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Winning Plant Combinations: Suggested Plants to Create Winning Combinations

Primula japonica in the Rock Garden at NYBG; photo by Ivo Vermeulen
Primula japonica in the Rock Garden at NYBG; photo by Ivo Vermeulen

Many plants can be grown in a range of sun or shade, and likewise many plants can handle a range from wet to dry. As a general rule of thumb, shade lovers that can be grown in full sun tend to need more moisture to thrive in the brighter light conditions.

Sunny and Dry

BOTANICAL NAME
COMMON NAME
Calamintha
calamint
Nepeta
catmint
Echinacea
coneflower
Baptisia
false indigo
Agastache
hyssop
Phlomis
Jerusalem sage
Stachys
lamb's ear
Lavandula
lavender
Verbascum
mullein
Phormium
New Zealand flax
Allium
ornamental onions
Dianthus
pinks
Kniphofia
red hot poker
Perovskia
Russian sage
Eryngium
sea holly
Sedum
stonecrop
Thymus
thyme
Achillea
yarrow

Sunny and Moist

BOTANICAL NAME
COMMON NAME
Aster
aster
Platycodon
balloon flower
Monarda
beebalm
Amsonia
blue star
Primula japonica
candelabra primrose
Hemerocallis
daylily
 
ferns (royal, cinnamon, interrupted)
Solidago
goldenrod
Geranium
hardy geranium
Hibiscus
hardy hibiscus
Iris ensata
Japanese iris
Eupatorium
Joe-pye weed
Alchemilla mollis
lady's mantle
Ligularia
ligularia
Aconitum
monkshood
Paeonia
peony
Bergenia
pigsqueak
Echinacea
purple coneflower
Iris siberica
Siberian iris

Shady and Dry

BOTANICAL NAME
COMMON NAME
Epimedium
barrenwort
Geranium macrorrhizum
big-root geranium
Gillenia trifolata
bowman's root
Tiarella cordifolia
foam flower
Digitalis purpurea
foxglove
Helleborus
hellebore
Parathelypteris novaboracensis
New York fern
Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Robbiae'
Robb's wood spurge
Brunnera macrophylla
Siberian bugloss

Shady and Moist

BOTANICAL NAME
COMMON NAME
Astilbe
astilbe
Actaea simplex
bugbane
Ajuga
bugleweed
Asarum canadense
Canadian ginger
Primula japonica
candelabra primrose
Heuchera
coral bells
 
ferns (Christmas, lady)
Aruncus
goat's beard
Hosta
hosta
Hakonchloa
Japanese hakone grass
Ligularia
ligularia
Pulmonaria
lungwort
Bergenia
pigsqueak
Rodgersia
rodgersia
Polygonatum
Solomon's seal
Euphorbia griffithii
spurge
Mertensia virginica
Virginia bluebell
Dicentra exima
wild bleeding heart
Kirengeshoma
yellow wax bells

Annuals and Biennials for a Mixed Border

BOTANICAL NAME
COMMON NAME
Cuphea
cigar plant
Coleus
coleus
Centaurea cyanus
cornflower
Cosmos
cosmos
Digitalis purpurea
foxglove
Gomphrena
globe amaranth
Heliotropium
heliotrope
Tagetes tenuifolia
lemon/ tangerine gem marigold
Nigella
love-in-the-mist
Tithonia
Mexican sunflower
Angelonia
summer snapdragon
Nicotiana
tobacco flower
Zinnia
zinnia

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Noteworthy Books on Plant Combinations