Hosta are hardy plants often grown for their lush foliage. These leafy perennials can live in partial shade, requiring little attention once established. Most hosta varieties prefer partial shade but can live in full shade. Plants grown in full shade may not grow as big and may have slightly muted foliage color, but they will still grow full and leafy. Hostas have rhizomatous roots that spread with time and form well-behaved clumps.
Hosta plants are adaptable in terms of care and style. The ornamental leaves are at home in a cottage theme, a modern landscape, or just about any garden space. The broad leaves provide a nice background for showy plants and offer contrast for fine-textured flowers and foliage. Hostas go well with most plants that require full to partial shade, including coral bells, astilbe, ferns, geraniums, lenten roses, coleus, and purple fountain grass.
Shrubs To Plant With Hostas
Dogwood is a wonderful shrub to plant along with hostas. The branched structure of the shrub stands out against the arched foliage of the perennial. Some dogwood shrubs feature red branches that provide year-round color and interest. Plant hostas in front of the taller dogwood shrub so both plants are visible and do not compete.
Perennials To Plant With Hostas
Hosta are adaptable plants that can handle most conditions, just like coral bells, making these excellent companion plants. Both hosta and coral bells prefer morning sunlight and afternoon shade, and both feature stunning foliage. Ornamental grasses, like purple fountain grass, also work well with hostas. Both plants grow in a rosette formation, but the thin, narrow leaves of fountain grass provide contrast against the large, rounded hosta vegetation. Plant tall fountain grass behind the hosta to draw the eye up. Ferns are another option that works well with hosta due to their similar care requirements. Large hostas should be planted behind ferns or in an alternating pattern, so the hostas leaves do not overwhelm the delicate fern fronds.
Astilbe is another perennial that pairs well with hostas. This flowering shade lover grows in zones 3 through 9 and features tall flower spikes with blooms in hues of pink, red, or white. The feathery foliage and plume-like flowers make an excellent contrast to hostas‘ large, showy leaves. Astilbe blooms from late spring to late summer and the plumes stand above the leafy hosta, adding height to a planting. Astilbe continues to provide visual interest into the fall when decorative seed pods replace the flowers.
Annuals To Plant With Hostas
Coleus is an excellent annual to plant with hosta because these plants have similar care needs. Coleus grows as a perennial in zones 10 through 11 but is an annual in most areas. The brightly colored foliage of coleus will provide pops of color against the more subdued hosta. Feature several coleus plants in front of the hosta so the larger hosta plants do not overtake or overwhelm the space.
Best Companion Plants For Hostas in Containers
Hostas add a leafy texture to a container and grow well with a variety of companions, including coleus, sweet potato vine, and other annuals. Feature hosta in a container with ivy geraniums planted near the edge so the stems will spill over the side. The trailing stems of geraniums will pair nicely with hosta’s upright form. The bright flowers bloom from spring through fall, providing consistent color.
Lenten rose, or hellebore is another great container companion for hostas. Hellebore blooms in late winter or early spring before most other herbaceous perennials, including hostas, emerge. The flowers often last for several months and begin to fade when the hosta leaves start to unfurl.
Plants Not To Grow With Hostas
Hostas may struggle in full sun, so avoid planting hosta with woody herbs and coneflowers. These shade lovers often languish in dry soil and hot afternoon sun. Hostas can easily handle partial shade, so landscape plants that require some shade and regular moisture are a better match.
Best Plants To Grow With Hostas
Hostas are prized for their ornamental foliage and low care requirements. These perennials will enhance almost any garden design with their broad, showy foliage. Hostas do best with companion plants that require partial sunlight and moist soil. Coral bells, astilbe, ferns, geraniums, and lenten roses make wonderful companion plants for hostas, along with coleus and dogwood.
These images were created to illustrate what the combination could look like in your garden.