Color Guide: Complementary Colors

Complementary Colors are opposite from one another on the color wheel.

These colors become more intense when placed together and so are used for making an area standout.  Unless you want a bright show in your garden, you should choose paler tints when color scheming with complementary colors.  The most successful combinations in the garden are yellow and purple, red and green, and blue and orange.  Be creative and remember to consider foliage and individual plants with complementary blooms.

These Southern Living® Tulips are self-complementary:

Lilac Wonder Tulip makes an impact all on its own with a bright yellow center surrounded by soft pink sweetness. As a Species Tulip, they are best suited when planted in a small group without other plants. Keep them in the ground and watch them multiply unique greatness year after year.

Chrysantha Tulip is a red-peach and yellow Species Tulip. Though red and yellow are not complementary colors, the tulip’s outside red complements the green foliage and the green foliage is analogous with the tulip’s inner yellow. Species Tulips multiply on their own when left in the ground and are perfectly eye-catching in their own small group.

Tubergens Gem Tulip speaks volumes in its own large mass of complementary green foliage and outer red bloom with analogous yellow center.