What to plant with Hostas is a question that comes up often. With their wide leaves and dense growth, it can be hard to decide what will look good with them. Which is why these pictures of landscaping ideas for Hosta companion plants may come in handy.
Hostas are one of the most-commonly recommended plants for shade gardens.
And it’s easy to see why.
They are easy to care for and will thrive in the shade-all-day spots where most plants just don’t grow well.
Which is why I’m planting a bunch of them in the shady part of my yard.
The only problem?
It’s hard to decide what to plant with the Hostas that will look good and add some extra color and interest to the shade garden.
So I went searching for pictures to get some landscaping ideas for Hosta companion plants and thought I would share my favorites.
1 | Spring Bulbs
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Spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils are great companion plants for Hostas, especially when planted under deciduous trees.
Since Hostas are one of the latest perennials to come up in the spring, they let the bulbs have their time in the sun before the tree leaves come out.
By the time the tree leaves emerge, the bulbs are done blooming and the Hostas will have the shade that makes them happy.
Then when the bulb season is done, the Hosta leaves help to cover the bulb leaves.
The perfect combination!
Alliums growing up through the Hostas almost look like they’re the same plant.
Bulbs with spiky leaves (like these wood hyacinths) create an interesting contrast with the wide Hosta leaves.
Spring Bulb Suggestions
2 | Shade Ground Cover Plants
Although Hostas aren’t invasive, they are pretty tough plants.
Which makes the large varieties work really well with shade ground covers (like Pachysandra) that can be a little aggressive.
They will even hold their own against potentially-invasive perennials like Lamium and Periwinkle.
Note: To make sure you aren’t creating a maintenance nightmare in your garden, check with your local nursery to see how aggressive some of these ground covers are in your area before planting.
Of course if you prefer easier to maintain ground covers, Hostas will work fine with them, too.
The Japanese Forest Grass in the picture above is one such example. Its yellow color really stands out against the blue and green Hosta leaves.
Shade Ground Cover Companion Plants
3 | Hostas With Ferns
Another one of the plants that often makes its way into shade gardens is ferns.
So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Hostas and ferns make a pretty good plant combination.
The lacy fern leaves create an interesting contrast against the wide Hosta leaves.
And the two together give the garden a lush, almost tropical feeling.
Planting them along the top of a retaining wall helps to soften the look of the stacked stone.
Japanese painted ferns with their beautiful silver and pink leaves provide both textural and color contrast against a yellow and green ‘June’ Hosta.
Some fern varieties can take over your garden if grown in the right conditions, so be sure to check with your local nursery for the best ones to grow in your area.
4 | Other Hostas
One of the easiest ways to make a statement with Hostas is to plant them with a whole bunch of other Hostas.
To create a big display, put in 3 to 5 plants of 3 to 5 different varieties.
Use some Hostas with variegated leaves and some with solid colored leaves so that it doesn’t look too busy.
Alternating different varieties down the side of a garden border is a beautiful way to line a pathway.
A whole line of the same type can also be stunning.
5 | Other Shade Perennials
Hostas look great with many other shade perennials.
For the most interesting combinations, look for leaves with different textures and colors, and flowers that will stand out against the Hosta leaves.
Blue Hydrangeas and pink spiky Astilbes look beautiful with yellow and green variegated Hostas.
Adding a statue in the middle provides an unexpected focal point.
Perennial geraniums make a good border in front of larger Hostas.
Because of their spiky leaves and colorful flowers, Daylilies are a good Hosta companion plant if they are planted in part shade. (They won’t bloom well if the area is too shady).
Alternating the Daylilies and Hostas makes a beautiful border along a path, or edge of a retaining wall.
In this picture, the dark leaves of Heuchera echo the reddish color of the Maple tree above. And the contrast with the green Hosta leaves makes this plant combination work really well.
Perennial Companion Plants
6 | Annuals
Sometimes, planting a few annuals in with the Hostas is the best way to add some color.
You can do this by putting them in the ground between your perennials like the Coleus in the picture above.
Or plant them in containers that you place in the garden, like the impatiens in this picture.
This option gives you more control over the height of the flowers.
Annual Companion Plants
7 | Under Shade Shrubs and Vines
Hostas also do well with shade-loving shrubs, such as Rhododendrons.
The blooms from the bushes add some extra color to your shade garden.
While Japanese Maples don’t bloom, the red, lacy leaves add some variety to a bed of Hostas.
Climbing Hydrangea is a vine that thrives in the shade.
It takes a while to get going, but once it does, it makes a good complement to Hostas.
The leaves have a similar shape but the lacy flowers add a different texture.
Shrub and Vine Companion Plants
That’s my list of landscaping ideas for Hosta companion plants. Hopefully you’ve found as much inspiration for your shade garden as I did for mine 🙂
Other Hosta Information
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This post was originally published on July 9, 2020 but was updated with new content on September 15, 2022.