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Picture the scene - old stone cottage with a border running all along the front, border about 5-6  ft wide, edged with black fence about 2 and a bit feet high. Up til now filled with David Austin pink roses, cosmos in the summer and pink and dark purple tulips in the spring with the odd giant allium. 

All change - roses out, new roses will go in - all apricot and orange. Tulips will be Salsa mix which is orange, copper, pink, 

BUT, what do I grow as my annual that will go with oranges?

They have to be: Annual, repeat flowering all summer, easy to grow , must go with orange and MUST be higher than 3ft to show above the fence!!!!

I have discarded lots as being too low. Verbena bonariensis would be in the right colour but it will take me forever to grow on about 2 dozen plants. Would prefer an annual and preferably in the blue/purple spectrum.

Anyone got any ideas???


Salvia amistad. Not an annual, but comes very easily from cuttings so you'd bulk up quickly.

Hostafan1 says:

Salvia amistad. Not an annual, but comes very easily from cuttings so you'd bulk up quickly.

See original post

 good idea, Hosta, how are the cuttings coming along. Salvia Black n Blue is another, although perennial again.

have you ever tried to grow Verbena Bon, even here it grew from seeds to flowering in the same year, self seeds and flowers again next year.  Doesn’t  come in your annual request  but surely easier than seeds every  year,  or buying plants if you’re an instant gardener. 


You could sow some dahlia seeds in your colour choice, some grow tall and will flower first year. Won’t get blues, but there are some nice mauve or lilac ones.


Hogweed - I have a new border which is hot colours, and orange is a main one. I grow dark sweet peas and they work really well. You could tie them in along the fence, or let them scramble around a bit.

This year I grew Black Knight, which had rich, plummy purple flowers, and it was really prolific.  


Beaujolais is another which also has dark flowers.



For your colour scheme, I think Ricinus Communis Carmencita, the Castor Oil Plant. A bit of a statement plant, but goes very well with oranges and coppery colour schemes. Dark Red flowerheads are the perfect partner to deep oranges. The leaves can change shades from time to time, but adds more when dot planted at intervals.


Love the idea of the riccinus. Would have to grow it as an annual. Off to track down seed supplier now!


Lyn says 

"Hosta, how are the cuttings coming along."

10 of the 11 I took are growing away nicely. 

My ricinus are still growing . No frost yet.


Yes, you can grow as an annual where you are. I wonder if you would stray and try Sanguisorba Officinalis. When planted in drifts, they can create subtle dark floating splashes of colour against green foliage and again, I think this 'perennial' can add dimension to plantings of oranges and dark purples.

Last edited: 10 November 2017 18:57:36


I did have the Sanguisorba one year but it wasn't hardy with me. I live in central Scotland.

Thinking of the Ricinus. My cottage borders a lane which is used by primary school kids so maybe the ricinus is not the one for me to grow in that location. Pity as it ticked all the boxes. 


That's a shame. I'll have a check later tonight as I'm sure there are other options. But do have a look at other Sanguisorbas, they are all quite worth a try and maybe it was unlucky last time. Sometimes, it's worth a try again, well for me that is...

Consolida (larkspur) dark blue


Based on your height requirements and the orange and peach shades, I think dark plums to purples to blues are good companions. I have chosen these plants because they are quite fast growers and if in good condition, will flower for a long while.

Persicaria Orientalis, Prince's Feather has an airy growth habit. The flower heads sit above the leaves with a slight nodding habit. Tall and billowy but not too dominant. Lovely cerise pink to deep mauve.

Scabiosa Atropurpurea 'Oxford Blue' & 'Black Knight', the Sweet Scabious are both strong stemmed plants. Again, they don't take up too much space and if given the ideal conditions, will send out blue or deep almost black-plum pin cushion button flowers.


I’ve gone with the dark purple scheme. Poppy Black Night, scabiosa Black Boy, centaurea Black Swan. Plus I will try and propagate the verbena. Thanks for all your suggestions. And cosmos Cranberry. All that might work. It will be a change anyway. Which is all to the good. 


Poppy is Black Swan, scabiosa is Black Knight. 

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