Companion planting is a concept that suggests planting certain species together will have a mutually beneficial effect on both plants. When it comes to planting your bulbs, you want to ensure you will have the best effect, visually. Here are some companion planting suggestions for the most beautiful garden beds. They work, whether you’re looking to fill a dry and hardy spot, or a rich and moist area.
Full sun companion planting buddies
DIERAMA PAUCIFLORUM – This plant enjoys full sun. They grow in clumps, making them a great addition to a garden bed that needs a dash of colour. Companion planting is most effective with plants like thyme or lavender – which also enjoy full sun. The purple flowers and silver leaves of the lavender bush complement the soft pinks. Give each plant enough room to grow and expand without becoming cramped. Companion planting needs to be considerate of each plant’s personal space.
HEMEROCALLIS, also known as Daylilies, are typically golden or maroon and love full sun. They’ll draw attention with their bright hues, so make sure they’re surrounded by complementing flowers that will accentuate their golden hues. Coreopsis, while a fairly common flower variety, create a magnificent colour theme when combined with daylilies. Add a few deep purple perennial salvias to the companion planting mix and you have the starkest but most gorgeous contrast.
Semi-shade companion planting buddies
CLIVIA MINIATA – Clivias. Their dark green leaves are beautifully contrasted if they’re companioned with mint. The mint will need to be trimmed back from time to time as it spreads fast. Mint is also ideal because its bright green clumps can creep under the leaves of the clivias, creating a fuller and denser look in a garden bed.
Marshy soil companion planting buddies
LILIUM ASIATIC – The beautiful trumpet-shaped Lilium is best companioned with another plant that complements its clumping qualities. Sharing a love for moist and rich soil, the easy to grow Hosta (Plantain lilies) make grand clumps of their own, in between the clumps of Liliums. Their flowers come in white, lavender, or purple and the beautiful foliage extends to around 15cm in size, making a colourful companion planting bed.
CYRTANTHUS BREVIFLORUS EVERGREEN is a spritely little yellow flower and thrives in marshy conditions. Add a dash of refreshing white by planting them near Zantedeschia. Variety in terms of flower size will provide an interesting assortment for the eyes. Other plants that do well in marshy conditions include Siberian and Japanese Irises (not walking Irises, which require excellent drainage). Companion planting these marshy species together can transform a damp and muddy area into a prized garden bed.
Arid, rocky, and dusty companion planting buddies
AMMOCHARIS CORANICA is acclimated to scarce rainfall and poor soils. This variety spruces up dull areas and neglected garden beds (sometimes the soil is poor because it is sheltered from rainfall). Add a few succulents, like aloes and vygies, which enjoy hardy conditions. Be sure to water thoroughly once in a while, emulating the natural desert conditions where rainfall is scarce but deep when it does come.
Companion planting for garden bed longevity
Understanding the soil preference and water requirements of various species helps you to make informed decisions and implement companion planting effectively. If you’ve taken the time to do this research, it also means your garden beds are more likely to thrive and not just survive, as each plant contributes to the growth and success of its neighbour.
Companion planting is also beneficial in vegetable gardening, where heavy feeders, like potatoes, are companioned with nitrogen-depositing plants, like legumes. Some of the greatest companions that are both hardy and pretty are marigolds – they’re fantastic natural insect deterrents!
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