Companion plants that are the host's best friend

Companion plants that are the host's best friend

Hostas are a favorite among home gardeners for many reasons, including their hardiness, tolerant care requirements, and stunning foliage. Each year they get larger and give our yards a fuller and more magnificent appearance, but they look even better alongside companion plants. But what are companion plants and what is their purpose? Usually, gardeners place two plants near each other in the hope that they will benefit each other or for mutual benefit. For example, some people choose to plant tomatoes and basil near each other because of the basil's ability to deter insects known to harm tomatoes.

And when it comes to hostas, you can choose from more than 20 companion plants, like Japanese astilbe japonica 'Montgomery', which is deer- and rabbit-resistant and can contrast beautifully with the hosta's bright green foliage. It is also a hardy plant that can reliably coexist alongside hostas in zones 3 through 9. However, there are many options available to meet your gardening needs, and we've listed all the information you'll need below.

1. Coral bells

Coral bells (Heuchera) are great companion plants for hostas because they have the same type of environment, maintenance requirements, and limited sun exposure. They are also an excellent choice for anyone who wants to create an exciting texture and color scheme since they are available in shades of purple and red.

2. Hydrangea

Hydrangea (Hydrangea) and hostas have always been an amazing pair. The combination of colors and luscious greenery can transform any garden into a magical space to relax and enjoy the outdoors. They work well together because they are suitable for most areas in the United States, and both prefer acidic soil.

3. Tulips

Tulips (Tulipa) and hostas benefit from each other due to their life cycles. During the spring, the tulips will provide shade for the hostas. Then, when it's time for the tulips to go dormant, the broad hosta leaves will cover the tulips. This type of flower is also low-maintenance, making this combination ideal for beginner gardeners.

4. Fern

Ferns (Polypodiopsida) are beautiful plants available in different heights with lace-like leaves. They are an excellent choice for those who want to complement their plants with some texture, and both plants thrive in shady, moist areas.

5. Japanese iris

Japanese iris (Iris ensata) will bloom in late spring or early summer and produce stunning purple flowers. Similar to hostas, they thrive in both shady and sunny areas and can be grown in the same type of soil. This means they can be grown so that their stunning leaves blend together to create a beautiful display.

6. Brunner

If you're a fan of combining foliage plants, we suggest pairing Brunnera Macrophylla with hostas. Brunnera produces charming heart-shaped leaves and small blue flowers in spring, which contrast nicely with the hosta's foliage. It is also an excellent choice for those who need a ground cover plant, which can provide additional sun protection for your hosta.

7. Bleeding hearts

Just as the name suggests, bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are uniquely shaped flowers that resemble…bleeding hearts! They are eye-catching and can be used to add a pop of color when planted near a hosta plant. It also thrives in the same type of conditions, such as moist soil and partial shade, and is ideal for planting in zones 2 through 9.

8. Impatience

Impatiens (Impatiens spp.) are available in a rainbow of colors, such as pink, white, purple, and yellow. This type of flower benefits from being planted close to a hosta plant because once it becomes dormant, the hosta plant's foliage will cover the retreating foliage.

9. Azalea

Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) are another viable choice as a companion plant for your hostas. This shrub never gets very large, so it works well in small gardens. Additionally, this plant prefers partial shade and well-drained soil and will provide a pop of color to your outdoor space when hostas are dormant.

10. Don't forget me

Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatic) are gorgeous flowers with minimal maintenance requirements and prefer partial shade. Additionally, its light blue color can complement the green leaves of your hostas while attracting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.

11. Daylily

The daylily (Hemerocallis) is a trumpet-shaped flower available in different vibrant patterns and colors. They can reach about 1 to 6 feet tall, and if you decide to plant them with hostas, you will need to place them in an area where they will receive four to six hours of direct sunlight in the morning.

12. Japanese hakone grass

Not many ornamental grasses like to sit in the shade. However, Japanese Hakone grass (Hakoneshloa) does, making it a great companion plant for your hostas. Their relatively sharp blades deter most deer and rabbits, and they can be combined with hostas to create a beautiful border for your garden.

13. Dogwood

Dogwood (Cornus) looks stunning year-round. In the spring, you can expect to see white or pink flowers, while the appearance of the foliage can vary in shape and color. This plant can be used to compare hostas and to build a foundation for your garden.

14. Creepy Jenny

Since hostas prefer moist soil, creeping jenny plants (Lysimachia), an herbaceous perennial, can be used as a living mulch to help the soil retain moisture. However, they grow quickly, so routine trimmings are likely in order.

15. Garlic

Allium blooms in spring, displaying cheerful purple orbs. However, at the same time, the lower part of the plant begins to turn yellow. So, pairing them with hosta plants can help hide their undesirable quality while keeping your garden looking fresh.

16. English yew

Do you live in an area that is very windy and this is affecting your hosta plants? English yew (Taxus baccata) may be the solution for you. They're able to grow as high as 4 feet, and their needle-like leaves are perfect for providing a bit of protection that can keep hostas from being hit by a blast of cold air.

17. Sweet Woodruff

Sweet woodruff (Galium odorata) is a ground cover plant that blooms in mid-spring at about the same time the hosta's leaves begin to form, providing gardeners with a full, dramatic landscape with contrasting foliage.

18. Cyclamen

We can't witness the beauty of hostas all year round, so it's important to choose a companion plant that can give your garden a pop of color while hostas are dormant. For example, the cyclamen plant (cyclamen) blooms in the fall and winter, showing off hues of pink and purple while your host sits in the background and waits for its time to shine in the spring.

19. Columbine

If you're having trouble attracting pollinators to your hostas, we suggest planting a few columbines (Aquilegia spp.). This flower provides enough nectar to attract bees while adding soft, cool color to your garden.

20. Leopard plant

Since hostas are short plants, pairing them with Ligularia plants can help add a dimension of height to your garden. They typically grow anywhere between 2 to 4 feet tall, and their small yellow flowers are sure to add a feeling of brightness.

21. Begonia

Hosta leaves are usually light green in color. To add a little warmth to your outdoor space, try planting some begonias, available in a variety of warm, vibrant colors. It is also deer and rabbit resistant and grows great in zones 9 to 11.

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