Summer planting combinations and ideas

How you design and plant your garden, just like your home is a question of personal taste and needs to suit you. Magazines and web sites can suggest planting combinations and some will catch your interest, others you may hate. Below are ideas for summer planting combinations from which you can pick and mix what you like and fancy in your garden.

There are images and links to other pages with growing information so you can decide if you like the plant and if it is right for your garden. Remember "right plant, right place"

Illustrated above first and left are Delphiniums and Thalictrum, and lovely summer blue combination. Delphiniums are a time consuming plant to grow but spectacular with their large showy flower heads.  By contrast Thalictrum is easy to grow, tall and graceful with fluffy flower head one of my absolute garden favourites.

Centre is a less common growing combination of purple Loosestrife and Meadow sweet which are both wild/semi wild flowers which are very attractive to pollinators and ideal if you are thinking of having a wild area in your garden.

The third image on the right is Dierama, with the lovely common name of Angel's Fishing Rod combined with Agapanthus. Neither plant is straightforward to grow, but if you have the right conditions, they will flourish together. 

There are also ideas for Spring plant combinations,  planting for shadescented plants and the sensory garden.


Geranium, red Geum and Primula


This is a lovely, bright early summer flowering combination of Geranium with candelabra primula and Red Geum. 

All are easy to grow herbaceous perennials which will return reliably each year. Tolerant of some shade, and not too fussy about growing conditions these are easy to grow. In terms of maintenance, both Geranium and Geum will benefit from dead heading to prolong flowering. On a personal note I think red Geum is far superior to the yellow variety. 

Allium, Achillea and Grasses


Grasses mix really well with many garden plants, illustrated here Deschampsia  with the late summer  flowering Allium sphaerocephalon and  Achillea.  In the images at the top of the page a grass,  in the far right picture is  Dierama pulcherrimum (common name angel's fishing rod,)  with Agapanthus. Grasses do mix well and more for ideas about mixing Ornamental grasses page and images to inspire on Pinterest below.


Climber combination Honeysuckle and Clematis

Honeysuckle and Clematis

This is a summer scented combination of two climbing plants, Lonicera common name Honeysuckle and Clematis fargesioides. A light creamy white combination which is medium easy to grow, with the bonus of lovely scent.

Both are quite tall and vigorous climbing plants which will need a large plant support and can be kept in check by pruning.

Geranium lythrum and Knautia


A strong colour combination which will grow together well, a mix of mauve and red, Geranium 'Anne Folkard', lythrum and Knautia macedonica and all are easy to grow. Hardy Geraniums are easy and long flowering.  Lythrum (common name purple loosestrife) is very attractive to the bees, flowers for weeks in late summer and tolerant of most conditions including damp. Knautia macedonica is also fully hardy with a preference for sun.

Thalictrum and Cotinus

Cotinus with thalictrum

 Thalictrum  is just one of the best, and easiest of garden perennials which look  looks good with the dark purple shrub  Cotinus, this variety illustrated is C. Coggygria Purpurea - The Purple smoke bush. Thalictrum is a tall plant with clouds of fluffy mauve (or white flowers) and its stems will growth through and up into the Cotinus, which can also act as a support.  An easy to grow, fully hardy combination.  Cotinus needs full summer to flower well.

Delphinium and Thalictrum

Delphinium and Thalictrum

Delphinium and Thalictrum are a heavenly summer combination. Illustrated here is T.Alba with a dark blue Delphinium. Above left is Thalictrum delavayi with fluffy mauve flower heads. Thalictrum is the easy going member of the partnership, requiring no attention just plant it and away it goes. Even though Thalictrum is tall, it does not need too much staking. Delphiniums are demanding, a red wheelbarrow plant but a great combination if you have the inclination.

Bee friendly combination Helium, Monarda Hyssop

Helium, Monarda and Hyssop

A lovely bright summer combination of Helium, Monarda and Hyssop which has the added bonus of being very bee friendly. The Monarda and Hyssop are aromatic and loved by bees. This combination is of herbaceous perennials and may require staking and also cutting back at the end of the growing season. During the summer it provides a long season of colour and will positively hum with bees. 

Allium christophii with Persicaria Bistorta

Allium christophii

In subtle shades mauve and pinks this combination is Allium christophii with Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' and both are fully hardy and easy to grow. Persicaria is a reliable perennial which will return each year. It requires no maintenance and is easy to grow. This Allium is a spring flowering variety which again should reappear each year. It will flower for a long time and the seed heads are attractive. Some staking may be required to protect the flower heads. 

Soft blues Nepeta and Artemisia

Nepeta and Artemisa

Soft greys and muted blue makes this a winning combination. The small shrub Artemisia  is combined with Nepeta (common name Catmint). Not all Artemisia are as softly grey as this one which is A. Valerie Finnis. Both are easy to grow and require no maintenance. Together they make great edging plants around a border. If Nepeta is not your choice, it could be replaced with Lavender for a very similar effect providing conditions are suitable. A drought tolerant combination.

Cottage garden combination Digitalis, Foxglove and Delphinium

summer planting combination delphiniums and foxgloves

A cottage garden planting combination for summer. This is a lovely mix of Delphiniums and Foxgloves. The soft apricot of the Foxglove, Digitalis 'Sutton's Apricot' with pale blue Delphiniums looks excellent. Foxgloves are biennial, which means they form one year and flower the next. However, as they are good self seeders they reappear each year as if they were annuals.

last updated 06.10.2020