Plant Combination Guide for Beginners: Factors to Consider

When you first start out gardening, one of the necessary aspects is to know which plants go well together. Even though you can pick out whichever plants you like, sometimes it’s best to know which plants work well with each other.

As such, a homeowner needs to learn about plant combinations. Here are several factors to consider:

Growth Direction and Placement

The Daily Echo elaborated that most homeowners today have limited garden areas, especially urban residents. In line with this, plants that grow well in horizontal areas can be combined with vertical space dwellers like climbing plants and vines. The two kinds won’t eat up each other’s space, leading the garden to be arranged naturally with a beautiful flow.

Alternatively, container gardening may be utilised as well. The Westmorland Gazette stated that plants that are placed in all sorts of containers, from clay pots to old water tanks, may be added to supplement the plants in the main garden.

Complementary Colours

Just like in art, plants with colours that contrast each other will work well together. For instance, species with blue or violet hues like Lavender can be paired with yellow-coloured shrubs like Sunflower or Marigold. Just remember the rule of thumb, which is light vs. dark.

Leaf Shapes and Patterns

Leaf shapes should also be considered. Plants with long and pointed sword-like leaves are excellent with ones that have wide and round-edged foliage. Pattern is another factor as there are leaves that have fishbone-like designs and sectioned patterns, while some types have whole leaves with subtle pattern variations. Pairing opposite kinds will make the garden appear more diverse.


Check the textures when choosing the plants. Spiny and spiky shrubs blend well with low-profile soft-textured plants. Likewise, a plant with a rough appearance is best combined with smooth-looking types.


Last, but not the least is height, albeit this can be done experimentally. The edges may be lined up with shrubs that grow to waist-level, with corners having tall types. Another concept is to alternate waist-level and knee-level height plants to form an appealing pattern.


There are other factors that may be studied such as ease of maintenance which was explained in a previous article here on Local Gardener, but they fall more on living conditions which is another set of topics altogether. The factors listed above will apply after the homeowner has identified these conditions based on numerous properties like location, climate, soil type, etc.

 In all, gardening is a rewarding hobby and this quality can be inspirational and motivational to homeowners that are just starting out with the practice. To explore it in more depth, a homeowner can seek further reading thanks to modern technology. The importance and rewarding characteristics of plants are usually explained through modern mediums such as e-magazines like these Gardener titles, trivial articles, interactive stories and games.  For example, The Medicine Woman’s Roots looked into Herb Fairies which are a series of fairy tales that aim to teach the importance and beneficial effects of plants and herbs to children.

Although a hen or goose that lays golden eggs will certainly not appear in reality, let alone a giant beanstalk, other rewards may be experienced from caring for plants. These include health benefits highlighted by CNN such as stress relief, exercise and mental wellbeing.

In real world scenarios, aside from the aesthetics and refreshing ambience it provides a home, plants and flowers also serve as a habitat and source of nutrition for numerous creatures that are all crucial for biodiversity. It gets even better for the homeowner if the garden has vegetables and edible fruit-bearing plants, as it can be the source of fresh produce.


Gardening doesn’t have to be hard because essentially, basic knowledge is all that’s needed and the willingness to care for these beautiful natural creations will do the rest. Armed with the right plant combination formulas, homeowners can now pick the plants and shrubs for their gardens much easier.

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