Hydrangea Companion Plants: Full List of Pairings
Hydrangeas make a great addition to any yard or garden, but you’ll want to make sure you grow the right plants near them. Here are some of the best hydrangea companion plants to grow around these shrubs so you can maximize the space and health of both your hydrangeas and their companions. There’s also a list at the end with bad companion plants for hydrangea so you know which ones to avoid.
If you’re trying to pick the right companion plants for hydrangea, you first have to understand your plant’s needs. Hydrangeas generally like cool and slightly shaded growing areas, with around 4-6 hours of sun a day. Most do best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Full shade, however, can be a little too much shade and cause them not to bloom.
Their light needs vary based on the type of hydrangea, though: panicle hydrangeas, for example, are fine in full sun as long as they’re kept watered, and you can easily grow them with any other full-sun-loving plants or small plants that enjoy being shaded by them.
On the other hand, hydrangea macrophylla (commonly known as bigleaf, lacecap, or mophead hydrangeas) prefer being shaded and kept in only partial sun. This means that good companions for them are often smaller plants that also love shade or larger ones that can receive the full force of the afternoon sun and offer some shade for the hydrangeas.
Hydrangea plants love rich soil with added compost or manure, and they also enjoy receiving a special hydrangea fertilizer specific to their color. Blue hydrangeas require acidic soil, while pink hydrangeas should be grown in alkaline soils. White hydrangeas can be grown in either. The pH directly affects your hydrangea blooms and can turn a previously pink hydrangea blue, and vice versa! (Panicle hydrangeas aren’t affected and will always stay the same color, though).
Moisture is the last essential factor. Hydrangeas require consistently moist soil, but it must drain well. Hydrangeas have to be watered regularly, especially when it’s hot out. Mulching helps retain moisture and keeps the soil cool.
Full List of Hydrangea Companion Plants
The following plants can all be grown near hydrangeas. While most don’t perform traditional companion plant duties like repelling pests, they all enjoy similar growing conditions or provide complementary sun/shade options for your hydrangeas. Many of them are also perennials, so they’re equally easy to maintain.
If you need help with the basics of companion planting, check out the full companion planting guide with links to many other pairings for fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your home garden. Otherwise, here’s the list that’s specific to hydrangeas:
Annual Flowers to Plant Near Hydrangeas
• Begonias – Begonias enjoy shady conditions and provide weed control around the base of your hydrangeas.
• Potentilla – Potentilla can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, making it an acceptable pairing for hydrangeas, especially when grown so that it blocks some direct light from the hydrangea.
• Salvia – Salvia enjoys similar growing conditions to hydrangeas.
Perennial Flowers and Bushes to Grow Near Hydrangeas
• American Holly – American holly has similar needs to hydrangeas. It loves acidic soil, so it’s perfect for blue hydrangeas.
• Astilbe – Astilbes enjoy the same growing conditions as hydrangeas: partial shade and moist soil.
• Azaleas – Azaleas love the same shady, rich soil that hydrangeas do. They prefer acidic soil, so these are best paired with blue hydrangeas.
• Bee Balm – Bee balm thrives in the same rich soil that hydrangeas love.
• Bellflowers – Bellflowers enjoy acidic, well-draining soil, making them the perfect pairing for blue hydrangeas.
• Black-Eyed Susans – A black-eyed susan plant can survive in a wide range of soil conditions, including those hydrangeas like.
• Bleeding Hearts – Bleeding hearts are also shade-loving plants, making them a great pairing for hydrangeas.
• Butterfly Bushes – Butterfly bushes like well-drained soil and can block some sun from hydrangeas when positioned properly.
• Coneflowers – Coneflowers enjoy the same type of soil and dappled light as hydrangeas.
• Coral Bells – Coral bells, or heuchera, are one of the best companion plants for hydrangea. Short and shade-loving, they provide an attractive weed barrier around the base of hydrangea bushes. In addition to pretty blooms, they provide colorful foliage that’s interesting all on its own.
• Daylilies – Daylilies enjoy similar conditions and come back every year with little maintenance, just like hydrangeas, making them a great choice.
• Foxgloves – Foxgloves are happiest in similar growing conditions to hydrangeas.
• Hellebores – Hellebores are also shade-loving perennials and make great companion plants around the base of your hydrangeas.
• Hostas – Hostas are one of the best pairings for hydrangeas. They like the same slightly acidic soil as blue hydrangeas, and the hostas benefit from the shade hydrangeas provide when they’re planted near the hydrangea’s base. In turn, they create a weed barrier around hydrangeas.
• Japanese Pieris – Japanese pieris, or andromeda, loves the same growing conditions as hydrangeas.
• Lungworts – Lungworts enjoy shade and suppress weeds around your hydrangeas.
• Purple Cranesbill – Purple Cranesbill likes similar growing conditions to hydrangeas and grows low to the ground, making it perfect for weed control.
• Rhododendrons – Rhododendrons love the same growing conditions as hydrangeas. They like acidic soil, so plant them near blue hydrangeas for the most success.
• Russian Sage – Russian sage grows with alkaline-loving pink hydrangeas, especially when planted so that the sage gets most of the sun and offers the hydrangea some shade.
• Spirea – Spirea enjoy the same soil conditions as hydrangeas. The two work well together, particularly when they’re arranged so that the spirea gets most of the sun and offers some light shade for the hydrangea.
• Veronica Speedwell – Veronica speedwell like similar growing conditions to hydrangeas and aren’t picky about soil aciditiy, making them perfect companion plants for any color of hydrangea. They also bring in pollinators.
• Virginia Sweetspire – Virginia sweetspire likes the same conditions as hydrangeas and can be grown in acidic or alkaline soil.
Trees to Plant Hydrangeas Near
• Flowering Dogwoods – Flowering dogwood trees give hydrangeas some shade and enjoy the same soil conditions.
• Japanese Maples – Japanese maples are shorter trees that offer shade to hydrangeas. They also like the same soil conditions as hydrangeas.
Other Good Companion Plants for Hydrangeas
• Blueberries – Blueberries make a great companion plant for blue hydrangeas, since both love acidic soil.
• Boxwood – Boxwood likes the same growing conditions as hydrangeas and flourishes with a little bit of shade and moist soil. It can be shaped into interesting formations.
• Catmint – Catmint likes the same growing conditions as hydrangeas and makes an excellent choice for a hydrangea companion.
• Ferns – Ferns love shade, making them ideal companions for around the base of your hydrangeas. Pick different types of ferns for your particular hydrangea: acid-loving ferns if you have blue hydrangeas or an alkaline fern for pink flowers on your hydrangeas!
• Lamb’s Ear – Lamb’s ear provides ground cover around the base of your hydrangeas.
• Juniper – Junipers are evergreen shrubs that make an attractive weed barrier for around hydrangeas when you get a small variety.
• Ninebarks – Ninebarks can survive in many different soil conditions, which means they can be paired with any color hydrangea.
• Ornamental Grasses – Ornamental grasses like blue fescue and hakone grass fill in around hydrangeas to provide weed control.
• Yews – Like hydrangeas, yews love shade.
Bad Companion Plants for Hydrangea
Some herbs and flowers should be kept away from hydrangeas. These bad companion plants for hydrangeas have different light and/or soil quality needs to hydrangeas.
• Lavender – Lavender prefers different growing conditions from hydrangea, so they’re best kept away from each other.
• Roses – Most roses like full, bright sun, which can be overwhelming for hydrangeas.
• Rosemary – Like lavender, rosemary prefers dry soil with fewer nutrients than hydrangeas require.
• Sunflowers – Sunflowers like full sun, and that’s too much sun for hydrangeas.
FAQs About Hydrangea Companion Plants
What not to plant next to hydrangeas?
You shouldn’t plant lavender, roses, rosemary, or sunflowers next to hydrangeas.
Where should you not plant hydrangeas?
You shouldn’t plant hydrangeas in an area of the yard or garden with poor quality soil or soil that doesn’t drain well.
What can I plant in a container with hydrangeas?
Depending on the size of your container, you can plant small ground cover flowers like wax begonias around the base of your hydrangeas.
What is the best evergreen to plant with hydrangeas?
Boxwood is often considered a great evergreen to plant with hydrangeas.
Do hostas and hydrangeas go together?
Yes! Hostas provide a great weed barrier around the base of hydrangeas, and they love the same acidic soil preferred by blue hydrangeas.
Can you mix hydrangeas with other flowers?
Absolutely! You can plant hydrangeas with many different annual and perennial flowers.
Happy Hydrangea Companion Planting!
You now have plenty of great hydrangea companion plants to consider adding to your yard. If you’re getting new hydrangeas, try to plant them strategically around the mature trees and bushes you already have. If you’re planning to maximize the space around hydrangeas that have already been established, go for smaller plants that will fill in around the plants and potentially offer ground cover for these beautiful flowers.
Are you concerned that your hydrangea might be overwatered? Here’s how to tell, along with how to fix it!