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What to Plant with Hostas (Bulbs, Perennials, and Annuals)

What to Plant with Hostas (Bulbs, Perennials, and Annuals)

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Hostas prefer hardiness zones of 3 – 8; these plants are shade-loving and prefer cooler temperatures. Their versatility, colorful foliage, easy grow habits, toughness, and love of shaded areas have made them popular garden additions.

The question then arises as to what plant companions you should add to compliment your hosta gardens. Let’s look at what plants you can add to show off your hostas in the best way.

Spring bulb additions to your hosta garden include trillium, daffodils, and hyacinths. You can grow several different perennial plants with your hostas, including astilbe, coral bells, bleeding hearts, lungwort, and Japanese painted ferns. Annual plants include impatiens and coleus.

Knowing which other plants would add to the beauty of a garden containing hostas is just the beginning. To decide which accompanying plants would be best for you, you need to understand better each of your plant options to plan the perfect shaded garden properly.

So let’s take a better look at some of your hosta companion plants.

The Best Spring Bulb Companions for Hosta Gardens

As hostas take their time emerging during spring, you can add some spring bulbs to your shade garden to give it some extra texture and color while your hostas are growing. Then by midsummer, your hostas will have grown enough to fill the space when your spring bulbs sleep again.

The following are a few examples of spring bulbs that would be good companions to hostas.

Trillium (Trillium spp.)

White Trillium

Trillium spring bulbs are native to North America and Asia, and they prefer hardiness zones of 4 – 9, partial shade, and moist, loamy, well-drained soils. Depending on their variety, they stand around 1 – 2 feet tall and produce yellow, white, pink, purple, red, and green flowers.

The flowers can be cup-shaped or tubular, depending on the species, and are held erect on their stems or stemless.

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Daffodils

Daffodils are native to Europe and North America, and they prefer hardiness zones 4 – 8 and will do well in partial shade. They prefer moist, rich, well-drained soil and will bloom in the springtime. They grow 6 – 30 inches tall and produce white, yellow, red, orange, and pink flowers.

It’s best if you plan to plant these spring bulbs with your hostas that you grow them angled towards the area that will receive the most light.

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Hyacinth

Native to Asia and Europe, these spring-flowering bulbs prefer hardiness zones 4 – 8. They will tolerate partial shade and prefer soils that are moist and well-drained.

Depending on the variety, they grow 6 – 12 inches tall and produce blue, white, pink, purple, or red flowers. These are easy-to-grow spring bulbs and will be great additions to your hosta garden.

The Best Perennial Plant Companions for Hosta Gardens

Shade-loving perennials are often low maintenance, easy to care for plants that are excellent additions to any shade garden. Depending on the species you choose, they will bloom during spring, summer, or fall. They will come back year after year, adding extra colors and texture to your hosta garden.

The following is a selection of perennial plants that are good for planting with hostas.

Astilbe (Astilbe)

Astilbe

Astilbe perennial plants are native to North America and Asia, and they prefer hardiness zones 3 – 8 and loamy soils that are slightly acidic. They bloom during spring and summer, producing red, pink, and white flowers on stiff, tall stalks and will help to brighten up your shade garden.

They are super low maintenance and easy to grow, and therefore they will go well as a companion plant for your hostas.

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Coral Bells

Coral bells are summer flowering perennials. Growing 8 – 18 inches tall, these partial shade growers produce white, red, coral, orange, and pink bell-shaped flowers and grow on tall stems.

Native to North America prefer hardiness zones 4 – 8 and moist, rich, well-drained acidic to neutral soils. Coral bells decorative foliage will be an excellent addition to your hosta garden.

Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

Bleeding Heart Close Up

Bleeding hearts are native to Asia and prefer hardiness zones 2 – 9, and their soil preference includes moist, rich soils that are slightly acidic. They grow 6 inches tall and produce red, pink, and white flowers in the spring.

These perennials are excellent companions for your hostas with their heart-shaped dangling flowers.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.)

Lungwort Up Close

The lungwort is a herbaceous perennial native to Asia and Europe and grows 6 – 12 inches tall. Preferring hardiness zones 3 – 8 and well-drained moist soils, these spring bloomers produce pink, blue, and white flowers that grow on stalks that reach up to 18 inches high.

These plants are best used as landscaped flowers and will often already be in bloom when other plants are only poking their heads out of the soil.

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

Japanese Painted Fern

The Japanese painted fern is native to eastern Asia and prefers hardiness zones 3 – 8. This plant is a deciduous fern that grows around 18 inches tall and prefers humusy, well-drained, evenly moist soils.

This plant is non-flowering, but its leaves make up for that. They have triangular silvery leaves with greenish-grey in them and purplish midribs, making these ferns excellent additions to your hosta gardens.

The Best Annual Plant Companions for Hosta Gardens

Annuals grow for one season, bloom, and then die, meaning that you will have to replace them every year, allowing you to switch up your garden annually. Most annuals prefer full sun, but a few will grow in the shade. These plants will add an extra array of color when you mix them in with your hostas.

The following is a selection of annual plants that you can plant with your hostas.

Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)

Impatiens

Impatiens are usually grown as annuals and are native to Eurasia, Africa, and New Guinea. If grown as perennials, they prefer hardiness zones 10 -11 but can be grown as annuals elsewhere. They grow 3 – 36 inches tall and prefer well-draining, rich, slightly acidic soils. They flower in the spring and summer, depending on the variant, and produce white, pink, red, violet, purple, coral, and yellow flowers.

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Coleus

Coleus is herbaceous and native to Asia and preferring hardiness zones 10 – 11 if kept as perennials, but they will grow everywhere else as annuals. They grow 6 – 36 inches tall and prefer moist, rich, loose soils that are slightly acid to neutral.

They are seasonal flowerers producing blue to white flowers and providing all-season foliage that varies in color, shape, and style, offering an excellent addition to your hosta garden.

Final Thoughts

When planning your hosta garden, it’s good to keep in mind that you need to pair your hostas with other shade and cool-temperature-loving plants. You can also decide whether to plant spring bulbs, perennials, or annuals.

Within these groups, there are several different choices you can select from with some of these choices listed above. Each of these different plant types will add unique additions to your hosta garden, and you might want to select from each group when planning your hosta garden.

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