3. The payoff is worth the planning. Instead of a chaotic container with a mishmash of plants you liked individually, your pot will spill over with an exciting yet harmonious combination.
When mixing and matching plants, also keep their textures in mind. Choosing a blend of glossy, matte, or fuzzy leaves adds another level of interest, as does combining fine, broad, rounded, or jagged foliage. I like to use contrasting texture to create dramatic container plantings. The hefty, bold leaves of elephant’s ear (Colocasia spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 8–11) paired with lacy fern foliage are dynamite together, as are the distinguished leaves of Rex begonias (Begonia Rex-cultorum group, not hardy below Zone 11) with slender fiber-optic grass (Isolepis cernua, Zones 8–10). The key is to choose a variety of textures. Too much of one texture, such as large, chunky leaves, is like colorful pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that don’t quite go together until you find the connecting pieces in the form of fine-textured plants.
1. ‘Excalibur’ caladium (Caladium bicolor ‘Excalibur’, USDA Hardiness Zones 10–11)
2. ‘Fairy’ Rex begonia (Begonia ‘Fairy’, not hardy below Zone 11)
3. ‘Mint Frost’ heuchera (Heuchera ‘Mint Frost’, Zones 4–9)
4. Creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris, Zones 8–10)