GV Gardeners: Color combinations for summer gardens

The many shades of cream, yellow or gold Lantana can help any landscape pop during a long, hot summer.


Despite the summer heat, there are still colorful plant groups to choose from that can turn the landscape into a fresh, vibrant picture. Plant generously to maximize the disparity in color and form. Following are a few heat-tolerant options to make the landscape come alive despite the high temperatures.

 Chocolate Flower and Desert Verbena. Mossy green mounds with small, pale lavender Verbena flowers contrast well with the sweet-scented, yellow daisy-like blooms of Chocolate flowers.

• Cherry Red Sage and Silver King Artemisia. Foliage of the graceful white Artemisia acts as a soft background for the bright red sage flowers nearly year around.

• Yellow Lantana and Bougainvillea. Especially the bright fuchsia flowers of Bougainvillea can provide a sparkling contrast with “New Gold” Lantana hybrid when both are in full bloom during summer.

GV Gardeners: Color combinations for summer gardens

Contrasting colors in groundcovers like these white and lavender Lantanas will immediately catch the eye in garden spaces.

• Mexican Bush Sage and Desert Marigold. Velvety deep purple spikes of this hummingbird-favorite sage help tone down the bright yellow daisy-like Desert Marigold blossoms.

Community Conversations Survey

GVNews has launched a SURVEY to better understand your needs around community conversations.
 By taking the survey, you'll be entered into a drawing to win one of five $100 gift cards for Los Agaves Mexican & American restaurant in Green Valley.

GV Gardeners: Color combinations for summer gardens

Mexican Bush Sage is a summer-blooming perennial with tall spikes of fuzzy, deep purple flowers rising above its soft gray-green leaves.

• Blue Plumbago and Russian Sage. If blue is your favorite color, here is the contrast for you. This combination of perennials allows a plant area to move from small light-blue Russian Sage flowers to the deep true blue of plumbago blossoms. This duo adds a certain calmness to the garden.

GV Gardeners: Color combinations for summer gardens

Mixing “Imperial Blue” Plumbago flowers with light blue Russian Sage can be breathtaking in an otherwise bright desert garden.

Any of these summer blooming combinations are robust enough to accept the desert’s high temperatures while adding freshness and color to the landscape until autumn.

Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in Sahuarita.