Water and reflection are among the many factors that can change the appearance of your plants.

With so many new varieties and hybrids of flowers being introduced each year, we can have great fun putting unique combinations together. When you discover something unique, don’t hide it among many other plants, colors and textures. Let it take center stage!

Color can be affected by many factors in our landscape. Reflections from surroundings can change or enhance colors, as you can see above. Flowers with complementary colors will appear stronger or brighter when placed together. (Remember that complementary colors are across the color wheel from each other.)

Plants in the shade will appear darker in color. The weather, clouds and sun will change the color of plants as well. Therefore, when we consider color in our planting designs, we need to think about not only the combination of different plants/flowers, but also the effect of the surroundings on the plants. For instance, a dark green wall behind green plants will all blend into nothingness.

Add our intense sun and heat to fuchsia bougainvillea, and they will blind you with brilliance in the spring, and become much more subdued in the summer heat. In the picture above, the true color of the flowers (bracts) is what you will see in the summer heat, while the color reflected in the water is the color during cooler times.

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@gmail.com; and follow the Potted Desert on Facebook.