The Q&A Archives: Companion Plants

Question: I have a small (6 ft.) dogwood (species unknown); and planted about 4 feet in front of it is a peony. The dogwood and the peony bloom about the same time; it is a beautiful sight. However they are in bloom for a relatively short period of time. I would like to add another plant between them... one that will bloom the entire summer. Do you have any suggestion or would I overcrowd the area?

Answer: Usually it is better to leave the area beneath a dogwood undisturbed because they are shallow rooted and their root systems are fragile. You might use an evergreen groundcover of sorts such as periwinkle, but this will bloom in early spring as well. Another possibility might be ceratostigma plumbaginoides (hardy Plumbago) which emerges in late spring to carpet the ground and produces bright blue flowers in late summer, and finally, turns a burgundy shade for fall, a nice echo to the dogwood foliage. You could also add some of the minor spring bulbs such as crocus, scilla and chionodoxa and allow them to naturalize to minimize the need for any digging.

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