How To Plant Hostas And Hydrangeas Together (Explained)

Hosta and hydrangea together

So you want to know how to plant hostas and hydrangeas together?

In fact are they even good companion plants?

And what else can be planted with hydrangeas?

We answer all of those questions and more in this article

So let’s get started.

How To Plant Hostas And Hydrangeas Together

Hostas and hydrangeas are perfect companion plants, sharing many of the same growing needs. The key to planting them successfully together is planning out the space you have available and the area your chosen varieties will take up. Mix and match colors and shapes carefully and the effect can be quite stunning.

Hostas and Hydrangeas Compliment Each Other Perfectly

“Hostas are a great companion plant for hydrangeas”, says botanist Julia Omelchenko.

And she is right, hostas and hydrangeas do make great (flower) bedfellows.

Both enjoy the morning sun, but prefer shade in the afternoon, both like soil that is constantly moist without being waterlogged and both are happy in slightly acidic soil.

If anything hostas are more shade tolerant than hydrangeas, which provides another benefit if you plant the two of them together – the smaller hostas can act as effective ground cover under the shade of a hydrangea.

Planted like this the hostas will shade out weeds and also cover the sometimes leggy-looking bottom half of hydrangeas.

In return, the hydrangea leaves will cover the pale hosta flower spikes that can look less than attractive.

So as you can see the two plants really do work well together.

So that leaves the question of how to plant them together.

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Planting Your Hostas and Hydrangeas

Once you have decided to plant hostas and hydrangeas together, you then need to decide how you are going to use them.

  1. In a border or around the foundations of your house.
  2. As a focal point in your garden.

For Planting as Part of a Border

When planning this, remember you will want the taller hydrangeas at the rear and the smaller hostas in front of them.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have enough space for both plants. Then:

  1. Plant the hydrangeas in the ground. Make sure they are planted far enough from your house, so they have sufficient room to spread. Use the table in our article on Can Hydrangea Roots Damage Foundations as a reference point.
  2. Choose around two or three hostas per hydrangea. You will want to select hostas that work well with the pink, blue, purple or white hydrangeas you will have. Also consider the shape of your hydrangeas.
  3. Plant the hostas according to the directions of the nursery and create a more natural look by staggering the rows.
  4. Spread mulch under the hydrangeas and hostas to create a harmonious feeling.

For Planting as a Focal Point in Your Garden

Planting hydrangeas and hostas as a focal point in your garden essentially follows the same principles as above.

Once again the most important part of the process is making sure you have space for a hydrangea in the center and then a series of hostas encircling it.

Remember some hydrangeas can grow up to 12 feet wide, with hostas growing up to 5 feet across.

  1. Plant the hydrangea in the center of the designated area.
  2. Select around six hostas to plant and remember to consider the spread of the hydrangea and of the hostas. Again make sure you take into account colors and sizes so the two plants have the maximum impact when together.
  3. Plant the hostas in a ring around the hydrangea. Make sure you leave enough room for them to spread. Again you can use the table in our article on Can Hydrangea Roots Damage Foundations as a reference point.
  4. Finish off by laying mulch under both plants to tie the entire bed together.

One additional thing you may want to consider in both instances is the fact that the space might look a bit bleak when they both die back in the winter.

If that is a concern for you there are a number of plants you can also add to give you some color in the colder months.

For instance pieris, for pink or red leaves in spring, daffodils or tulips for an added splash of color, or snowdrops and cyclamen to brighten things up all year round.

So what other popular plants work well with hydrangeas? Let’s take a look…

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Can Hydrangeas and Roses Be Planted Together?

Whilst it isn’t out of the question to plant hydrangeas and roses together, they really aren’t particularly suited.

This is because they are at odds with one fundamental point.

Roses are sun-loving, whilst most hydrangeas prefer ample shade.

Plus both go dormant in the winter, so you would be left with no foliage if they were planted together.

However, if you are determined to grow them together, there is one combination that will work.

Paniculate hydrangeas are different from the majority of their compatriots, they prefer to grow in full sun.

The limey-colored blooms of the paniculate hydrangea ‘Limelight’ will therefore work wonderfully well set amongst romantic pink roses.

Or alternatively, the Bobo hydrangea could also be suitable for growing with roses.

Can Hydrangeas and Peonies Be Planted Together?

These two classic garden plants make a great pairing.

The beauty here is peonies bloom from late spring until the end of the summer, whilst hydrangeas start blooming in the midst of summer and usually last until somewhere around the first frost.

So when your peonies are done blooming and start to fade, your hydrangeas will be getting into full flight and take over as the center of attention.

They both share a love of well-drained, slightly acidic soil, that remains moist without being waterlogged.

But peonies do prefer full sun, unlike most hydrangeas that thrive in the shade.

So this is where the hydrangea paniculata comes to the rescue again.

Try planting the Limelight we mentioned above, alongside Scarlet O’Hara peonies for a gorgeous contrast in colors that will last around six months or more.

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Can Hydrangeas And Lilacs Be Planted Together?

Lilacs and hydrangeas do have some fundamental differences that can make them more difficult to grow together than some of the other pairings in this list.

As we have said previously most hydrangeas like the shade, and are happy just with a bit of sun in the morning. They tend to favour slightly acidic soil and also soil that is constantly moist.

Lilacs on the other hand will not bloom well without enough sun, and want around 6 to 8 hours of it. They also have a liking for soil that is more alkaline and are happy in dry soil.

These contrasting needs mean there are other better options to pair together.

Can Hydrangeas And Rhododendrons Be Planted Together?

Rhododendrons with sky above

Hydrangeas and rhododendrons are ideally suited to growing together.

They both like sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, both thrive in acidic soil and both like soil that is rich in organic matter and consistently moist.

They have a slight difference in when they bloom. Rhododendrons show their gorgeous flowers from late spring to early summer, whilst hydrangeas show up a little later in mid-summer.

But yes they can most definitely be planted together.

Can Hydrangeas And Azaleas Be Planted Together?

The rhododendron genus includes both rhododendrons and azaleas.

Azaleas have deciduous leaves and funnel-shaped flowers, whereas rhododendrons have evergreen leaves and bell-shaped flowers.

So you can probably guess that as they are part of the rhododendron genus and as rhododendrons are great plants to pair with hydrangeas, then so are azaleas.

Everything mentioned above regarding rhododendrons goes for azaleas too.

There is one thing to know when growing hydrangeas and azaleas together though.

Drainage is much more critical with azaleas, and they are susceptible to root rot in general.

If your flower bed is sloping, then planting azaleas on the slope can ensure their soil is properly drained.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the title question of how to plant hostas and hydrangeas together, the key is in the planning.

Make sure you work out how much space you have available and how big your chosen varieties of hydrangea and hosta will grow.

Consider colors and shapes and then simply plant according to how much space they need.

They do work wonderfully together and should be a real eye-catcher in your garden.

As for what else will grow well with hydrangeas, well peonies, rhododendrons and azaleas are all great matches but lilacs and roses are less so.

You do have plenty of choices though when it comes to companion plants for your hydrangeas, pick wisely and you can give yourself a vibrant-looking garden for most of the year.

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