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20 Best Hosta Companion Plants

As one of the most beloved garden plants, hostas deserve a place in any landscape. Pair this easy-care perennial with other shade lovers for a dazzling display.

Contributors: Janet Loughrey

Hostas are reliable perennials with impressive foliage that thrive in shade gardens. There are many plants with similar growing needs that pair well with hostas. Here are suggestions for some of the best hosta companion plants to grow.

astilbe1. Astilbe (Astilbe)

Montgomery Japanese Astilbe

Showy plumes in colors of red, pink, purple or white bloom above lacy foliage in summer. The delicate upright structure contrasts nicely with the bold mounding foliage of hosta. Plant this moisture lover along a stream or combine astilbe and hostas in a bed, border or mass planting.

Hardy in zones 3-9, partial shade to shade, 8-48” tall, deer and rabbit resistant

azalea2. Azalea (Rhododendron)

Perfecto Mundo® Double Pink Reblooming Azalea

This evergreen or deciduous shrub produces funnel-shaped flowers in an array of colors in spring, with some reblooming in fall. Use hostas as an underplanting, or pair azaleas and hostas in a foundation planting or woodland setting.

Hardy in zones 3-9, full sun to partial shade, 1-20’ tall

barrenwort3. Barrenwort (Epimedium)

Pink Champagne

Delicate four-petaled flowers emerge in early spring, followed by small heart- or lance-shaped leaves. The patterned or tinted foliage remains evergreen in milder climates. Mass as a ground cover in challenging deep shade sites as an understory plant alongside hostas.

Hardy in zones 5-9, partial sun to shade, 8-12” tall, deer and rabbit resistant


begonia4. Begonia (Begonia)

Double Delight® Blush Rose

This versatile warm season annual occurs in a wide range of flower colors, leaf shapes and patterns. The neat mounding habit complements hostas, whether grown in containers, borders or mass plantings.

Hardy in zones 9-11, partial sun to shade, 6-18” tall, deer and rabbit resistant 

Learn about growing begonias

bleeding heart5. Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos, syn. Dicentra)

Valentine® Bleeding Heart

Charming heart-shaped flowers occur along arching stems in shades of pink, white or red. The lacy foliage and elegant upright structure of this spring bloomer provides delicate contrast to the bold leaves of hosta. Plant bleeding hearts and hostas together in a shade garden or container.

Hardy in zones 3-9, partial shade, 2-3’ tall, deer resistant 

bugleweed6. Bugleweed (Ajuga)

Chocolate Chip Bugleweed

The patterned or colored foliage of this mat-forming perennial is complemented by short flower spikes in late spring to early summer. Use this quick-growing ground cover to fill in tough shady spots underneath trees, shrubs, hostas and other perennials.

Hardy in zones 3-9, full sun to shade, 3-6” tall, deer and rabbit resistant 

caladium7. Caladium (Caladium)

Heart to Heart® ‘Blushing Bride’

Add an exotic tropical look to shady areas with the large heart-shaped leaves of caladium that come in a wide array of patterns and colors. Pair this heat lover with hostas in a shade border, foundation planting or massed in the landscape.

Hardy in zones 9-11, partial to full shade, 12-24” tall, deer and rabbit resistant 

clematis8. Clematis (Clematis)

Sparky® Blue Clematis

One of the most versatile perennial vines, clematis blooms from spring to fall, depending on the variety, with an array of flower colors and forms. Grow along a fence, trellis or arbor, in the ground or containers.

Hardy in zones 3-10, full sun to partial shade, 2-50’ tall, deer and rabbit resistant 

coleus9. Coleus (Coleus, syn. Plectranthus, Solenostemon)

ColorBlaze® Royale Pineapple Brandy

Grown for the colorful foliage, this warm season annual occurs in an endless range of patterns, hues and leaf shapes. Plants can be upright, mounding or trailing. Combine with hostas in containers, shady borders or mass plantings where a generous splash of color is needed.

Hardy in zones 10-11, partial sun to shade, 6-26” tall, deer resistant 

coral bells10. Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Dolce® ‘Silver Gumdrop’ Coral Bells

Coral bells are grown primarily for the foliage, which occurs in an array of colors, patterns and shapes. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, coral bells and hostas can be combined in a mixed shade border, woodland setting or containers.

Hardy in zones 3-9, partial sun to shade, 8-12” tall, deer resistant

daylily11. Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Ruby Spider’ Daylily

One of the most popular summer blooming perennials, the trumpet-shaped flowers of daylilies occur in a wide range of colors and patterns. Strappy grass-like foliage contrasts with bold hosta foliage throughout the growing season. When landscaping with hostas and daylilies, plant in a site that gets at least 4-6 hours of direct morning sun.

Hardy in zones 3-9, full sun to partial shade, 1-6’ tall

dogwood12. Dogwood (Cornus)

Golden Shadows® Pagoda Dogwood

This deciduous tree or shrub offers four-season appeal, with showy white or pink flowers that appear in spring. Green or variegated foliage comes in varying shapes, some with fall color. Pair with hostas for contrast in a woodland border or foundation planting.

Hardy in zones 2-9, full sun to shade, 3-25’ tall, deer and rabbit resistant

fern13. Ferns (Various genus)

‘Ghost’ Fern

Hostas and ferns pair exceptionally well together, with ferns providing lush contrast with deeply dissected patterned or green leaves. Use this moisture lover in challenging deep shade areas and near water features.

Hardy in zones 3-11 depending on the variety, partial sun to full shade, 2”-65’ tall 

foamflower14. Foamflower (Tiarella)

‘Cutting Edge’

Frothy white or pink flowers appear in spring, complemented by attractive green or patterned leaves in varying shapes. Foliage stays evergreen in milder regions. Plant underneath trees or shrubs, or mass as a ground cover in shady or woodland borders.

Hardy in zones 4-9, partial sun to shade, 8-12” tall, deer and rabbit resistant

hydrangea15. Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

Little Quick Fire® Panicle Hydrangea

This popular deciduous shrub comes in a range of sizes and forms, producing large showy flowers from summer into fall, depending on the variety. Use hostas as an understory plant to hydrangeas, or combine hydrangeas and hostas in a mixed border alongside other plants.

Hardy in zones 3-9 depending on the variety, full sun to partial shade, 3-15’ tall

Japanese hakone grass16. Japanese Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa)

‘All Gold’

One of the few ornamental grasses to thrive in shade, the strappy gold or variegated foliage adds bright color to darker areas. The graceful arching habit and fine texture contrasts beautifully with the bold foliage and mounding shape of hostas. Mass as a ground cover or plant in a border with hostas and other shade loving plants.

Hardy in zones 5-9, partial sun to shade, 1-2’ tall, deer and rabbit resistant

Ligularia17. Leopard Plant (Ligularia)

‘Bottle Rocket’

Leopard plant is one of many perennial plants that go with hostas. Large heart-shaped or rounded foliage lends drama and contrast to the landscape. Tall yellow flower spikes occur in summer to brighten up shady spots. Plant this moisture lover near a water feature or in a mixed border.

Hardy in zones 4-9, partial sun to shade, 2-4’ tall, deer and rabbit resistant

lungwort18. Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

‘Spot On’ Lungwort

Bell-shaped flowers occur in early to mid spring in shades of blue, pink, red or white. The lance-shaped deciduous foliage can be green, silver, white or spotted. Pair this moisture lover with hosta in a woodland border, mass planting or containers.

Hardy in zones 3-9, partial to full shade, 6-12” tall, deer and rabbit resistant

brunnera19. Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera)

‘Queen of Hearts’

Clusters of tiny blue flowers that resemble forget-me-nots bloom in spring above heart-shaped foliage in colors of green, gold, silver or white. Use to brighten up deeply shaded areas. Plant in a woodland border, as edging or in mass plantings.

Hardy in zones 3-8, full sun to partial shade, 1-2’ tall, deer and rabbit resistant 

spotted deadnettle20. Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium)

Proven Accents® Pink Chablis® Dead Nettle 

This hardy perennial ground cover is grown for the green, gold or variegated heart-shaped leaves and tubular flowers in colors of white, pink or lavender. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, this vigorous grower can be planted underneath hostas, shrubs or shade trees.

Hardy in zones 3-8, full sun to partial shade, 6-8” tall, deer and rabbit resistant


What plants go well with hostas?

When considering what to plant with hostas, include a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, ground covers and spring bulbs that prefer partial sun to shade and average moist soil. Choose varieties with different foliage, structure, size, texture and color for contrast. 

What grows well next to hostas?

Choose a diversity of natives, woodland plants and low-maintenance varieties. For multi-seasonal interest, add flowers that pair well with hostas that bloom at different times of the year. Include plants with attributes such as fall color and attractive bark. 

Can you plant hostas and hydrangeas together?

As an underplanting, hostas help soften the bare lower stems of hydrangeas, and will thrive in the deeper shade cast by the taller shrubs. Both prefer a slightly acidic, well-amended soil. When landscaping with hydrangeas and hostas, choose varieties that will grow in your hardiness zone and thrive in your particular climate conditions. 

What flowers go well with hosta?

Spring-flowering companion plants for hostas include allium, bergenia, cranesbill (Geranium), daffodil, hyacinth, muscari, spurge (Euphorbia), Solomon’s seal, trillium and tulips. Summer-blooming companions include astilbe, begonia, impatiens, lady’s mantle and wishbone flower (Torenia). 

What shrubs go with hostas?

Shrubs that thrive in growing conditions similar to hostas include azalea, camellia, daphne, fothergilla, hydrangea, mountain laurel (Kalmia), pieris, rhododendron, spirea, sweetshrub (Calycanthus), sweet spire (Itea) and viburnum.

Want to learn more?

10 Hosta Garden Ideas That Wow

Beautiful Shade Garden Ideas

10 Companion Plants for Spring Bulbs

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