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Veri Peri Shrub Pairings

Veri Peri Shrub Pairings

By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice®
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice®

Pantone® has selected Very Peri (17-3938) as its Color of the Year for 2022 and it’s a doozy. Periwinkle is an often found flower color in nature and Proven Winners® ColorChoice® has an array of shrubs with blooms that closely match this beautiful blue hue.

But did you also know that Pantone offers suggestions of additional colors that balance, amuse, and are otherwise compatible with their color of the year?

As an amateur designer at best, I found these suggestions tremendously helpful. A curated color palette from Pantone seems like a great way to choose plants that complement one another in the garden.

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Let’s try our hands at making some matches using the Pantone palettes:

Balancing Act – SPARKY® Blue and SPARKY® Pink Clematis

The Pantone website states: “Balancing Act is a complementary palette of color whose natural balance of warm and cool tones support and enhance one other.”

So, of course, first, we need to choose a Veri Peri candidate.

I selected Sparky Blue Clematis for its fun and spiky flower form, delicate foliage, and of course, its appealing periwinkle color. It’s an ideal choice to represent Very Peri.

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Imagine my delight when I discovered that a second member of the clematis series, Sparky Pink is a lovely match for a second color in the palette, Pantone color 14-1905, otherwise known as Lotus.

Pantone states that the use of one of their suggested balancing colors intensifies Veri Peri, “injecting a feeling of liveliness and visual vibration.”

Imagine these two clematises intertwined with periwinkle blue and lotus pink flowers sharing the same color space. Best of all, the primary bloom time for this Atragene-type clematis is mid-late spring, with reblooming coming throughout the summer – so they will bloom exactly together for most of the spring and summer.

The Sparky series of clematis is hardy down to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5 and heat tolerant to zone 8. They will climb 6-8’ and spread to about 2’ on your trellis or obelisk.

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Wellspring FESTIVUS GOLD® Physocarpus and LET’S DANCE® RHYTHMIC BLUE® Hydrangea macrophylla

Defined as “a holistic and harmonious blend of nature-infused shades,” Wellspring uses natural, subtle tones to highlight the “good-natured” feeling of Pantone’s Very Peri.

The foliage of Festivus Gold ninebark takes on Celery tones (Pantone 14-0647) that, paired with Let’s Dance Rhythmic Blue hydrangea’s periwinkle flowers, is pleasing and compatible.

Festivus Gold ninebark likes to be in full sun and will grow 3-4’ tall and wide. Think about how beautiful a planting of this compact ninebark would be with the equally sized Let’s Dance Rhythmic Blue hydrangea alongside it, showing off its Veri Peri-colored flowers in the summer.

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Keep in mind, in alkaline soils (pH of 7.5 or higher) the flower color on this hydrangea will be pink, and in acidic soils (pH of 6.5 or less), the coloring will be blue or purple. If you typically get pink flowers on your bigleaf hydrangeas and you want blue flowers, you’ll need to add an acidifier to lower your soil pH.

Festivus Gold is hardy in zones 3-7 and Let’s Dance Rhythmic Blue hydrangea is hardy in zones 5-9.

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The Star of the Show Blue CHIFFON® and White CHIFFON® Hibiscus

In a combo, PANTONE describes The Star of the Show as the “happiest and warmest of all the blue hues” surrounded with a range of muted, neutral colors, “whose essence of elegance and understated stylishness convey a message of timeless sophistication.”

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For a late-summer dash of style, try pairing Blue Chiffon rose of Sharon with the neutral flowers of White Chiffon (for 11-4201 Cloud Dancer). Each cultivar bears hundreds of single flowers with a distinctive lacy center tuft on their impressive 8-12’ habit and will tolerate most conditions, including clay soils and black walnut.

The Very Peri blue color of Blue Chiffon rose of Sharon pairs perfectly with White Chiffon and would look stunning surrounded by popular summer perennials in the same neutral palette, such as Blue Ivory hosta and Decadence® 'Vanilla Cream' false indigo.

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Amusements – BLUE DIDDLEY® Vitex and Little QUICK FIRE® Hydrangea paniculata

The most playful of the Pantone combos, Amusements is “a joyous and whimsical color story of irrepressible fun and spontaneity.” And what could be more joyful than a beautiful, pink panicle hydrangea? Little Quick Fire® hydrangea will bloom early in the summer with pure white flowers that age to a lovely Fuchsia Pink (Pantone 15-2718) right about the same time that Blue Diddley chastetree starts to push its beautiful blue flower spikes.

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Similarly sized at around 3-5’ tall and wide, these two shrubs intermingled in drifts or hedges would make a very whimsical statement, indeed. Little Quick Fire® hydrangea is hardy in zones 3-8 and Blue Diddley chastetree in zones 5-9.

Those are my color palette pairings, now try it yourself! Mix in annuals and perennials to include the entire color harmony in a palette. Just be sure to choose plants that bloom at or near the same time, lest your color matching plans be for naught! This, of course, is made easier when some of the colors you choose are foliage, which will provide a stable season-long backdrop for your story. But most of all, have fun. That’s what gardening is all about.


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

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