10 Top Summer Plant Pairs | Midwest Living

10 Top Summer Plant Pairs

Energize a sleepy yard with easy-to-grow perennial partners perfectly suited to Midwest summers.

Allium and hosta

Create a contemporary look in a hosta garden by adding purple allium for its unique pom-pom shape and leafless stem. Allium brings height to beds of low-growing hostas. Lavender Globe Lily and Turkestan Onion varieties thrive in partial shade, making them a natural partner for shade-loving hosta.

Cinnamon fern and perennial geranium

This understated pairing of low and tall shade plants is a natural in a woodland garden. Petite geranium flowers fill the often scraggly looking base of mature ferns with delicate points of pale color (pink, purple, blue or cream). The feathery fronds of ferns typically reach 2-5 feet tall.

Veronica and Asiatic lily

Contrast both shape and color in a lively way by partnering purple-blue veronica and brilliant magenta Asiatic lilies. The shorter veronica conceals the lower stems of the lilies. These sun-loving plants bloom together in midsummer, but veronica continues flowering after lilies fade.

Goldenrod and 'Honeysong Pink' aster

For a casual cottage garden, plant a pretty mix of feminine florals--pink aster and sunny goldenrod. Even though they look delicate, these hardy plants can handle hot weather and adapt to a variety of soil conditions, including clay. Both bloom midsummer through midfall.

'Cerise Queen' yarrow and 'Tickled Pink' veronica

A monochromatic intensely pink palette on dark green foliage unites flat yarrow heads and spiky veronica stalks. Enjoy this hardy combo (it can survive drought conditions) from early summer to fall.

Hollyhock and oxeye

Old-fashioned hollyhock forms tall spires of multibloom color (pink, purple, yellow, red or white) that go well with daisy-like oxeye. Plant this full-sun pair for vivid shows of summer hues. Oxeye continues to bloom after hollyhock fades in midsummer.

Bee balm and globe thistle

Contrasting shapes and textures, along with long-lasting jewel-tone flowers and dark green leaves, define this duo. This sophisticated pairing is low-maintenance. Both plants can handle tough soil conditions, including clay or sand. A bonus: They attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Hosta and 'Aureola' grass

Create stunning textural contrast in a shade garden with bold flat hosta leaves and spiky chartreuse Hakonechloa grass. They last late spring through fall and require little maintenance.

'Caradonna' salvia and rose campion

Magenta and purplish-blue highlight the pretty forms of these flowers. 'Caradonna' salvia's spikes stand out among rose campion's simple heart-shape petals. The airy, care-free pair thrives in a variety of soils. Remove spent salvia flowers to spur rebloom; they'll last until late summer.

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