Ornamental grasses and succulents planted together. Sounds a little crazy I know, however it works exceptionally well.
It’s a planting scheme regularly adopted by famous designers from all over the globe such as Oehme van Sweden, Franchesca Watson, Andrea Cochrane and Bernard Trainer just to name a few.
As garden companions, grasses and succulents have similar needs. Both have low water requirements and do well in full sun; both generally appreciate a well drained soil; and both usually herald from similar climates. Therefore they do well inhabiting the same garden space.
Their similarities end here. Dramatically different appearances are what make the pairing of succulents and grasses so visually appetizing. The chunky, sculptural forms of succulents contrast drastically with the slender, fine form of ornamental grasses. This is further exaggerated by the movement grasses can bring to the garden when blown by wind.
Planting layout can range from formal to wild meadow and everything in between. Rows of grasses with low succulents neatly growing in the foreground is the most obvious formal application. Wild meadows, filled with evenly spaced Agaves nested among a monoculture of grasses is quite unique and can be outstanding. Even in a large pot or raised bed this combination can work.
So who works well together?
Try large Agaves with Poa labillardieri ‘Eskdale’ or ‘Nafray’ Pennisetum alopecuroides for a large scale eye catching garden. Some flowering perennials such as Echinacea (Coneflower), Salvia, Chamomile orLeucanthemum (Shasta Daisy) can add seasonal colour.
Sedum spectable (Autumn Joy) works well with Dianella varieties, fine foliaged Lomandras such as ‘Shara’ and the above Poa and Pennisetum.
An Australian version would pair native grasses such as 'Tanika' Lomandra longifolia or Poa labillardieri'Eskdale' with the flowering succulent groundcover 'Aussie Rambler' Carpobrotus glaucescens (Pig Face) for astounding results.
Get the idea? The attached pictures will help you further. For more photographs and inspiration, check out Bluedale’s pinterest board ‘Grasses and Succulents in landscapes’.