Color in the garden

St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

Still planning landscaping and new to Florida, just wondering if you Floridians plan color combinations in your gardens. For example, in the back of the house, I have 6 daylily plants that need planting. 4 are in the purple/yellow combo and 2 are reds. Would you plant them together in the same garden or separate them into different gardens? Thanks, Karen

Tallahassee, FL(Zone 8b)

Of course, that's totally a matter of taste and is up to you.

I tend to create "rooms." So, I'll arbitrarily choose a section that will have its own theme or color scheme. Depending on where I had full sun for daylilies (which are not hummer/flutterby attractors and therefore, I have none), I would probably plant them together, actually. I have a purple & red theme going in the front part of the yard. Since I'm using yellow as an accent color (every now and then, a splash of yellow) in that same area, sounds like those daylilies would look great there.

In the photo below, what you can't see: there is a red salvia to the right of the echinacea. (Beginning to fill in.) Then to the right of that is a big forsythia salvia, which is about 4' tall and makes huge yellow blooms. (Really stunning, thanks to MS Jen from last year's Florala Roundup.) To the right of the red penta is some Jacob Kline bee balm (bright red) and to the right of that, more purple echinacea. Next I'm going to underplant some lower things to fill in the spaces below these plants, but I want to see what this winter does to them and how far I need to cut everything back in a few more weeks.

So it's up to you. I found it easier to break up my gardening space into smaller sections and work one area at a time. That way it wasn't so overwhelming to think about all the work that had to be done to make the yard fit the vision in my head. Still working at it, of course. That's just my style. I'm sure others will pop in with more great ideas.

Thumbnail by Dogzilla
St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks Dogzilla, that would certainly make it easier. Karen

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

I work one section at a time, too.

i have a purple and green section going for one family member and spouse.

A yellow bed going for me, and a pink and blue bed for my granddaughters. our grandsons don't care, but they will notice shortly.

They are all into camouflage, so I think I will find some boy statues and paint them in camouflage, as I don't know where I can get brown plants for a green and brown color scheme. LOL

(Zone 9a)

I have been following this, but my yards are largely unplanned and whatever survives gets to stay. I think most of the blooms in my front yard are pink: crape myrtles, knockout roses, hibiscus, weigela, azaleas. Then I have white in a tea olive and African iris.

I want to add other colors, but am stuck about what to add and how to arrange it. My backyard used to be purple and green. I am probably the only person in Florida who has killed Mexican petunia. I also had Texas Sage, but I grew it too close to the house, and it had to go. I loved its silvery green leaves and purple flowers.

The Scented Retreat is based on a garden plan, so someone with expertise designed it, and I downloaded it to follow it. That I hope has more color personality.

I like your camouflage idea. As for brown plants, in learning gardening, I've created some of those.

Reading this website, I've learned a lot and actually have some healthy plants.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I am an artist with more of a sense of color than design, so my garden is basically built around color schemes rather than good landscaping principles. I end up with a hodge-podge collection of plants in what I hopefully can pass off as a "cottage garden."

My house is blue and white, so I decide to try to limit the front flower beds to those colors. It has been very difficult, though, to find true blue flowers. I've settled mostly for as close to blue as I can get, which is usually more violet than blue, except for plants like plumbago.

I have my red hummingbird/butterfly garden. It is one of the few areas of my yard that is beginning to take shape after three years of planting and tending. I've found lots of possibilities for shape and texture in the red-flowering plants.

One of my shade gardens is the color wheel opposites of purple and yellow -- mostly purple queen with Persian Shield and some purple Ruellias and Tibouchina interplanted with wedelia. It was hard to find yellow flowers that liked the shade. I had Mexican Terragon there for a while and it did bloom, but I finally decided to move it to more sun so it didn't have to struggle so much.

The main lesson I've learned from trying to group together flowers of the same color is that the flowers will grow and bloom only when in their optimum location for sun and water. My desire for them to do well just because I stick them with other plants with the same color flowers is not enough to make them do well. Also, I'm learning that to have effective color-themed gardens, I need mass plantings of the same plant or dozens of different species with the same color flower packed tightly together. Otherwise, the color looks too sparse to really pull the garden design together.


St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

Very helpful Jeremy, thanks! Karen

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Amen to the sun and water considerations first. I have truly started paying attention to those. Funny how one learns that quickly.

I have only lost four, or was it five, or maybe six types of plants (Hydrangea, Tibouchina, Persian Shield, two Buddleia, ..... ) to too much water in the yard during hurricanes, but that was about $100 altogether. Altogether $100 too much to lose.


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Sorry about your hurricane loss, Nina. I can help with replacing your Tibouchina and Persian Shield. I have both and have found them easy to propagate from cuttings. Let me know if you want some.

Some of my buddleias stay and some fade away -- maybe the amount of water is the key to why some survive and others don't?


Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)


You are thoughtful to offer. Everyone is so generous around here. I was sounding truly pathetic, though, wasn't I? LOLOL

It is the amount of water that is the problem. If I had been more careful, I would have read up on whether they like it wet or not. Experiences teaches us. That area gets flooded a few times a year but not for long.

Let me think about the Tibouchina. I adored it, but I must think where I could put it. I really need a tree that mounds at the top like a Tibouchina that can take a little wet feet a few times yearly.


Tallahassee, FL(Zone 8b)

Nina, I can root for you a lavender Buddleia (quite fragrant). I think my Black Knight died. :

Wesley Chapel, FL(Zone 9a)

I generally don't plant different colors together. I'll plant colors that either compliment the other flowers in the area, or contrast them, depending on the colors.


Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks, Dogzilla, I would love a lavender Buddleia. You are quite kind.


Tallahassee, FL(Zone 8b)


I wonder what happened to the rest of my post. I guess the hamsters running on the wheel that powers this web site must have taken a breeak for a few minutes.

I was also trying to offer a rooted cutting from my hydrangea when it comes out of dormancy. I can't tell you what variety it is because it was rescued off the compost pile at a local nursery.

I'll get the buddleia started and will ping you when it's send-able.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Hey, a rooted hydrangea is also welcome.

When are they getting the forum search engine going, do you know? Maybe the hamster is working hard on that.


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I love them compost pile rescues! But I was loading up my truck bed with them one time at a local nursery with the permission of the woman attendant until the nursery manager arrived and told me I had to pay for them --citing the thing about they get credit from the supplier if they throw them away but don't get credit if they give them away (same as Home Depot and others) -- never quite understood the reasoning there. But I paid for a few that were desperately screaming for rescue anyway.


Tallahassee, FL(Zone 8b)

Oh, I'm so sure they made you pay for those. I've found that, quite often, managers will give you huge deep discounts on plants that are "only mostly dead" (Princess Bride reference). I'm almost on a first-name basis with the garden center manager at my local Target, because I'm always rescuing things that look like dead plants, but still have viable roots. He'll sell me those for pennies sometimes.

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