This one is a little stranger than it sounds. The best way to think of complimentary colors is to think of “color echoing,” as a synonym. In other words, you choose one color that you like and then “echo” it in the other colors in the garden or the container combination.
It’s really easy to see how I have done that with this container. I took the white begonia–or the white container, for that matter–and I “echoed” the white ribs in the leaves of the alocasia and the white variagation of the creeping ficus.
It’s a little harder–but not impossible–to do in a garden.
This is some perennial begonia, growing out for the cracks in my slate steps. It’s backed by a red Japanese maple–and for some extra color, I have a couple of burgundy mums up there on the top of the slate wall.
Another container, this time with mostly perennials (the monkey grass doesn’t over winter for me but the coral bells have–for 7 years!)
So that should give you some idea of how “color echoing” works. Give it a try!
When I lived in town, my next door neighbor was an artist, so could help me with color. I did not select many plants while there because most were acquired from former homes, travels, work and such. Once in a while, I procured seed and bulbs, and typically went with yellow and orange because it fit the building. I never would have selected yellow and orange on my own, but it really did fit nicely. We grew sunflowers because another neighbor was from Oklahoma. I also had yellow and orange gladiolus with my nasturtiums. It was rad.
Interesting to hear you say that “yellow and orange fit the building.” When I worked in retail gardening, I was constantly getting the question about whether (& what color) zonal geraniums “went with” a brick house. To me, they all did–but obviously my customers didn’t think so!
Sadly, that place, which had been in existence almost 100 years and had marvvelous specimen plantings, is gone. And of course, they bulldozed most of the specimen plantings too when they started putting up houses. So wastefull.