Hydrangeas are popular flowering shrubs that can add beautiful pops of color to any garden. With their large, showy blooms, hydrangeas make great focal points and can be used as foundation plantings, in borders, or even in containers. When planted alongside other flowers and plants, hydrangeas can be shown off to their full potential. But what should you plant with hydrangeas? Here are some tips on companion plants that complement these gorgeous flowers.
Plants that Thrive in Similar Conditions
The first thing to consider when choosing companion plants is those that have similar growing requirements as hydrangeas. This ensures that all plants in your garden bed or border will thrive in the same environment.
Hydrangeas prefer moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Amending soil with compost or leaf mold when planting provides an ideal soil environment. Plants that also thrive in fertile, humus-rich soil make great pairings, such as:
Coral bells (Heuchera)
Most hydrangeas do best in partial shade or dappled sunlight. When planted in too much sun, especially hot afternoon sun, their blooms can fade. Some companions that also flourish in partial shade include:
Adequate moisture is key for lush, beautiful hydrangea blooms. Companion plants with similar watering needs are ideal, such as:
Plants that appreciate consistent watering and moist soil make excellent pairings with hydrangeas.
When planted alongside other flowers, hydrangeas can provide an elegant pop of color and texture. Choosing companion plants with complementary flower colors creates a more striking display.
For blue hydrangea varieties, ideal color pairings include:
Yellow flowers – Coreopsis, rudbeckia, daylilies
White flowers – Annabelle hydrangea, astilbe, spirea
Pink or purple flowers – Lavender, alliums, veronica
For pink hydrangea blooms, complementary plants include:
Blue flowers – Plumbago, lobelia, balloon flower, salvia
White flowers – Phlox, Shasta daisy, baby’s breath
Purple flowers – Lavender, catmint, clematis
Texture and form are important design elements in the garden. Hydrangeas can provide excellent foliage contrast when paired with plants like:
Fine, wispy grasses – Hakonechloa, blue oat grass
Large, bold leaves – Rodgersia, ligularia, hosta
Delicate, lacy foliage – Astilbe, lady’s mantle, ferns
Pairing hydrangea’s large, showy blooms with fine-textured grasses, for example, creates visual interest and depth. Contrasting leaf shapes, sizes and colors prevents a flat, one-dimensional look.
Flowering Shrubs & Vines
Other flowering shrubs and vines also make excellent companion plants for hydrangeas, including:
Clematis – Grow a clematis vine along a trellis or fence near hydrangeas. Prune the vine lightly to encourage flowering during hydrangea bloom time.
Roses – Choose repeat blooming varieties to extend the flowering display. Place roses and hydrangeas together in borders.
Azaleas & rhododendrons – These acid-loving shrubs thrive under the same conditions as hydrangeas. Place them together in a woodland or shade garden.
Honeysuckle – Let this fragrant vine meander through and ramble over your hydrangea shrubs.
Good Companion Plants by Hydrangea Type
Some easy-care pairings for the most popular hydrangea varieties include:
Bigleaf – Astilbes, hostas, hellebores, pulmonaria
Panicle – Russian sage, yarrow, coreopsis, ornamental grasses
Oakleaf – Ferns, astilbe, wiegela, spirea
Smooth – Crape myrtle, hibiscus, roses, rudbeckia
Play around with color schemes, foliage textures, and bloom times. With the right companion plantings, your hydrangeas will put on their best show yet.
Hydrangeas are already fabulous focal points on their own, but they can be made even better by combining them with plants that have complementary characteristics. Selecting companion plants with similar growing needs, contrasting colors or textures, and overlapping bloom times allows your hydrangeas and other flowers to really enhance each others’ features. The pairing possibilities are endless!