Fresh Color Combos (Zone 8 – 11)

If you’re looking for a way to use color to kick-up your summery containers or add drama and excitement to beds and borders, we have six not-too-obvious combinations to try.

And, don’t stop here. Next time you’re at the garden center, grab a cart and start playing with colors!

(Love this zesty-yet-romantic combination that’ll bloom late summer into fall? It’s Abbey Road MasterwortSeptember Charm Japanese Anemone, and Crown Of Rays Goldenrod.)

Marsala and Midnight

While it’s tempting to temper the mood of dark foliage with a few lighter accents, there’s no denying the impact of a near-monochrome display of reddish-black flowers and foliage. A bed with three to five of each of these selections massed would be a stunner.


Festival™ Burgundy Cordyline
Zone: 8 – 11

Bright, burgundy-red, eye-catching, grass-like arching leaves creates a bold and architectural form. Full sun.

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Burgundy Iceberg Shrub Rose
Zone: 5 – 9

The dark side of Iceberg rose with blooms in deep-purple with creamy accents. Extremely disease resistant. Full sun.


Little John Azalea
Zone: 8 – 9

That’s an azalea? Yes, but this one’s about stunning reddish-purple foliage (flowers are insignificant). Partial to full sun.

Persimmon and Pink

We’re not sure where the advice to never pair pink and orange comes from (“they clash!”) because this duo not only has dynamic energy, but also a glowing sort of warmth. Start with hibiscus, tuck in a few bougainvillea, and layer in the hyssop. All summer bloom!

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Strawberry Swirl Fleming Hibiscus
Zone: 4 – 10

Very large flowers bear alternating pink and pale pink petals, providing tropical appeal over a long season. Full sun.

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Rosenka Bougainvillea
Zone: 10 -11

Very dwarf, mounding habit (great for pots) with bright gold flower bracts that turn pink when mature. Full sun.

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Summer Love Hyssop
Zone: 6 – 9

Dense clusters of licorice-scented, large red-purple flowers, beloved by butterflies, that bloom all summer into fall. Full sun.

Citrus and Cinnamon

Hot-chocolate-hued flowers and foliage are glamorous, but they need brightness to jumpstart their effect. Contrasting with brilliant yellows and oranges makes browns seem, well, browner. This would be a lovely combination for a bed, but also a large planter.

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Gold Star™ Esperanza
Zone: 9 – 11

Fast growing shrub valued for its large clusters of non-stop golden-yellow, bell-shaped flowers. Full sun.

Rudbeckia Summerina Brown

Echibeckia™ Summerina™ Brown
Zone: 6 – 10

Marries the fast growth of rudbeckia with the vigor of echinacea. Huge flowers can last two to three months. Full sun.

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Orange New Zealand Sedge
Zone: 6 – 10

Finely textured, bronze-green leaves age to electric orange in the cool season. Partial shade to full sun.

Iron and Ice

Greys are elegant neutrals that are most often used to change the temperature of other colors (they can be warming or cooling depending on the shade) but a simple palette of greys has a clean, crisp sophistication. Try this waterwise combo in a moonlight garden.


Pearl Bluebush
Zone: 8 – 10

Easy-care shrub thrives in heat and sun, yet is quite hardy. Love the texture of silver, slightly succulent foliage. Full sun.


White Cloud Echeveria
Zone: 9 – 11

Rare and beautiful, with large, solitary succulent rosettes that have a powdery lavender tinge. Full sun.

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Blue Finger
Zone: 10 – 11

Striking blue gray, pencil-like, slightly curved leaves point upward and form a dense mat. Full sun.

Peaches and Plums

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with pinkish, peachy or apricot flowers, but these can fade without something to amplify their bluish or yellowish undertones. For that we turn to purples. Let this honeysuckle wind over a fence under-planted with roses and daylilies.


Peach Drift® Rose
Zone: 4 – 9

Low maintenance, vigorous and cold hardy yes, but you’ll buy it for the big blooms from spring to fall. Full sun.


Peaches and Cream Honeysuckle
Zone: 4 – 9

Compact honeysuckle blooms from spring through summer with vibrant-hued, fragrant flowers. Partial to full sun.


Little Grapette Dwarf Daylily
Zone: 4 – 11

Grass-like leaves are highlighted by lavender-purple flowers on tall stems. Mass for an early summer show.Full sun.

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