Learn how the color orange affects you and your garden. Then discover the best ways to use orange, both alone and in combination with other colors.

June 09, 2015
GardenBold_Four Layer Autumn Colored Flower Border
The tropical leaves of canna shout "bold" in the background of thisgarden, a fitting backdrop for thebrazen colors of the marigolds inthe front of the border.

Bring out the best in both bold and pale oranges by blending them with their color wheel complement: blue. When you contrast fiery orange flowers with blue and yellow ones, the border sizzles. Deep blue Salvia farinacea combined with orange-yellow calendula or peachy verbascum results in a magnificent effect. You'll get comparably classic results from a trio of orange, red, and blue.

Purple also marries with orange in a sophisticated color composition. Both contain red values, ensuring compatibility. Sometimes the colors crop up on the same plant, as in the magnificent multitints of Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow.' On the blue side of purple, lilacs, and lavenders also flatter deep orange.

Mingle orange flowers with pink and you end up with a plant painting that's slightly dissonant but delicious. Add white or pale yellow to knit the two other colors together. Similarly, cream and bronze partners moderate orange. Orange and white duos create vignettes with a fresh feel. If the white flowers have orange or yellow centers, the match works even better.

Color Combinations

orange_Tall Orange Coneflowers

Combining orange with lime green brings out the yellow values in both colors. This duet works wonderfully in the shade when the orange blooms of trollius, azalea, or tiger lily stand out among chartreuse foliage. Complete this sensational shady scenario by adding purple-leaf plants.

Pale orange hues, such as peach, salmon, and apricot, harmonize happily with silver-leaf plants, especially in cloudy climates. Imagine peach-color roses skirted with artemisia, rue, or lavender. 'Southern Charms' verbascum or 'Brompton Apricot' stock combine peach-color petals and silvery foliage all in one.

Ways to Use Orange in the Garden

California Poppy, Eschscholzia, Wildflowers, Desert Southwest,
  • Orange holds its own in sunny, bright exposures. Choose hot orange flowers for hot climates and softer peaches and apricots for regions that frequently experience cool, cloudy weather.
  • Because orange enhances appetite and promotes sociability, plant plenty of orange-flowering plants near outdoor eating areas.
  • Incorporate orange into your garden by using brick walls and paths, terra-cotta pots and statuary, and copper trellises and birdbaths.
  • Include plants that bear orange fruits: pyracantha, sea buckthorn, and bittersweet, as well as some roses and hollies.


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