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Container Combo Ideas from Costa Farms

Create beautiful container combos with plants that look – and grow – well together.
By Justin Hancock

Go Bold with Rich Color in Container Combos

Deep, dark colors add richness to any color scheme. This fun container features burgundy petunias, pink ti plant and white euphorbia. Best in a little afternoon shade, the ti plant (also called Cordyline) makes a dramatic statement with its upright color and contrasting burgundy-and-hot-pink leaves. The tones are the ideal complement to burgundy petunias. A little white euphorbia adds softness early in the season (though later in the season, it may get covered up by the petunia!).

Combo Plants
3 euphorbia
2 burgundy petunia 
1 ti plant

Love this? Get the secrets to designing beautiful containers like it with our free container gardening idea book! 

Create an Exotic Look

If you like the out-of-ordinary look with easy-care nature, try this combination of bold red kangaroo paw and yellow lantana. Kangaroo paw is an Australian native that shows off spikes of interesting fuzzy flowers that, on close inspection, really do resemble a kangaroo’s paw. It doesn’t mind hot, dry spots and comes in a variety of colors. Lantana is a tried-and-true favorite for its seemingly endless supply of blooms and tolerance of neglect.

Combo Plants
1 red kangaroo paw
3 yellow lantana

Get tips to keep your container gardens alive all summer long.

Use Houseplants!

Go bold with easy-care houseplants in your container combos. While most varieties like shade, a few, such as snake plant, tolerate full sun and are as easy to grow outside as they are in. We’ve mixed snake plant in these two containers of petunias and dusty miller. By using different varieties of dusty miller and snake plant, the containers have a cohesive feel with subtle contrasts.

Combo Plants (Tall Container)
3 dusty miller
2 blue petunia
1 snake plant

Combo Plants (Short Container)
2 dusty miller
3 blue petunia
1 snake plant

See more ideas for using houseplants in outdoor container gardens. 

Add a Touch of the Tropics with Palms

Beautiful majesty palm is an elegant showstopper in any container, whether it’s by itself or mixed in with other plants. Here, we paired this moisture-loving palm with soft pink trailing snapdragons  and purple sweet potato vine for extra color. Once temperatures soar, the snapdragons appreciate the little bit of extra shade the palm provides.

Combo Plants
1 majesty palm
3 pink trailing snapdragon
1 purple sweet potato vine

Consider Your Container

One way to make container combos pop is to complement flower colors with the pot. Here, a red pot plays nicely off bright red geraniums. The geraniums stand out even more against dark purple foliage from purple fountain grass and sweet potato vine.

Combo Plants
1 purple fountain grass
3 red geranium
1 purple sweet potato vine

Play Up Cool Textures

You don’t need flowers for an interesting container. Here we paired three different varieties grown for their foliage. Green Irish moss is a longtime-favorite groundcover that also works well in containers. We paired it with golden Irish moss, which adds a fun color contrast. For height and drama, we used juncus, a remarkably easy-to-grow plant that thrives in sun or shade and wet or dry soil.

Combo Plants
3 golden Irish moss
3 green Irish moss
1 Juncus

Mix in Variegated Foliage

Some plants have leaves that add as much -- or even more -- color than their flowers. Such is the case with croton. Though commonly grown as a houseplant, it also makes for a fantastic tropical patio plant in sun or shade. Many varieties of croton feature foliage striped or stippled with red, orange, or yellow. Such is the case here, and we paired it with golden sanvitalia, which matches the color of the croton’s new growth.

Combo Plants
1 croton
4 yellow sanvitalia

Take Advantage of Fragrance

Beautiful flowers add color and texture, but become even more fun when they appeal to multiple senses. Select scented flowers to appeal to the eyes and the nose. Here, we did that with trailing snapdragons. They’re paired with variegated snake plant; its gold-edged foliage is the perfect match for the sunny snapdragon

Combo Plants
1 snake plant
4 yellow snapdragon

Plant Bright Flowers and Dark Foliage

Purple foliage is trendy -- there’s something rich about dark leaves, especially when you pair them with bright blooms. Here, red canna blooms call out like a beacon against the canna’s purple foliage and the container’s skirt of sweet potato vine.

Combo Plants
2 red canna
2 purple sweet potato vine

Employ Color Contrasts

Upright purple angelonia is one of our favorite plants: It’s heat resistant, drought tolerant, and blooms nonstop all summer long. It’s an excellent container combo partner for lavender verbena, which spills over the sides of your container for a soft, elegant look. To add contrast, we mixed in a little peach-colored verbena, as well as a peachy-yellow gerbera daisy. A compact purple sweet potato vine adds extra dimension and color, finishing the look.

Combo Plants
3 purple angelonia
1 yellow gerbera daisy
1 purple sweet potato vine
2 lavender verbena
1 peach verbena

Bring Veggies and Herbs into the Mix

Sneak a few of your favorite vegetables or herbs into your containers to make them attractive and useful. Here, we brought in eggplant, which features attractive purple flowers and ornamental fruits. We contrasted the purple eggplant with orange geranium and ornamental peppers. Complementing the fiery orange tones, golden creeping Jenny spills over the side of the pot, giving the combo a softer look.

Combo Plants
1 eggplant
2 orange geranium
4 ornamental pepper
6 golden creeping Jenny

Get More Ideas!
  > Cool-Season Container Ideas for Winter and Early Spring
  > Tips for Planting a Container Garden
  > Easy (and Inexpensive!) DIY: Make Your Own Planters
 > 12 Fun Container Garden Ideas from the Costa Farms team!
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