Knowing how to successfully blend different plants is an important part of learning How to plant hydrangea. Of course, companion planting can be beneficial for each plant in the mix.
“Hydrangeas have a kind of effortless elegance. Their bold, simple blooms make them the perfect companion to an exciting array of plants in the landscape,” says Kip McConnell, director of the Southern Living Plant Collection.
‘When choosing companion plants for hydrangeas, think about maximizing color and extending bloom time in your garden. With the right pairing, hydrangeas can help you do just that – they can amplify the color palette and provide months of beauty before passing the ‘baton’ to its companion plant.’
What to plant with hydrangea – the best varieties
“The best companion plants for hydrangeas depend on the type of hydrangea you have, where you plant it (warm or cool zones), how you locate it (south-facing, east-facing, etc.), and the color of the flowers,” says Lauren Palato. , author Success with hydrangea.
Hydrangeas grow best in moist, well-drained soil and thrive in acidic or alkaline soil. It’s important to know what type of soil you have, so when thinking about what to plant with hydrangea, you can choose other varieties that suit you.
Interestingly, the flowers of some types of hydrangea will change depending on the pH of the soil – blue for acidic and pink for alkaline.
You should also keep in mind that most hydrangeas prefer some shade and may have difficulty getting full sun.
knowledge How to prune hydrangea It will also ensure that you are able to get the best results from them.
“Hostas are a great companion plant for hydrangeas,” says Julia Omelchenko, the group’s botanist. NatureID app.
“These compact shrubs feature drop-shaped leaves with bright margins that highlight the simple greenery and pastel-colored hydrangea inflorescences.”
Hostas thrive in nutrient-rich, moist—but not waterlogged—soil and prefer a slightly acidic growing medium. Like hydrangea, it prefers partial shade
“I recommend planting hostas in flower beds and using them in multi-level garden compositions,” Omelchenko adds.
When thinking about what to plant with hydrangeas, consider classic color combinations.
“If you have large-leaf hydrangeas with large blue or pink flowers, try daylilies in contrasting colors like orange—it’s a classic Van Gogh color scheme,” says Palato.
Daylilies are stunning perennials with exotic-looking lily-like flowers. Although they may look delicate, they are surprisingly hardy and easy to grow, and will thrive in most soil types.
“Trouble-free daylilies can take on part of the shade needs of hydrangeas and still produce gorgeous flowers,” Palato adds.
In addition to orange, daylilies come in other colors ranging from pure white to deep red.
“I love the cloud-like white blooms of hydrangea paired with the fragrant white blooms of gardenia,” says McConnell.
“The large, sculpted leaves of the hydrangea blend seamlessly with the deep green leaves of the gardenia, creating the perfect backdrop against which the white flowers of the plant bloom.”
McConnell particularly recommends the ‘Diamond Spire’ gardenia, which produces single, fragrant white flowers in late spring through fall with an upright habit.
However, keep in mind that gardenias will only flourish outdoors in warmer climates—there are species suitable for USDA zones 7a-10b—otherwise they can only be grown indoors.
‘Gardenias enjoy a lot of moisture; “To maximize their gorgeous blooms, feed them with a slow-release, acidic fertilizer such as azalea or camellia fertilizer,” McConnell adds.
4. Echinacea purpurea
“Echinacea purpurea blooms around the same time as hydrangeas and adds a pop of color. “It’s a great plant to include in the forefront of your hydrangeas,” says Sam Hoadley, director of horticultural research at the Cuba Mountain Center Botanical Gardens.
Tolerant of partial shade, Echinacea purpurea grows well in moist, fertile soil where hydrangeas thrive – as long as it drains well – and can be grown in acidic or alkaline soil.
“As an added bonus, this species is also known to attract a large number of insect pollinators,” Hoadley adds.
5. Peris japonica
Pieris japonica blooms early in the season and is a great companion plant for hydrangeas. “This spring-blooming shrub pairs well in a shrub border with hydrangeas; I consider it an opening to a summer hydrangea display,” says Bob Polomsky, Clemson University Cooperative Extension horticulturist.
“These evergreen plants prefer acidic soil and are suitable companions for hydrangeas that produce blue flowers at a soil pH of 5.5 or lower.”
As with hydrangeas, Peris japonica needs a shady, partially sheltered location.
When thinking about what to plant with hydrangeas, don’t overlook trees and shrubs.
“Conifers – thuja, juniper, larch and dwarf pine – are some of the best companion plants for hydrangea,” says Omelchenko.
She recommends creating different elegant compositions by combining tall thuja and spreading hydrangea bushes. “It is best to plant these plants at two levels – high trees in the background and low shrubs in front.
“This design is not only beautiful, but also useful for hydrangeas – thuja gives them the necessary shade.”
Conifers are a wide-ranging species, but generally prefer well-drained, acidic soil. As evergreens, they add color and interest to the garden year-round, including in winter. When cold weather arrives, make sure you know how to winterize hydrangeas to protect them from the elements — and show them off to the conifers.
7. Ornamental grasses
Ornamental grasses add wonderful textural contrast to hydrangeas. Many species are non-invasive, and will happily fill borders, nesting around other plants.
“If your hydrangea has a white flower, try some black mondo grass. The contrasting color it carries throughout the season pairs well with hydrangeas and grows happily in similar conditions,” says Palato.
‘Another very popular companion plant is Japanese forest grass. Like mondo grass, it retains its golden color throughout the season and enjoys the same growing conditions as hydrangea.’
Some hydrangeas, such as ‘Heart Throb’, provide gorgeous blooms over three seasons, putting on a bright display when the weather is warmer. But what about winter? “Smart pairing of camellias provides blooms that pick up where you leave off hydrangeas, ensuring your garden has blooms almost year-round,” says McConnell.
‘Magic October Ruby’ is a beautiful, recommended variety, with winter flowers and glossy green foliage all year round. Ruby is a small grower, a proper semi-dwarf but with a soft, romantic appearance. It thrives in full sun to part shade, in USDA zones 7a-9b
“Camellias prefer well-drained, acidic soil. The simplest way to provide them is to use a commercial mix of rhododendrons, azaleas or camellias—and avoid peat moss, which can quickly dry out and harden,” McConnell adds.
“Known as the false goat’s beard, astilbe grows well alongside hydrangeas,” says Omelchenko.
The foamy flowering plant is shade tolerant, requires abundant watering, and thrives in acidic growing media.
“The appearance of the Astilbe is also a good match because it reflects the beauty of the hydrangea rather than outshines it. “Thanks to its green foliage, the false goat’s beard maintains its decorative value even after the blooming season is over,” Omelchenko adds.
“The delicate, fern-like branches of the plant are pleasing to the eye and look great against the background of the rounded hydrangea leaves.”
10. Jasmine Fiorna
“Clematis viorna is a lesser-known native plant that will be stunning when allowed to climb hydrangea bushes,” Hoadley says.
Jasmine rhizomes thrive in cool, shady conditions at the base of the hydrangea bush while their top growth tolerates partial shade to full sun and can gently intertwine across the hydrangea bush itself.
“Their exotic blooms will provide a pop of color and contrast with the large, showy inflorescences of hydrangeas,” Hoadley adds.
Planting roses and hydrangea together
It is possible to plant roses and hydrangea together. However, since roses are sun-loving, while hydrangeas prefer some shade, you’ll need a more tolerant variety.
Hydrangea paniculate ‘Limelight’ thrives in full sun, and its lemon-colored blooms are the perfect foil for romantic pink roses.
Can you grow peonies and hydrangeas together?
Because peonies bloom earlier in the season than hydrangeas, they can make great planting companions. Once this is over, the plant will begin to die back, making way for the hydrangea to shine.
Peonies thrive in full sun or partial shade, and prefer a sheltered location. It also tolerates most types of soil, provided that it is free-draining.