of this stunning heuchera is sun tolerant and lovely when combined with other dark-foliage plants or used as a contrast with bright foliage and blooms. Up to 18" tall, 15" wide. Zones 4-9.
A favorite drought-tolerant grass for perennial and container planting in warm climes, with dense purple-maroon blades and rosy red plumes that look spectacular combined with bright blooms or other dark-foliaged plants. Up to 4' tall, 3' wide. Zones 8-11.
A hybrid succulent with the structure of an Agave and the fast growth and exciting colors of a Manfreda. The dark color and distinct structure look great combined with the softness of ornamental grass. Up to 10" tall, 22" wide. Zones 9-10.
Pair this low-growing, powdery blue-green succulent with the deep, dark foliage of plants like purple fountain grass or mangave for a gorgeous contrast. Up to 1' tall, 3' wide. Zones 10-11.
Refreshing and Refined Perennial Combination Ideas
Simplified color palettes like this one convey an understated elegance that is hard to achieve with bright blooms in multiple colors. In these combinations, you'll find a white-flowering shrub that acts as the refined focal point, an evergreen shrub as the foundational structure, and a strappy, variegated foliage plant as the soft, luminescent groundcover. This green-and-white color palette never goes out of style, and always has an elevated elegance.
Gorgeous as a foundation plant, massed, and combined with other classically beautiful shrubs, grasses, and perennials. Long-lasting blooms emerge pale green, turn white, and then blush as they age. Resists scorch and burn. Up to 3-1/2' tall, 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
Add the mounding fountain of ribbon-like, white-striped foliage to bring brilliant texture to partially shaded gardens. Classically beautiful when planted en masse as a groundcover, and when combined with colorful flowers in a container. Up to 15" tall, 24" wide. Zones 5-9.
Large, fragrant flowers bloom on this superior grafted selection with rootstock that is nematode resistant, tolerates poor soils, and takes in more soil nutrients. An elegant choice for straightforward color palettes. Up to 8' tall, 6' wide. Zones 8-11.
Dwarf, non-fruiting evergreen with a graceful dwarf habit and green leaves that have silvery-green undersides. Like the boxwood, it provides evergreen structure in the warm-zone garden. Up to 6' tall and wide. Zones 8-11.