Combining plants can make the individual parts look far better than they would if planted alone, and spring brings a host of planting opportunities. There’s no limit to how many fantastic displays you can create, including colourful, shade-loving and bee-friendly fusions.
Don’t worry if you have a small garden and are pushed for space, as you can create cheery spring displays in pots and containers, including a vibrant primula and wood anemone window box, or a spring alpine pot display. On the other hand, if you have a larger garden, little beats the frothy spring blossom produced by ornamental cherries like ‘Spire’.
Discover five spectacular plant combinations for spring colour, below.
Weigela and dryopteris
Maroon weigela beside a fern
This pairing of Weigela ‘Bristol Ruby’ and Dryopteris cristata creates an elegant and understated late-spring show. Bees will love the abundant weigela flowers, and the shade it casts creates the perfect spot for ferns. Other ferns to try include Dryopteris affinis, or the evergreen hart’s tongue fern, Asplenium scolopendrium.
Tulips and forget-me-nots
Pale-pink and golden-yellow tulips above a carpet of pale-blue forget-me-nots
If you’re looking for a more punchy spring combination, this is it. A carpet of forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) is dotted with tulips ‘Roi du Midi’ and ‘Carmargue’. There are tulip varieties in just about every colour imaginable, so the colour palette of this combination is easy to play with.
Cow parsley, verbascum and grasses
Bronze verbascums with purple-stemmed cow parsley and brown grasses
This airy combination of cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’; Verbascum ‘Petra’ and Carex comans ‘Bronze Form’ is packed with warm tones and provides a bridge from spring to summer. Perfect for a mixed border in full sun or partial shade.
Daffodils, wallflowers and pansies
Deep-gold wallflowers planted with yellow narcissus and pansies
Here, the fiery blooms of wallflower ‘Rysi Copper’ are combined with the daffodil, Narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ to create a bright, bold display. Yellow pansies at the front of the container soften the edges.
Pulmonarias, daffodils and snake’s head fritillaries
Blue pulmonarias, purple snake’s head fritillaries and pale daffodils
This combination of snake’s head fritillaries, pulmonarias contrasting with pale daffodils is bursting with freshness. Ideal for a spot in moist, well-drained soil with full sun or light shade.
Epimedium and dryopteris
Small, pink epimediums and fern
This combination of the barrenwort, Epimedium niveum ‘Roseum’ and Dryopteris cycadina is perfect for a moist shady spot. Lush fronds provide the perfect backdrop for the starry flowers, which appear from mid- to late-spring. Other epimediums to grow include ‘Amber Queen’, or the white and yellow-flowered ‘Wudang Star’.
Lupins, calendulas and cerinthe
Apricot calendulas with contrasting purple lupins and cerinthe
If you’re after a more pared-back look, this combination should fit the brief. Purple and orange is a lovely pairing, here provided by apricot-coloured calendulas and royal purple lupins and cerinthe.
Bearded iris, astrantia and salvias
Burnt-orange iris with pink astrantias and salvias
The burnt orange bearded irises first draw the eye to this late spring combination. Surrounding them is a frothy mix of rose-coloured salvias and Astrantia ‘Buckland’, intermingled with Deschampsia cespitosa. A hornbeam hedge provides a lush green foil.
Heather, hellebore and reticulate iris
Maroon hellebores with blue irises and white and pink heather
Winter heathers actually flower well into spring, so they’re perfect for using in spring pot and container displays. Here they’ve been combined with reticulate irises and aubergine-coloured hellebores.
Foxgloves, sweet rocket and liatris
A pastel blue, purple and white planting featuring sweet-rocket, liatris, iris and foxgloves
This cool-toned combination is perfect for cottage garden borders. It contains an easy-to-grow mix of sweet rocket, white-flowered foxgloves, pink persicarias and pale blue bearded iris. Ideal for late spring and early summer colour.