How to mix and match plants

Wednesday October 16 2019

Mixed rock on short grass landscape with a few

Mixed rock on short grass landscape with a few red blooms that stand out can also be ideal . Photos by Beatrice nakibuuka 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

You can give your home a new stylish look by just mixing and matching the flowers and plants in your compound.
Ethel Namboowa, a gardener at Green Gardeners Nature and Beauty Compound Designers, says before you go for a mix and match of the plants in your garden, “It is important to consider the type and size of compound you have, the colours you want to use, the landscape you have and maintenance. A hotel landscape and that of a home or school or church will always differ in a number of things.”

Non flowering plants
The beauty of these plants is in their multicoloured leaves. “You can choose non flowering plants that offer the same bloom colour and hue but mix the foliage size and shape. To add more plant and colour variety to a garden, you can get plants with a more complex colour composition but strictly use non flowering plants,” advises Namboowa.
She adds that non flowering plants are better placed in pots because they need a lot of sunlight so one can easily move them to better spots where they can get the sun when the need arises.

Flowering plants
Plants can determine the mood of a landscape depending on tones. Warm tones of red and orange, for instance, give energy and show vibrancy. Cool colours such as blues, purples, on the other hand, create a soothing mood. Cool colours, which include philodendron, hibiscuses are good all season flowering plants that you can mix with other plants.
Flowering plants usually create coloured compounds and one can choose from the different varieties of mussaenda and other beautiful flowers with different varieties.

Rock garden
Namboowa says it is easier to mix and match plants in a rock garden. “Plants in a rock garden are easy to select depending on the client’s choice but requires a lot of art to make something that will attract people’s attention. It should be in a strategic position, using unique rocks that can be arranged carefully and then plants can be incorporated into the spaces within the rock garden.”

Bushy garden
This is easy to make but it takes time to achieve a perfect one. “There are clients that want to have a bushy landscape around their home and they can still mix and match it. After the selection of plants, then choose a theme colour and use as many colours to give the home a bright look,” Namboowa advises.
She warns that: “Ensure not to have plants that have very strong roots planted near the house or fence lest they penetrate into the structures thus weakening them and in the long run, the structures might break down. Also, your gardener should help you identify plants that can grow well under the shade and those that need a lot of sunshine.

Combine multiple sizes
Rose Nakiwala, a gardener at A and M gardening services, says combining various sizes of plants and textures can help create interesting and diverse looks in your garden. Try grouping plants together to create a focal point. This will also help out on some plants that grow well in humid conditions such as ferns, bromeliads and philodendrons. She says: “Tall plants with large foliage can be placed in a woven basket for a trendy look and let them be the centre of attraction. You can use medium clay planters for medium sized plants. You can make small plants pop out. They can look bigger with bigger planters.”


Use neutral colours first
As for colours, Nambowa recommends starting with neutral colours for both container and ground gardens You can then add a few patterned pieces to give life to your garden.
Succulent plants can be excellent choices when it comes to neutral colours. White flowers bring out the true shades of any plant colour with which it is paired.
You can place a white flower next to green, yellow, pink, or blue. Cream also harmonises with almost every other flower colour. You can highlight a focal point at the end of a pathway with white flowers or a white container.

Cohesive cluster
You can have potted succulents clustered up in a vertical or horizontal garden depending on the amount of space you have. This can be used to display a variety of colours and you can have several plants since different plants flower at different seasons.
“You do not want to have a dull garden at some point of time in a year. It is therefore important for one to choose flowers with different flowering times. Succulents can be included because they look good in all seasons,” Nakiwala says.

Same spot dilemma
If you are worried about plants competing for nutrients, Ethel Namboowa, a gardener, says different plants feed differently at different sizes. Unless one of the plants is bigger and the other is smaller, you can always plant any type of plant with another. However, there are plants that need a lot of sunlight so if it is put under a shade, it will suffocate and die because there is not enough light for it.