Companion Plants for Hostas

What Would You like to Learn About Today?

Hostas have earned their status as one of the most popular perennials for shade gardens. Their thick, corrugated leaves form graceful mounds of foliage that keep their appeal from spring to fall. Most importantly, they’re easy to grow (even for beginners) in containers, garden beds, and city environments. By this point, we hope to have already convinced you to add at least one hosta to your landscape. But what plants should you pair with them?

The possibilities seem endless, especially since hostas are one of the most versatile plants we offer. They come in an array of shapes, colors, and sizes, which means they play well with others but can also create a dynamic garden all on their own. We’ll spell out our favorite companion plants for hostas to get you started, but let your creativity flow as you mix and match them.

How to grow hostas

It’s crucial to know how to grow hostas before selecting compatible plants. Hostas grow best in morning sun and cool afternoon shade. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to pair it with lavender, which prefers full sun and dry soils. The best plants to pair will grow in similar conditions.

  • Soil: Prefers to grow in average or fertile soil.
  • Light: Thrives in shade (< 4 hours sun) to part sun (4-6 hours sun). Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal, especially in hotter climates. 
  • Water: Hostas have average water needs, and once established, they have some tolerance for dry shade (particularly plants with thick leaves). For the best growth, soils should not dry out.
  • Fertilizing: In spring, a light fertilizer can be applied around the emerging plant. It may not be necessary if your garden has fertile soil.
  • Winterizing: Slugs lay their eggs in dead hosta foliage, and removing leaves after frost will deter slugs from returning in spring. Cut the foliage back in late fall, but leave 4-6 inches standing to protect the crown over winter. In cold climates, spread an extra layer of mulch (2″ thick) for added insulation.
  • Maintenance & pruning: Groom plants by removing dead leaves and cutting flower spikes back as they finish blooming in summer.

Plants to pair with hostas

Dolce Wildberry coral bells has vibrant purple foliage

The peanut butter and jelly pairing of the garden world: hostas and coral bells. Both perennials are beloved for their long-lasting color that persists from spring to fall. 

Honeymoon 'Tropical Sunset' lenten rose has yellow and pink flowers.

Evergreen lenten roses (or hellebores) bloom in winter while hostas are still dormant, ensuring your shaded garden beds are appealing before your hostas even emerge.

Ferns have feather-like fronds that contrast nicely with hostas’ broad leaves. Like hostas, ferns grow well in problematic sites, which means even shady corners can look lush.

Visions Astible has fluffy pink and purple flowers in summer

Shaded gardens are known for their foliage, but don’t forget the flowers! Pair hostas with astilbe’s fluffy plumes for a textured landscape.

Hydrangeas have large flowers that last all summer long

Hostas aren’t just meant for shade. They also grow well in part sun, which means you can match them with other moisture-loving plants, like hydrangeas.

Charming heart-shaped flowers on bleeding hearts bloom well in part sun and shade. The broad leaves of hostas serve as the perfect backdrop for the delicate blooms.

Silver foliage on brunnera shimmer in the shade

Brunnera’s silver heart-shaped shimmer is just enough to catch your eye, so we like to tuck them between hostas to keep the garden interesting.

All Gold Japanese forest grass has narrow leaf blades and golden foliage

We love pairing Japanese forest grass (or Hakonechloa) with hostas with chartreuse variegation to brighten the shade. 

Diervilla is an easy-growing shrub that keeps your garden low maintenance, even in shade. Plus, its orange and chartreuse foliage pairs well with cool-colored hostas.

Scentlandia Sweetspire blooms in the summer, even in shade

Fragrant spikes of white flowers on sweetspire bloom in summer. When they’re planted with hostas that have fragrant flowers, pollinators (and gardeners) won’t be able to resist visiting your garden.

Lungworts are eclectic perennials that bloom in spring.

Eclectic lungworts always add interest to shade gardens. Colorful flowers bloom in spring, and after they fade, silver-speckled foliage shimmers alongside your hostas.

Japanese anemones are known for their tall stems and satiny flowers, which look somehow even more whimsical as they float above your hostas. 

Designs from our garden journal

Written by: Miranda Niemiec, click here to read bio.

Questions, comments, or concerns? Let us know! We have an experienced, knowledgeable staff ready to make sure your garden turns out perfect. Or check out our other blogs, here.