Avens Companion Plants

Geums, more commonly called avens, are hardy perennial plants native to most temperate climates throughout the world. These dainty-looking plants are members of the rose family and will grow in almost any type of soil or sun exposure with little annual maintenance. These plants are best suited for open meadows, cottage gardens, or informal country gardens where their loose growing habit and tendency to self-seed will be appreciated or even encouraged. Avens provide nectar for beneficial pollinators and cover for smaller visitors to wildlife gardens. Grow Avens in soil that is well draining throughout the year. Seasonal flooding, especially during cold temperatures in winter,  is likely to cause problems such as crown and root rot. 


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Shrubs To Plant With Avens

Grow Avens near native hedgerows in either full sun or part shade. It combines well with mountain laurel, dogwoods, hazelnut, red currant, elderberries, and snowberries, creating a display of informal, but restrained, wildness. Avens will grow well at the edge of a woodland setting just outside the tree canopy. Dappled shade provided by larger growing shrubs and trees is perfect to support good flowering and strong growth. 

Perennials To Plant With Avens

Avens grows well with a wide range of wildlife-friendly perennials. As long as the plant tolerates consistently moist soils and full sun / part shade, just about any perennial is an option. For a sunny bed, choose ornamental grasses, catmint, coreopsis, or iris. For shadier beds, delphiniums, coral bells, columbine, and cranesbill all have gentle flowers that rise above the base of the plant and sway in the slightest of breezes.  Avens’ basal rosette of foliage looks good before and after the plant has finished blooming and is useful for covering up early spring bloomers like daffodils, crocus, or checker lilies as their foliage dies back slowly in early summer.  


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Annuals To Plant With Avens

Bachelor's buttons, cosmos, nicotiana, zinnias, and sunflowers are all great partners for Avens. Their height and self-seeding tendencies will help to give a garden a wild and seemingly unplanned look, which is charming in cottage gardens, open meadows, and country garden plans. Choose colors of annuals that will either blend with the Avens' often bright flowers or contrast to give an eclectic and energized feeling to the garden. 

Best Companion Plants For Avens in Containers

Mixed containers designed with perennial plants make for long-lasting displays of color with a slightly more permanent feel than a planter solely filled with short-lived annuals. Avens grows well in a container with summer-blooming Shasta daisy and coreopsis. Select a large pot (at least 19 inches in diameter) and fill it with high quality, organic potting soil. All three plants will attract pollinators while in bloom. As the Shasta daisy finishes blooming in mid-summer, the coreopsis and avens will continue the color display until fall. 

You can also mix avens with strong foliage plants like coleus and angel wing begonias. Using silvery and/or dark foliage will highlight the subtle coloring of avens. 

Plants Not To Grow With Avens

Avens do not grow well in seasonally wet soils (e.g., during heavy rains in winter) or with plants that thrive in any amount of standing water. Plants that like boggy soils like gunnera, rodgersia, and cattails will make poor companions for avens. In rain gardens, avens can be successfully planted in the outside transition zone where drainage is typically very good.  Conversely, avens will not grow well with plants that thrive in desert-like dryness such as cacti, echeveria, and agave, which require minimal supplemental watering. 

Best Plants To Grow With Avens

Avens grows best in full to part sun and in soil that retains moisture while still draining well. Plant this perennial in locations where the smallish flowers can be enjoyed up close. Large raised beds or stone wall gardens are perfect for creating an informal cottage garden with other perennials and annuals such as delphiniums, garden phlox, and shasta daisies. Avens are also at home sprinkled throughout a naturalized planting and will attract beneficial pollinators and other wildlife. Plant it with other tallish growing wildflowers like bachelor's buttons, cosmos, poppies, or coreopsis.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 10-16-2023