Companion Plants for Hydrangeas

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Wondering what to plant with your hydrangeas? You've come to the right place!

Hydrangeas are a statement shrub adored by gardeners across the globe. They are adored for their extreme versatility, with giant flower heads and ever-changing color displays that look great in nearly any garden. When paired with other shrubs, perennials, and grasses, hydrangeas can provide the ultimate focal point for building a garden oasis!

Whether gardening in a sunny spot or trying to spruce up a shaded area, we’ll share our top picks for hydrangea companion plants for nearly any landscape.

How to grow hydrangeas

From watering to sun exposure, here’s everything you need to know to get growing! Some things to consider when planting your hydrangea:

  • Soil: Average, well-drained soils. A 2-3″ layer of shredded bark mulch is highly recommended.
  • Light: Thrives in sun (6+ hours sun) to part sun (4-6 hours sun). Some hydrangeas do well in partial shade (<4 hours sun) or filtered sunlight. Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal for nearly every hydrangea variety, especially in hotter climates. 
  • Water: Hydrangeas have average to high water needs, and once established. For the best growth, soils should never be dry or waterlogged.
  • Fertilizing: Little required. Apply a granular rose fertilizer in early spring if desired.
  • Winterizing: Hydrangeas are cold tolerant and need little more than a 2-3″ layer of mulch to conserve moisture and prevent cold damage to the roots.
  • Maintenance & pruning: This will differ depending on if your hydrangea blooms on old or new wood. If your hydrangea blooms on new wood (panicle & smooth) the plant creates its flower buds only once it has started leafing out in spring. This means it can be pruned in spring and still flower. We recommend cutting back by one-third of its total length in early spring. If your hydrangea blooms on old wood (bigleaf, oakleaf, mountain, & climbing), that means they have their flower buds for the following season all through winter, so they cannot be cut back without removing flower buds. It is best to avoid pruning or trimming them, though you may selectively remove branches to develop a nice shape and silhouette if desired.
hydrangea hedge with black eyed susan

Plants to pair with hydrangeas in the sun

Orange blooms of the Kismet Intense Orange Coneflower

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Are you looking to add a pop of color to your hydrangea hedge? Coneflower’s vibrant flowers atop long, sturdy stems allow you to create a rainbow of perennials in front of your hydrangeas.

Smoky-pink flower spikes arch delicately over the green foliage of the Karley Rose Fountain Grass

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis)

The compact habit of Karl Foerster feather reed grass makes it easily able to tuck in between empty spaces between hydrangeas.

Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Hydrangeas and tickseed are truly the sun-loving pair! We love planting Uptick™ Red Tickseed along the bottom of a limelight hydrangea hedge for a sun-like pop of color in the landscape.

Oso Easy Peasy® Rose from Proven Winners

Rose (Rosa)

Pairing hydrangeas with roses creates a romantic appeal for a stunning cut flower garden. Planting Oso Easy Peasy® Rose alongside Fire Light® Panicle Hydrangea will create a truly swoon-worthy display. 

Close up of 'Goldsturm' Black-Eyed Susan with bright yellow-gold flowers with dark brown centers

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Create the cottage garden of your dreams by pairing hydrangeas with Black-Eyed Susan! We love planting this bright and sunny flower between hydrangea shrubs to create contrast.

Spike Speedwell (Veronica)

Spike speedwell and dwarf hydrangea varieties make an unlikely pair, but we promise these two each offer unique colors and textures to your perennial garden or mixed container.

Rainbow Rhythm® 'Sound of my Heart' Daylily

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Many varieties of daylilies require moist soils and plenty of sunlight, making them easy combination plants in the garden.  Try pairing Limelight Prime® panicle hydrangea with Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Sound of my Heart’ daylily to create a funky and fun color scheme.

Close up of Biokovo Cranesbill with dainty pink flowers and dark green foliage

Cranesbill (Geranium)

The low-growing habit of cranesbill makes it an excellent ground cover below hydrangea shrubs. Cranesbill also features dainty flowers and dense foliage that naturally chokes out weeds at the base of your hydrangea!

Allium

Hydrangeas are the perfect backdrop for allium’s long stems and globe-shaped flowers. Try pairing with Limelight Prime® Panicle Hydrangea for a pop of color in your hedge.

Field of white Shasta Daisy flowers

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum)

Shasta daisies, Black-Eyed Susan, and hydrangeas planted together can create the ultimate cottage garden. No need to overthink it; these plants have similar soil and sun needs.

purple foxglove

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Looking for a funky addition to your hydrangea garden? Foxglove features a tall habit with dozens of unique bell-shaped florets that make a statement. You’ll have the neighborhood buzzing with your rare display!

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

Create a mix of show-stopping shrubs in your hedge or privacy screen with butterfly bush! Bring the pollinator appeal to your garden with the serious flower power from both of these plants planted together.

Plants to pair with hydrangeas in the shade/part sun

Large hosta at base of tree.

Hosta (Hosta)

When gardeners think of popular shade plants, hosta is one of the first that comes to mind! Add near the base of your oakleaf or bigleaf hydrangeas to create contrasting glossy foliage.

White Astilbe with fluff white blooms and vibrant green foliage

Astilbe (Astilbe)

The vibrant colors and playful textures from astilbe make it a whimsical addition to your hydrangea hedge. Just make sure to keep the soil near your astilbe moist for the showy flower plumes to continue all season long.

Goatsbeard (Aruncus)

Goatsbeard and dwarf hydrangeas are shade-tolerant plants that are perfect for small gardens. The soft white blooms from ‘Chantilly Lace’ goatsbeard pair beautifully with the multicolored display from Let’s Dance Sky View® Bigleaf hydrangea.

Crested Surf Japanese Fern with sage-green and white leaflets and purple stems

Ferns

Create contrasting foliage shapes and textures by adding ferns between and in front of hydrangea hedges. Ferns can also add a tropical feel to your shady garden area!

'Green Velvet' Boxwood

Boxwood (Buxus)

Boxwood and hydrangea are the past decade’s superstar hedge shrubs and privacy screens! The versatile foliage from boxwood can be crafted to fit nearly any shape or style. Try planting in front of your hydrangeas and cutting straight along to contrast against the large flowerheads!

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

The glossy foliage from coral bells really stands out planted near hydrangea shrubs. Try tucking between hosta plants at the base of your hydrangea to create a dimensional shade garden.

Written by: Lindsey Griffith, click here to read bio.

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