Hostas are among the most popular landscape plants due to their attractive foliage and ability to brighten up shady areas. With their wide range of leaf shapes, sizes, and variegations, hostas offer seemingly endless design possibilities. But they really shine when paired with companion plants that play up their features and fill spaces as hostas die back. Here are some top options for what to plant with hosta plants.
Shade-loving annuals fill in around emerging hostas
Annuals like impatiens, wax begonias, coleus, caladiums, and Persian shields make excellent hosta partners, thanks to shared shade tolerance. Choose colorful annuals to contrast or coordinate with hosta leaves—bright red begonias are striking with blue-tinted hostas. Plant annuals around and between hostas to fill bare spots during spring growth before hosta leaves reach full size. Just remove annuals before dig hostas go dormant.
Flower bulbs provide early color before hostas grow
For early spring color that disappears just as hostas unfurl, plant spring-blooming flower bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocus. Place them near the outer edges of hosta clumps where foliage won’t hide blooms. The leaves will cover fading bulb foliage. Summer-blooming lilies and gladiolus also combine nicely with hostas when planted behind or amidst groups so as not to detract from the dramatic leaves.
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Delicate ferns beautifully accent broad hosta leaves
There might not be a more perfect companion for hostas than woodland ferns. Their delicate, lacy texture nicely contrasts the wide hosta leaves for added visual interest.
And they share the same growing conditions preferences for rich soil and shade. Japanese painted ferns (Athryrium niponicum) offer stunning silver and red tones that really make blue and gold hostas pop nearby.
Match or contrast blue hosta leaves with similar brunnera
Like hostas, brunnera offer stunning blue foliage, though generally smaller, heart-shaped leaves.
Pairing the two together by repeating those mesmerizing blue tones creates soothing vignettes.
Or use silver and white variegated brunneras along with gold hostas for bright light in dark corners. This shade-loving perennial flowers in spring with tiny blue forget-me-not blossoms.
Ornamental grasses take center stage when hostas fade
While hostas go dormant in winter, ornamental grasses shine at the end of the season with golden fall foliage and feathery, swaying seed heads. Plant them behind hostas to hide declining foliage.
Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra) work especially well, tolerating the filtered light under trees that hostas require.
Astilbe flowers and foliage beautifully brighten hosta beds
For delicate, fluffy plumes of flowers ideal for cutting, astilbes are a made-in-shade companion for hostas. Their fern-like foliage fills space between hosta plants.
And their blooms, available in white, pinks, reds, and purples, rise above the leaves on airy stems, creating lovely combinations like deep red astilbe flowers against blue hostas. They thrive in the same moist, nutrient-rich soil as hostas.
Colorful heucheras complement hostas with their range of hues
Also called coral bells, heucheras rank as one of the most popular companion plants for hostas and other shade lovers.
Their scalloped leaves come in shades of green, deep purple, golden chartreuse, silver blue, and everything in between.
Plant clumping heucheras around hostas to add color and year-round body. Shorter varieties make excellent edging plants along hosta groupings.
Hostas can be combined beautifully with all kinds of shade-loving perennials, annuals, bulbs, and ornamental grasses. Choose companion plants like ferns, coral bells, astilbes, and brunnera that feature colorful flowers and foliage to accent the hostas’ dramatic leaves. Vary textures and dimensions to keep plantings dynamic. Together, these partners in shade can create stunning displays!