Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
A garden can consist of cactus, succulents, or a mix. But in general most landscape designs will be more aesthetically pleasing if some other types of plants are also included. It is very important to choose companions that prefer the same kinds of growing conditions. Here are profiles of some suggested companions for desert cactus and succulents.
Hardy to zone four or so, this popular perennial likes a well drained, rather dry soil. As with most cacti and succulents, it thrives in full sun. In the last year, studies found that lambís ears are an ideal choice for green roofs, which are often planted with various sedums. Though the lambís ears are generally less than 1Ĺ feet tall, theyíre often much wider than tall.
The yarrows are commonly grown as an herb, but they make wonderful companion plants for cacti and succulents. These like a rather well drained, dry, poor soil in a sunny spot. Many kinds of yarrows are available with the heights varying considerably from one-half foot to two feet or so. The yarrows generally have very finely dissected, fern-like foliage. The hardiness also varies according to the species. Some are hardy to zone two, while less hardy ones are suited to zone five. Many varieties are available with the flower colors ranging widely. Pinks and yellows are very common.
Certain kinds of ornamental grasses are suitable for mixing with cacti and succulents. These include ones that are known to be drought resistant.
Mexican feather grass is hardy to zone six. This is a good choice for mixing and matching with cacti and succulents. Around two feet tall, it is tolerant of drought.
Companions for the Perennial Sedums
Many of the hardy sedums are quite adaptable to average soils, provided it isnít heavy clay. Theyíre somewhat less fussy than desert cactus. The sedums can be interplanted with many of the more popular flowering perennials that are commonly grown in beds and borders. Other suitable companions would include the dwarf hydrangeas, such as the Annabelle hydrangea and the numerous other newer dwarf hydrangeas that have been introduced in recent years.