I’ve decided to do a series on plant combinations that spark joy! It’s one thing to know your plants and how to keep them alive. It’s higher-level design to start thinking about color and texture and which plants look great together and thrive in the same conditions.
We have an old tack room with a storage area it what used to be a birthing stall for the horses of the previous owner. The front feed closet was converted into a fantastic and huge outdoor cedar shower. A drift of scheffleras fill the back while a mass planting of pentas puts on a pink profusion display in the foreground.
I love this combination because the pentas grow wild and out of control and have seemingly never-ending bright pink blooms. I have heard landscape designers say they dislike pink with yellow combinations, but I simply adore pinks, creamy yellows, and salmon colors (the pink and yellow combined). I almost feel that a purple fountain grass would look spectacular standing tall with a grassy texture in the rear.
UPDATE: I did get the purple fountain grass and it looks stunning!
This companion planting is part sun on the north and west walls of the outdoor shower. Sometimes, the sun is too hot (even though there is a row of loropetalum with gorgeous plum leaves and fuchsia fringe flowers that provides respite), and I have to manually water the pentas. I also cover this area if a freeze is expected.
Last winter, the pentas took a bigger hit and died back, which really let the schefflera be the star for half the year. Towards autumn, the pentas rebound to their full glory and the schefflera poke their leaves through the top adding extra interest. This dynamic, between pentas dominating, then schefflera stealing the show, keeps the space interesting. And, the butterflies simply adore the blooms.
P.S. Variation: Here’s another lovely combination using schefflera for the shade. Combine it with red flowering wax begonias for beautiful color, depth, and texture where there’s morning sun.