Using Plants For Color: Ideas For Garden Color Schemes
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Adding color in the garden is more than simply picking a bunch of colorful garden plants. Read on to find out what these are and get additional tips to help make this endeavor an easier one.
Choosing Colorful Garden Plants
Working in plant sales, I am often asked to suggest the best plants for color. I usually answer this question with other questions – like “Are you looking for color in a sunny location or in shade?” and “What colors do you feel most drawn to, and why?” These are things to consider when picking out colorful garden plants.
Additionally, garden color schemes can have various effects on the look and mood of the landscape.
- Warm color combinations, like yellow, orange and red, can make a large garden bed seem smaller or a distant bed seem closer, while also creating an upbeat, energetic mood to the garden.
- Cool color combinations such as blue, purple and silver can make a small bed seem larger, while creating a calm, relaxing environment.
The color wheel is helpful when planning garden color schemes. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like blue and violet or orange and yellow, are considered harmonious. Colors that appear opposite each other on the color wheel, like violet and yellow or red and green, are considered complimentary or contrasting.
You can also use monochromatic colors when adding color in the garden. For instance, if blue is your favorite color, you could create a bed of different plants with blue flowers or foliage, such as globe blue spruces, hydrangeas, caryopteris, and campanula.
Using Plants for Color in Shade
When choosing the best plants for color in a shade garden, keep in mind that bright colors will brighten up a shady area, while darker colors can make it appear bleak or get lost in the shade.
For example, it is easy to fall in love with all the variations of heuchera, but it is best to combine them with contrasting plants like bright pink astilbe, golden Japanese forest grass, or neutral colors like green, white and silver.
Using Plants for Color in Sun
Choosing colorful garden plants for a sunny bed is much easier, as sun-loving plants tend to be quite colorful. Just choose your preferred color scheme – harmonious, complimentary or monochromatic – and have fun with it.
Add brightly colored garden accents like chairs, trellises and bird baths for more color and texture.
Color Throughout the Growing Season
Colorful garden plants come in all varieties. For color that lasts throughout the growing season, pay attention to plant flowering periods and use a variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs and even trees, if you’d like.
Annuals can be the best plants for color throughout the growing season because many of them have long flowering periods and keep the color going after spring perennials have faded but summer plants have not yet flowered. Annuals also give you room to play and try out new things each year; if you have monochromatic shrubs and perennials, you can still try out a bolder garden color scheme by planting contrasting annuals.
Many spring- or summer-flowering shrubs have colorful fall foliage, adding color in the garden even after most flowers have faded.
Rejuvenate Your Garden with Fresh Summer Color
Refresh your gardens and containers midseason by adding a new grouping of colorful flowers or perennials to carry you through to fall. Here's how to do it.
Summer is the perfect time to gather friends and family together for a backyard barbeque and a game of horseshoes. Now if there was only something you could do about the petunias the dog trampled, or that great spring plant that suddenly gave up its will to live… Or maybe you’d like to freshen up the containers by your front entryway. If you are like many people, you might assume that since the heat of summer has settled in, you will just have to live with what you have.
What you might not realize is that with careful plant selection, it is possible to rejuvenate your garden with a burst of eye-catching, summer color to fill in those empty spaces and flower pots. One important factor to consider when editing your garden in the summer is choosing plants that have natural heat tolerance. Plants that like the heat have a better chance of getting established in the summertime. You will need to take some extra care for the first couple of weeks to keep your new plants well-watered as they get established in their new home.
You might also consider buying larger-sized plants in summer. Larger plants have bigger root systems which help them absorb enough water to be able to handle the high temperatures. Larger plants will also look more in scale with surrounding plants if you are filling in a hole in the landscape midseason.
So, which plants should you have on your summer shopping list? Here are a few ideas.
ANGELFACE ® Angelonia,
commonly known as summer snapdragon, is an upright flowering annual that thrives during the warmest part of the season. Lean in close on a warm, sunny day and catch a whiff of concord grapes from the scented foliage. This South American native can handle dry conditions once it is established. Standing 2 to 3 feet tall, it’s a great plant for adding height to containers and landscapes.
Cuphea and Salvia are two classes of plants that are stalwarts in summer gardens and are prized for their fantastic heat and humidity tolerance. Vermillionaire ® Cuphea is one of the best annuals for attracting hummingbirds with its tubular, deep orange flowers that appear all season long.
You’ll start to see summer and fall flowering cultivars of native perennials like SUMMERIFIC ® Hibiscus and PRAIRIE WINDS ® Panicum pop up at your local garden centers by midsummer. Later blooming perennials like these need the long, warm days of summer to produce flower buds and put on their best show late in the season. Fast growing, heat loving perennials like ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian sage and ROCK ‘N GROW ® sedums are also good to plant in midsummer for a spectacular fall show every year.
Hydrangeas are classic summer flowering shrubs that are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are commonly found at garden centers in summer. Panicle hydrangeas begin to bloom in mid to late summer and last through the fall months. If you leave the dried flowers intact, they’ll give you something pretty to look at out the window all winter long. If you plant them in summer, make sure to water them deeply and regularly so they can establish a good root system before winter arrives.
Spring doesn’t have to be the beginning and end of the planting season. By choosing the appropriate plants for each season, you can add beautiful color to your garden in spring, summer and fall.
Learn more about specialized plants for every season:
Patent Info: Angelface ® Angelonia USPPAF CanPBRAF. Vermillionaire ® Cuphea USPPAF CanPBRAF. Summerific ® Hibiscus USPPAF CanPBRAF. Prairie Winds ® Panicum virgatum USPPAF CanPBRAF. 'Denim 'n Lace' Perovskia atriplicifolia USPPAF CanPBRAF. Rock ‘n Grow Sedum USPPAF CanPBRAF.
FOLIAGE PLANTS FOR SHADE
Shadowland® ‘Autumn Frost’ hosta. Photo by Proven Winners.
Regarded as queen of the shade garden, and it’s easy to see why. Hosta is grown for its attractive foliage in a wide variety of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes ranging from teacup to truck tire-sized. This tough-as-nails plant is reliably hardy in colder zones, and performs best when provided with rich, well-amended soil and regular water. Many varieties tolerate deep shade and difficult sites, such as underneath trees. They combine well with many woodland plants that grow in shade, including coral bells, ferns, and columbine. These long-lived favorites will reward you with years of reliable color in the garden.
2 inches to 4 feet tall, 5 inches to 6 feet wide
Plants to Try:
Shadowland® ‘Autumn Frost’, ‘Patriot’, ‘Blue Angel’, ‘Golden Tiara’, or ‘June’.
Primo® ‘Peachberry Ice’. Photo by Proven Winners.
For a nearly endless choice of foliage colors, patterns and forms, coral bells (Heuchera) fits the bill. From lemon yellow to nearly black, there’s a hue to match every garden palette, making this a landscape designer’s dream plant. The flowers that explode like fireworks above the foliage in late spring/early summer are just the icing on the cake. The easy-care nature of this semi-evergreen perennial—including tolerance of a wide variety of light and soil conditions—makes this an ideal choice for most landscapes. They perform best in rich, well-draining soil that stays evenly moist. Coral bells are a versatile design element, suitable for mixed borders, mass plantings and containers.
8 to 12 inches tall, 1 to 2 feet wide flower stalks can reach 2 to 3 feet tall
Plants to Try:
Primo® ‘Peachberry Ice’, ‘Marmalade’, ‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Red Lightning’.
Maidenhair fern. Photo by Janet Loughrey.
Ferns are some of the oldest living plants, dating back to the age of the dinosaurs. A must-have addition to any woodland or shade garden, these reliable perennials are grown for their attractive fronds that lend texture and form to the landscape. There are dozens of garden-worthy species that are adapted to a wide variety of conditions. Most require rich soil and plenty of moisture, though some such as Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) are drought-tolerant after establishment, making them a good choice for challenging sites such as dry shade. Ferns pair well with nearly any woodland shade plant such as primrose (Primula), bishop’s hat (Epimedium), hosta (Hosta), masterwort (Astrantia) and wood sorrel (Oxalis).
From the smallest fern in the world that measures just one-centimeter tall to tree-sized forms, there’s a size to fit every landscape.
There’s a fern suitable to nearly every zone, from northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum, Z. 3) to species that thrive in tropical rain forests.
Plants to Try:
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum), maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum).
Heart to Heart™ 'Rose Glow'. Photo by Proven Winners.
For an exotic feel in the garden, few plants rival the bold impact of angel wings (Caladium). Made popular as a Victorian conservatory plant, this tropical annual is grown for its arrow-shaped leaves in hues from pure white to multi-colored variegation. It’s most valuable for adding vibrant color to the darkest corners of your yard where bright colors can be scarce. Caladium can be grown from tubers or purchased as plants. Since they require a lot of heat to grow, they will do best when obtained as plants for those in cooler climates or without a heat source such as a greenhouse or heating mat. Grow as a bedding plant or in containers and combine with impatiens, begonias, and fuchsias.
6 inches to 3 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide
Plants to Try:
ColorBlaze® Rediculous™ coleus. Photo by Proven Winners.
One of the most popular summer annuals is coleus (Plectranthus, syn. Solenostemon), grown for its foliage that comes in a never-ending array of patterns, forms and colors. Coleus prefer rich soil that drains well and regular water, and can easily be reproduced from cuttings. Foliage color is best when planted in areas that get some direct light in the morning and protection from hot afternoon sun. This tropical is extremely versatile as a design element use as a stand-alone accent, massed as bedding plants, or in front of a mixed border. Combine in containers with flowering annuals such as million bells, impatiens, or fuchsia.
2 to 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide
Plants to Try:
Golden Japanese forest grass. Photo by Janet Loughrey.
One of the few ornamental grasses that thrives in shade is Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra). This deciduous perennial grows in low, mounding clumps. Golden or variegated species are valuable for lighting up darker areas with their foliage. Tolerant of varying light conditions from partial sun to deep shade, Japanese forest grass prefers rich, well-draining soil and regular moisture. Design uses are many: grow as a groundcover, massed along a slope, as a foundation planting, in containers or in the front of a mixed border. The graceful, arching habit and flowing leaf texture contrasts beautifully alongside hostas, hellebores, ferns and coral bells.
1 to 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide
Plants to Try:
‘Aureola’, ’All Gold’, ‘Albo Striata’, ‘Nicolas’.
Soon after I moved into my 100-year-old home, I decided to have its brown-and-white exterior painted. In considering my color options, I looked to my preferences and to colors that would suit the venerable style of the architecture. Equally important was my decision to coordinate the palette of my garden and house for an artful appearance and cohesive design.
One way to link a house and garden is to use paint colors that can be repeated in foliage or flowers. For my house, I chose a silvery moss green accentuated by a burgundy trim. I knew that these colors would suit my home’s charm and provide a fitting background for the garden I envisioned.
Your house color is a backdrop for your gardenA planting of vivid magenta blooms, with yellow and chartreuse accents, provides the right amount of contrast for a beige house.
Photo/Illustration: Stephanie Fagan
Another, easier way to link your garden and house is to match your plant colors to house colors. As you select a plant palette, your biggest decision may be to determine how many colors to include. I find that simple color schemes often work best. Palettes may be sophisticated, natural, or dramatic, depending on your style. I recommend buying a color wheel at an art-supply store and using it to identify colors that will offer pleasing harmony or contrast to your house.
House colors that are easiest to integrate with a garden are the greens, browns, and beiges of nature. When a house already blends with the surrounding landscape, the color provided by flowers is needed only for contrast. In this instance, most colors that show up well against your house will work.
Pastel-colored houses are colorful yet can also softly meld into the natural landscape. When dealing with a pastel-colored house, the garden’s color scheme should relate to—or contrast nicely with—the house color. A cool house color, such as blue, green, or purple, works well with cool plant colors because they are harmonious. Similarly, houses painted in warm colors of light yellow, pink, or apricot would harmonize with plantings that feature warm colors. To liven things up, combine colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. A blue house paired with orange flowers, for example, provides maximum contrast.
Bright house colors are dramatic and should be paired with equally spectacular colors in the garden. Repeat the house colors as closely as possible and for as long as possible through the year. With a bright house color, I like to include rich plantings of annuals in long-lasting, vivid hues. Sometimes I also add slightly deeper shades of these colors, especially through the use of foliage.
Muted colors or those with gray in their pigment are more versatile as backdrops than pure pastels or very bright colors. An exact match between plants and paint is not as important with muted shades they tend to coordinate with slightly differing hues, much as a tweed coat does.
Brick houses often fit in this muted category. Usually relating to the “hot” side of the color wheel—orange, red, and yellow—brick houses are best planted with other hot colors. Precisely matching the brick color and plantings is not necessary.
Varying your planting colorsSubdued neutrals in front Dynamic contrast at the side Bright highlights in the back
The green and burgundy of my house make good backdrop colors for planting schemes. As the predominant color of nature, green serves to unify any landscape. Red is the complement of green—its opposite on the color wheel—and thus offers strong contrast. However, the subdued form of red I chose—a ruddy burgundy—paired with a silvery moss green creates a complementary scheme that soothes rather than shouts.
Subdued neutrals in front
In our front-yard cottage garden beneath the canopy of a Norway maple, greens with silver-gray foliage brighten the scene. Key plants include silver-leaved lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus, USDA Hardiness Zones 6–9), silver sage (Salvia argentea, Zones 5–8), and a silver-gray juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’, Zones 3–9). Plants with hints of burgundy include Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ (Zones 4–9), bugleweeds (Ajuga spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), and Heuchera cultivars (Zones 3–8).
Dynamic contrast at the side
Purple and yellow are the key colors in a sunny, south-facing border between the driveway and the house. From spring’s golden daffodils and mahogany and yellow tulips through the fall spectacle of purple asters, goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’, Zones 5–9), and Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ (Zones 3–9), there’s always an interplay of contrasts. Two dark-leaved woody plants—a purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, Zones 5–9) and a purple beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Pendula’, Zones 4–7)—repeat the trim color and anchor the far ends of this border.
Bright highlights in the back
White draws the most attention and should be used with care. I look to white primarily for a focal point or to unite a space. In our back garden, which surrounds a patio, I use this potent color sparingly and as a connector. The repetition of the white blooms of hosta (Hosta cvs., Zones 3–9) and other plants throughout the season is offset by sprinklings of violet-purple flowers and accents of burgundy foliage.
How to work with whiteThe soft yellow of the evening primroses enhances a white house, and the white snow daisies link it to the landscape.
Photo/Illustration: Steve Silk
White is a strong color that draws the eye and is the last color visible in the fading light of evening. When I design a garden for a white house, I use white as a repeating element. I weave drifts of white flowers, white-variegated foliage, and white garden structures throughout the space to link house and garden.
The repetitive use of white in the landscape also works well for pastel houses and for those with white or off-white trim. Or you may prefer to use white as a dramatic accent a mass of white petunias can lead the eye to your front door.
For houses painted in dark shades, stark white may offer too much contrast. White is too shrill against my somber green house. I use it sparingly I often use creams and yellows to provide the brightness of tone needed for contrast.
I approach garden design in the same way I choose jewelry and accessories to accent an outfit. Most of all, I have fun with the process. My goal is to imaginatively link a house and garden to create a lovely ensemble.
For common house colors, which planting colors look best?Beige or green White Yellow
You don’t need to repaint your home’s exterior to create a pleasing scheme with your garden. Work instead with the existing colors of your house, and choose plants that coordinate with them.
If possible, repeat the color of the trim or roof throughout a garden. I recommend the use of white or off-white plantings as accents or unifying elements with any house that has white or cream in its paint scheme.
To spur some ideas for palettes, I’ve selected several potential planting schemes for each of six popular house colors.
Beige or green
Neutrals are the easiest colors to plant against because flower and foliage colors are needed only for contrast. Repeat roof or trim colors in plantings. A classic color scheme would include violet blue, soft rosy red, lavender, and yellow plantings. Avoid using too many bold colors.
An abundance of white or pastel blue, yellow, and pink plants will unify the house and landscape. Avoid only dark, rich colors because they will look harsh against white. It’s fine to use darker colors sparingly, as small, sharply contrasting details. Foliage that is blue, silver, or variegated also makes a good accent.
Almost any color goes well with a yellow house. Contrasting plantings of lavender and purple, which is yellow’s opposite on the color wheel, will make a dramatic statement. Use golden- or cream-variegated foliage to add more yellow to the landscape.
Hot colors—oranges, yellows, scarlet—are naturals against brick, as are the more mellow peach-pinks and soft yellows. Violet-blue flowers or burgundy leaves make good accents. Avoid cool purple-reds and lavender-pinks because they may clash with brick.
Many soft colors work well against brown. Using pale and deep pinks and yellows, along with burgundy, will create a rich and mellow look. Purples or reds may not show up well against brown but may be fine as accents.
When planting against a blue house, take a strong cue from the color wheel. Choose blue’s color-wheel opposite—soft orange, golden yellow, copper—for an energetic look, or choose neighboring colors—lavender, blue, purple—to cool down the scene. Silver or blue-green foliage makes a subtle accent. Burgundy may be difficult to integrate well.
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Japanese Garden Plants
Rely on the right plants to create a richly beautiful experience and ambience in your Japanese garden.
'Red Dragon' Japanese Maple
'Red Dragon' features deeply-dissected purple leaves that turn bright apple-red in the fall. Its slow growth habit and size, maturing at 7 to 8 feet, makes this tree perfect for containers.
Weave a spell of simplicity in your yard with a Japanese garden. These sparsely appointed spaces create a place for quiet contemplation and reflection with their blend of rocks, water and plants. Accent the hardscape in your Asian-inspired space with Japanese garden plants. These plants can hail from any group, including trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, natives and ornamental grasses. Make your selections based on plant form and traditional Japanese garden plant symbolism.
A true Japanese garden seeks to emulate the natural world, striving to capture and re-create a natural scene almost in miniature. Rocks in the garden represent mountains or islands, and pebbles may symbolize water. Trickling water features and ponds are also part of the scenery. Trees, shrubs and low-growing plants complete the garden.
Japanese garden plants play key roles in this garden design and are usually chosen for their symbolism. Pine trees and other evergreens represent longevity and stability. Their evergreen nature takes center stage in winter months, when other plants in the garden are dormant. In a small garden space, focus on small evergreens, such as dwarf mugo pine (Pinus mugo pumilio), Baby Blue sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Baby Blue’) or Black Dragon Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica‘Black Dragon’).
Bamboo is a must-have Japanese garden plant. Some types are evergreen in some climates. In other regions, the leaves drop in autumn, and the jointed stems stand out through winter. Like pines, bamboo represents longevity and also happiness.
Bamboo falls into two categories: clumping (non-running) and running. Clumping types have tamer natures that won’t overrun modern, small garden spaces. Running bamboo will quickly overtake a garden. Research bamboos before choosing ones for your garden. Some have colorful stems, some have beautiful foliage, and some are cold-hardy.
The classic Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) belongs in a Japanese garden as a reminder of the changing seasons—in the year and in life. Look for Japanese maples with a variety of eye-catching growth features. Aoyagi Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Aoyagi’) unfurls chartreuse foliage, while Black Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Nigrum’) has leaves that shift from black-red to deep purple-red. Coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sangokaku’) has brilliant coral-red bark that sparkles against winter snow.
Flowering plum trees are prized Japanese garden plants because they’re one of the first to bloom in spring. As a result, they represent the esteemed qualities of patience and vigor. Flowering almond (Prunus glandulosa ‘Rosa Plena’), a blooming shrub, also greets spring early with blossom-bedecked boughs. Flowering cherry and crabapple trees are also treasured Japanese garden plants for the color they bring to spring scenes.
Color in a Japanese garden is fleeting, not a permanent fixture. It’s a gentle reminder of the brief nature of life, and the blooms serve to inspire reflection and self-examination. Commonly used Japanese garden plants that unfurl flowers include peony, chrysanthemum and, near water features, Japanese water iris (Iris ensata).
Flowering shrubs include azalea, camellia and hydrangea, all of which provide strong winter interest. Colorful, fragrant wisteria vine is another must-have bloomer frequently found in Japanese gardens. Its dangling flower clusters, reaching tendrils and twisted vines add exquisite beauty to the garden.
How To : Choose colorful flowers & shrubs for the garden
- By WiseGal 4/22/10 7:33 AM
This video makes suggestions in how to choose colorful flowers and shrubs in your garden. Bowle's Mauve is a purple flowering plant that will grow and bloom until fall. It will become bushy. Another colorful choice is the Rock Rose, a pinkish flower. The Blue Salvia has blue flowers. A Bank's Rose, only bloom for a short time. It has yellow or white flowers. Aphids tend to attack it, but it is hearty. Wooly Butterfly Bush has orange ball shaped flowers. It will grow to 4-5 feet tall. It's leaves will add a different texture to your garden. You will need to keep in mind the amount of sun exposure you have, the climate, and soil conditions.Make sure that your soil is well drained.
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10 Garden Filler Plants
Colorful plants that offer sweeping swathes of color are wonderful additions to landscapes. As I well know, filling those large spaces - I have a 60 foot by 8-foot bed where I fill in lots of space with annuals - can get expensive. I love how annuals provide constant, all-summer color and flexibility to change my color scheme. I also enjoy a good deal which is why I often choose fast-growing, wide-spreading annuals that I can depend on to fill the border with color. Here are some of my favorites for adding lots of color with not that many plants.
Sweet Caroline Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine
When we think of color in our gardens, flowers are most likely our first thought, but colorful foliage is another awesome way to fill landscape beds. Foliage color is constant and you don't have to worry that plants might go out of flower. Sweet Carolines come in red, purple-black and chartreuse and a variety of foliage shapes. Regular Sweet Carolines have deeply lobed leaves. Sweet Caroline Sweethearts have heart-shaped leaves and the Sweet Caroline Bewitched varieties have pointed, maple-leaf shaped foliage with lots of texture. Our newest introduction is Sweet Caroline Red Hawk ® . New leaves open chartreuse and then turn bronze to deep red.
6-16” tall, Up to 3 feet wide. Sun and shade.
Heart to Heart ® Caladiums
Caladiums are another great foliage option. Traditionally caladiums are shade plants but, our Heart to Heart ® series includes options for both sun and shade. Be sure to check your plant tags, they will note the exposure each caladium does best in. They are versatile, easily fill borders in the landscape, create gorgeous patio planters and are perfect as a thriller in container recipes. It’s a diverse set of 20 different colors including the first violet and sun tolerant white. These tropical plants are grown from bulbs and can also be bought as plants. Pictured above is Heart to Heart ® 'Scarlet Flame'.
15-20” tall, up to 16” wide. Sun/shade and shade options.
Heat it up ™ Gaillardia
I love plants that have multiple traits to recommend them. This duo are not just fast-growing fillers, they are heat tolerant and pollinators adore them. The plants feature either scarlet-red flowers with yellow tips or sunny yellow flowers. They flower continuously all summer long without deadheading. I've never been near these plants in bloom without seeing a bevy of bees.
12-24” tall, Up to 3 feet wide. Part sun to sun.
Diamond Mountain ® Euphorbia
Mounds of airy white flowers look delicate but the plants are actually tough as nails. Plant these beauties, give them just a bit of water and plant food and they will pump out loads of flowers. The small plants you buy in spring will grow rapidly, quickly becoming 3 foot by 3-foot clouds.
24-36” tall. Up to 3 feet wide. Part sun to sun.
Supertunia ® Mini Vista Petunia
Supertunias are one of our most popular groups of plants. However, the Supertunia Mini Vista subset is less well-known – which is a crying shame because they are fantastic performers. These mounded plants come in 7 colors and feature abundant petite flowers that completely bury the foliage. As with all of our Supertunias, they do not need to be deadheaded. They will spread like crazy and fill in quickly all while attracting pollinators. The photo above features Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo, Supertunia Mini Vista White and Supertunia Mini Vista Violet Star, with Graceful Grasses ® 'Sky Rocket' Pennisetum in the background. I'd take that combo in my garden any day!
6-12” tall. 18-24” wide. Part sun to sun.
Supertunia Vista ® Petunia
Supertunia Vistas are Supertunia Mini Vistas big sister. Compared to Mini Vista, the Vistas mound up to 2 feet tall, I’ve had a single plant get more than 5 feet wide and flowers are about twice the size of a Mini Vista. If you are looking for a beautiful plant to fill the landscape it’s tough to beat a vista! They come in 5 colors in shades of pink and white – from Fuchsia to Snowdrift which is new this year.
6-12” tall, 18-24” wide. Part sun to sun.
Silver Bullet ® Artemesia
Often texture is the unsung hero of good garden design and Silver Bullet has texture in spades. The silvery-white foliage is eye-catching enough, but the furry look of the leaf surface combined with the deeply lobed foliage adds a whole new dimension. This plant is a bit of a beast – in a really good way. It’s a big, vigorous and fast-growing plant that will be an excellent addition to sunny borders.
Princess and Knight Lobularia
Snow Princess is a plant that changed everything I thought I knew about Sweet Alyssum. Unlike earlier types of alyssum, Snow Princess is very vigorous, it is truly heat tolerant (it blooms prolifically all summer in my Missouri garden) and is a great performer in landscapes. The group now includes 2 whites, a lavender and a purple version. The extra added bonus is these plants are incredibly fragrant and popular with pollinators.
10-16” tall. 24-48” wide. Part sun to Sun.
Mojave ® Portulaca
I’ve always loved the heat tolerance, drought tolerance, all-around toughness and bright jewel-toned colors of Portulaca. Their one drawback was their flower coverage was on the sparse side – especially when compared to a Supertunia which tends to be buried in flowers. Well, things have improved to the point that our Mojaves are full of color and a wonderful pollinator plant. You won't be disappointed if you include these tough and colorful annuals in your garden. Available in four colors.
Superbena ® Verbena
Superbenas come in a wide range of colors including shades of red, white, salmon, pink and purple – a total of 18 different options. It is a cornucopia of color to use in your garden. Superbenas are vigorous, spreading plants with large flower clusters. They are fantastic additions to borders and beds where they are sure to attract butterflies. In addition to being wonderful landscape plants, they are a great spiller in patio planters and hanging baskets.
6-12” tall. 18-30” wide. Part sun to Sun
Want to learn more?
Explore our Pinterest board on Layered Landscapes.
Learn how to use texture in your garden in this article.