The begonia is a much-loved perennial to have in a backyard. Not only is it relatively low maintenance, but its beautiful blooms come in a variety of colors which work wonders at brightening up a space. While they make quite the spectacle when planted on their own, there are certain other flowers and shrubs that make excellent companion plants for your begonias and, not only will they look great together, but they'll also help your begonia flowers to thrive.
When it comes to styling a modern garden, gardeners all agree that it's best to choose plants that thrive in similar conditions. This idea, also known as companion planting, isn't just about making it easier to offer your plants everything they need, but carefully selecting plants that mutually benefit each other. Here are ten pairings that you can try in your own backyard to benefit your begonia blooms. Just remember that begonias aren't frost-tolerant, so if your area is prone to harsh winters it’s best to bring these pairings indoors if they're in containers!
Experts agree that this is the most popular choice for your begonias. ‘Ferns make excellent companions due to their love for shade and their ability to add interesting textures to the planting area,’ says Tony O’Neil, gardening expert at Simplify Gardening.
Gene Caballero, co-founder of Your Green Pal, also recommends pairing begonias with ferns because they're evergreen. 'The deep greens contrast beautifully with the vibrant colors of begonias, providing a lush backdrop that highlights their blooms,' he says. 'Ferns like the Christmas fern or the tassel fern are hardy and can survive winter temperatures, making them great companions for outdoor begonias in milder climates.'
Coleus is a popular choice for a backyard because of the beautiful all-season color of its foliage. They're low maintenance too, thriving in both sun and shade, and they can produce small blue or white flowers. Tony tells me that this is another great companion for begonias. ‘Its vibrant foliage can complement the colorful blooms of begonias while thriving in similar light conditions,' he says.
Impatients have gorgeously vivid colored flowers and there are more than 1,000 different varieties. ‘You could also consider pairing begonias with impatiens, as they share similar care requirements, and their varied colors and textures can create a visually appealing display,’ explains Tony. They're a popular choice for both garden borders and hanging baskets.
4. Persian shields
‘I really like using Persian Shields as companion plants for begonias in the wintertime,’ says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. ‘Persian shields can be great plants for adding a bit of life and color to your garden or planters in the fall and winter seasons as they have beautiful purple/green leaves. They've also proven to be successful companion plants for winter-blooming begonias.'
It's important to note that Persian Shields will need plenty of water and good drainage, so make sure they're in an appropriate pot if you're incorporating them into your container gardening.
Violas are unique-looking, delicate flowers with petals that can have multiple colors. They bloom easily and can last for a long period of time. ‘Violas offer vibrant colors and add visual interest to the winter garden,' explains Andra Del Monico, lead interior designer at Trendey. 'They are some of the best flowers for bees, improving the garden's health, and planting violas beside begonias generates a beautiful contrast that works well with their delicate blooms. Remember to ensure both plants get proper sunlight and well-drained soil,' he adds.
Experts agree that pansies are a favorite among begonia companions. As one of the best winter-blooming plants, this cold-hardy flower will prosper in winter conditions. ‘They provide several colors, adding a cheerful touch to the garden,' says Andra. 'Pansies and begonias work together to generate a visually attractive display, just ensure suitable spacing to let each plant get proper nutrients and light.'
‘They thrive in cooler temperatures and their wide range of colors can create a vibrant display alongside begonias,' adds Gene. 'Pansies can handle the cold better than most flowers and will keep your garden looking colorful even in chilly weather.'
7. Ornamental cabbage
Gene advises those who prefer foliage to flowers to consider pairing begonias with ornamental cabbages and kales since they're great at making your backyard look nice during winter. ‘Their rosette shapes and shades of green, white, and purple can make for an interesting and attractive combination with the softer form of begonias,' he says. 'They're also highly tolerant of cold weather and can survive frost, making them suitable for winter gardens.’
‘Ornamental cabbage offers magical foliage colors, such as purple, green, and white. It faces cool temperatures and puts texture into the winter garden,' Andra adds. 'Plant ornamental cabbage beside begonias to create a visually satisfying arrangement. Ensure both plants have well-drained soil and get reasonable amounts of water.'
8. Dusty miller
The dusty miller, otherwise known as the silver ragwort, is an interesting-looking plant native to Mediterranean regions. It has unique grey/silver leaves, and it’s most widely used as a flower bed plant, usually for its ornamental foliage.
‘Dusty miller has silver-gray leaves that add visual attraction to the garden,' Andra notes. 'It's frost-tolerant and can face colder temperatures. Plant it beside begonias to generate a contrasting foliage combination.'
9. Coral bells
Also known as heucheras, coral bells are perennial plants with colored leaves spanning from green to red and even purple. They're an excellent companion for begonias because their foliage colors can complement the vibrant hues of the begonias. ‘Heucheras are resilient in cold weather and can provide a striking contrast in texture and color to the broad leaves of begonias,’ Gene adds.
10. Winter hardy grasses
Last but not least, Gene suggests pairing begonias with winter-hardy ornamental grasses. ‘Grasses like carex or festuca can add texture and movement to your garden and are able to withstand colder temperatures,' he says. 'Their fine foliage contrasts well with the larger leaves of begonias, creating a visually appealing texture in the garden.’
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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