Monochromatic Gardens

Monochromatic color palettes are a growing trend in gardening and for good reasons.  Varying hues of one color family is visually compelling and it simplifies the design process.  You can’t go wrong because all the colors are guaranteed to work together. 

Design Tips

Container of gray plantsA monochromatic palette is one that uses flowers and foliage all in one color family.  That’s not to mean that other colors aren’t used as well.  After all it’s hard to avoid green in the garden.    Use greens, grays and variegated foliage as neutral colors.  They will act as a backdrop, give a place for the eye to rest and add dimension.

And speaking of dimension, when using one family of color it is more important than ever to vary the shapes, textures and sizes of plants to avoid a flat composition.

When deciding on a color, consider the amount of sunlight in the area. Pastel colors are great for shade while bright, saturated colors will hold their color in sun. 

As with any garden design make sure your chosen plants’ growing requirements – light, soil, moisture –  are suited to the environment. 

3 Monochromatic Container Designs

Containers are a fun way to use monochromatic designs because the possibilities are endless.  Here are three combinations from Proven Winners®.  To see more container recipes like these visit their website at

Artist® Ageratum
Proven Winners Container Garden
2 Artist® Blue Ageratum

1 Artist® Purple Ageratum

Lickety Split
Proven Winners Container Garden
3 Diamond Frost®

2 Supertunia® Citrus

Timeless Pink
Proven Winners Container Garden
4 Supertunia® Vista
Bubblegum Petunia


Below are a few plant suggestions to get you started on your monochromatic designs.  I’ve listed annuals, perennials and even a few shrubs.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Once you decide on the predominate color you’ll find that there are all kinds of flowers and foliage from which to choose.

Proven Winners Diamond Frost Euphorbia Diamond Frost® Euphorbia – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 10 – 14 inches tall
Lacy foliage and flowers. Great for adding texture.
Proven Winners Diamond Frost Euphorbia Rockapulco™ White Impatiens – Annual, Shade to Partial Shade, 10 – 20 inches tall
Large, fully double blooms. Exceptional at brightening shade gardens.
Proven Winners Broadway Lights Broadway Lights™ Leucanthemum – Perennial Zones 5 – 11, Sun to Partial Shade
Flowers open creamy white and mature to bright white. Prolific bloomer.
Proven Winners Supertunia Vista Bubblegum Petunia Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia – Annual, Sun, 24 inches tall
Floriferous petunia with outstanding mounding habit. Holds up well in rainy weather and blooms all summer.
Proven Winners Pinky Winky Hydrangea Pinky Winky® Hydrangea – Shrub Zones 3 – 9, Sun to Partial Shade, 6 – 8 feet tall
A chameleon in the garden. Blooms change from white to pink over time.
Pink Muhly Grass Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries) – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 24 – 36 inches tall
Adds graceful movement to plant combinations. Vibrant pink "flowers" in late summer.
Proven Winners Sunshine Blue Caryopteris Sunshine Blue® Caryopteris – Perennial Zones 5 – 10, Sun, 3 feet tall
A carefree, shrub-like perennial with lemon yellow foliage. True blue flowers appear in late summer and fall.
Proven Winners Lemon Symphony Osteo Lemon Symphony Osteospermum – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 8 – 14 inches tall
Daisy-like flower heads on tall, mounding vigorous plants. Because it is frost tolerant it can be used as a season extender for spring and fall.
Goldenrod Fireworks ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod – Perennial Zones 4 – 8, Sun to Partial Shade, 30 – 36 inches tall
Prolific-flowering, disease-resistant cultivar. Flowers in late summer and early fall.
Proven Winners Colorblaze Sedona Coleus Colorblaze™ Sedona Coleus – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 24 – 48 inches tall
The foliage is a mix of bronze, orange, purple, rose pink, and maroon, reminiscent of the mountain range this coleus is named after.  The color intensifies in cool weather.
Proven Winners Luscious Citrus Blend Lantana Luscious™ Citrus Blend Lantana – Annual, Sun, 24 – 36 inches tall
The hotter the weather gets, the more this plant blooms. The butterflies love the clusters of bright orange flowers.
Fothergilla Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) – Shrub Zones 5 – 8, Sun to Partial Shade, 2 – 3 feet tall
Awesome orange-red autumn foliage. Produces white, fuzzy blooms in spring. Use in fall containers then transplant to the garden.
Proven Winners Superbells Red Calibrachoa Superbells® Red Calibrachoa – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 6 – 10 inches tall
Prostrate petunia-like plant with smaller leaves and flowers. Performs best in containers.
Proven Winners Totally Tempted Cuphea Totally Tempted™ Cuphea – Annual, Sun, 12 inches tall
Loosely upright plant form. Good for flower beds or containers. Does well in hot climates.
Lucifer Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ Crocosmia – Perennial Zones 6 – 9, Sun, 24 – 36 inches tall
Sword-like foliage and red flower spikes summer to early fall. Good for cut flowers. Will multiply once established.
Proven Winners New Wonder Scaevola New Wonder® Scaevola – Annual, Sun, 12 inch stems
Fan-shaped flowers appear all summer on trailing stems. Exceptionally drought tolerant.
Proven Winners Angelface Blue Angelonia Angelface® Blue Angelonia – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 18 – 24 inches tall
Super saturated bloom color, sturdy stems and high heat tolerance. Flower spikes add upright element to plant combinations.
Verbena bonariensis Verbena-on-a-stick (Verbena bonariensis) – Annual, Sun, 3 – 6 feet tall
Tall, slender stems that end with numerous flower clusters that almost appear suspended in mid-air. Freely re-seeds for blooms the next year.
Salvia May Night ‘May Night’ Salvia (Salvia superba) – Perennial Zones 4 – 9, Sun, 18 inches tall
Compact hybrid with numerous flower spikes in late spring/early summer. Performs best with good moisture and cool nights.
Proven Winners Lo and Behold Bluechip Buddleia Lo & Behold™ ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleia – Perennial Zones 5 – 9, Sun, 20 inches tall
A multipurpose, dwarf butterfly bush. Blooms continuously in summer.
Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’ Agapanthus – Perennial Zones 7 – 10, Sun to Partial Shade, 12 – 24 inches tall
Tender perennial from bulb produces clumps of graceful, strap-like foliage and in summer globes of bell-shaped flowers. Good container plant.