Gardeners discovered that some plants grow better when grown in close proximity with another plant. Learn about four of the most stunning plant pairings out there! The concept of plant pairing, or companion planting, originated in the vegetable garden. Gardeners discovered that tomatoes and basil simply grow better when planted near one another, and that marigolds help almost all vegetables by repelling harmful insects. The concept of plant pairing doesn't have to be limited to growing food, however. Pairing perennials for their complementary beauty or season of blooming can bring a fresh look to your flower garden. Here are four of our favorite perennial pairs:
Allium and Hosta
Allium and hosta both thrive well in shade (One of the tricks to successful plant pairing, of course, is to make sure that both plants need the same growing conditions). These two plants have shapes that complement each other: allium stands tall, holding its round purple blooms like feathery balloons, while the decorative leaves of low-growing hosta make an interesting setting.
Miscanthus and Asters
Tall grasses like the miscanthus family can make a dramatic statement in your garden, and it's important to choose a companion flower that can hold its own next to such assertive plants.Asters are a good choice because they are strong growers and their palette of blues and purples will emerge in autumn, at the same time your miscanthus produces its creamy plumes.
Goldenrod and Stonecrop
Another pair of late-flowering stars are hybrid "fireworks" goldenrod and dark pink "autumn joy" stonecrop. Both blooming together, the sheer contrast serves to set each off. This variety of goldenrod got its name because its arching stems are starry looking, reminiscent of falling sprays of sparks. The sturdy stonecrop raises its rounded tufts at a lower level, providing a solid-looking structural contrast to the fragile goldenrod.
Yarrow and Veronica
These two hardy, drought resistant plants can be planted when you're looking for a monochrome palette that brings out the unique texture and shape of each plant. "Cerise queen" yarrow and "tickled pink" veronica will bloom together for weeks in almost the same shade of deep pink. Yarrow has broad, flat flower-heads, while Veronica blossoms are spiky and columnar. Think of plant pairing in terms of being an artist. Combining perennials into pairs and families according to color, shape, and season is a form of artwork, in which living organisms are your medium. Photo Credit: InAweofGod'sCreation via Flickr.