Lots of warm-season bedding plants are added to landscapes this time of year to provide color through the summer months. Creating an attractive, colorful look with bedding plants is easier than ever, but it’s a good idea to do a little thinking and planning before you go to the nursery. You will generally be more pleased with the results.
First, decide on a color scheme. It’s flabbergasting that gardeners who take the time to worry if the colors of their couch, carpet and curtains go together, will grab anything in bloom at the nursery and plant them together in a flowerbed. No one can tell you what colors you should use in your flowerbeds, but you know what you like. Think about it, and consider which colors you will combine for this season. Generally, avoid purchasing bedding plants in cell packs of mixed colors so you will have control over which colors you combine.
If you are unsure of yourself, combine cool colors together (reds with a blue tint, burgundy, rose, pink, magenta, purple, violet, lavender, blue, navy and any variations of those colors), OR warm colors together (reds with an orange tint, orange, gold, yellow, rust, peach and any variations on these colors) for reliably harmonious results. Blue, white and gray will combine with just about any color scheme.
Use color where you want to focus attention, such as at your front door. Never use color to “beautify” an unattractive feature in your landscape such as a trash can area. You will simply make sure everyone notices it.
Generally, reduce the number of colors you use for best results. In other words, use the colors you like in combinations that you like, but don’t use every color you like at the same time in the same bed.
It is also important to plant individual colors in masses or groups, especially if the bed will be viewed from a distance (as in a front bed being viewed from the street).
Use pastel colors in area that will be viewed primarily in the evening because they show up better in low light. Pastel colors make a space look larger and more open and tend to create a serene, restful mood. Vibrant, rich colors, on the other hand, energize the landscape and can help make a larger area seem smaller and more intimate.
The large amount of green foliage that appears in the landscape makes it more forgiving of wild color combinations, but it’s best not to push it too far. Again, I wouldn’t presume to tell you what colors you like and should combine to create flowerbeds you’ll be proud of – I’m just saying to give it some consideration
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture