What to Plant with Hydrangeas

What to Plant with Hydrangeas: Best Companion Plants

Wondering what to plant with hydrangeas? Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering shrubs that grow well in partial shade. The best hydrangea companion plants are those that also thrive in similar partial shade conditions. 

Below, I will be giving you suggestions on the best plants to grow with hydrangeas. These are plants that I have successfully, planted next to or in the same flower bed as my hydrangeas.

And not only do they look great planted with hydrangeas, but they will also grow happily because they have similar sun requirements, soil requirements and care requirements as hydrangeas.  

Check out my Lazy Gardener’s Guide to Hydrangeas

Best Small Perennials To Plant in Front of Hydrangeas


Hostas are my go-to small perennials to plant in front of hydrangeas. I love the lush, beautiful leaves of hostas. 

You can get hostas in a wide range of colors, from vibrant greens to variegated foliage, hostas will add texture and visual interest to any garden bed. The best part is hostas are so easy to grow.


Hostas Plant Care

Hostas prefer partial to full shade and well-draining soil. Once established, hostas are truly low maintenance plants.

You don’t even need to water it regularly, it will do just fine. Of course, if you are experiencing a heatwave or are in a place with a warm climate, then your hostas will benefit from regular watering of 1x a week.

And a once a year fertilization schedule will help your hosta look healthy and vibrant.  

Hostas Compatibility with Hydrangeas

Hostas make excellent companions for hydrangeas because they thrive in similar growing conditions. Both hostas and hydrangeas prefer shady areas, making them an ideal combination for creating a visually appealing and low-maintenance garden bed.


Ferns are another great companion plant with hydrangeas. It’s a beautiful, shade-loving plant with distinct fern-like foliage. Ferns will add texture to any garden and look great planted with hydrangeas! 


Ferns Plant Care

Ferns are easy to grow plants and are shade-loving plants. They thrive in shaded areas with moist, well-drained soil.

I have a lot of ferns in my shaded woodland garden!

The best part about growing ferns is you don’t need to do much- just water it occasionally and fertilize it once a year- that’s it! Easy! 

Ferns Compatibility with Hydrangeas 

Ferns and hydrangeas look great planted together-  I love the beautiful contrast of the fern-like foliage against the bold foliage of hydrangeas. Plus, both ferns and hydrangeas are shade-loving so they will happily grow next to each other. 

Best Flowering Shrubs To Plant with Hydrangeas


If you are looking for companion flowering shrubs to plant with your hydrangeas, Rhododendrons are a great option. Rhododendrons are easy to grow flowering shrubs that will thrive in shady locations. 


I have a woodland garden in my backyard and rhododendrons are great for adding a splash of color to my shade garden.

I love that Rhododendron flowers come in a variety of colors so you can definitely have fun mixing and matching different color flowers!  

Rhododendron Plant Care

Rhododendrons are low-maintenance plants. Once established, rhododendrons don’t need much care except for the occasional watering and fertilizing. 

Rhododendrons prefer acidic soil with good drainage. They thrive in dappled sunlight or partial shade areas- perfect for woodland gardens! 

Rhododendron’s Compatibility with Hydrangeas 

Rhododendrons and hydrangeas are compatible because they grow well in partial shade conditions. Plus both rhododendrons and hydrangeas can grow to become large shrubs so they look great next to each other- making them perfect plant companions. 

Check out my Lazy Gardener’s Guide to Growing Rhododendrons


Azaleas are another great companion plant for hydrangeas. They do well in partial shade and are known for their vibrant and abundant blooms.


I love that azaleas are compact and will bring a splash of color to any garden. Azalea flowers come in all colors from pinks to purple to whites to reds! Azalea flowers look great next to the blue hydrangea flowers!

Azalea Plant Care

Similar to Hydrangeas, Azaleas are low maintenance plants. Once established, Azaleas don’t need much care except for the occasional watering and fertilizing. 

Like Rhododendrons, Azaleas prefer acidic soil with good drainage. They thrive in partial shade and will also do well in a more sunny location. 

Azaleas’ Compatibility with Hydrangeas 

Azaleas and hydrangeas are compatible because they both grow well in partial shade conditions. I like that azaleas are smaller and more compact than hydrangeas which makes it visually interesting to pair with the larger hydrangeas.

Plus the small vibrant azalea flowers look great next to the large ball-like hydrangea blooms!

Check out my Lazy Gardener’s Guide to Growing Azaleas

Best Small Flowers To Plant in Front of Hydrangeas


If you are looking for flowers to plant in front of hydrangeas, Astilbes are a great choice and will grow well with hydrangeas.

Astilbes are small perennial plants with beautiful fluffy plumes of flowers in various shades of pink, purple, and white. They are shade-loving plants that are easy to grow- perfect for adding a pop of color to your garden.


Astilbe Plant Care

Astilbe are low maintenance plants. Similar to hydrangeas, Astilbe prefers partially shaded areas with moist soil.

Once established, you don’t need to fuss over astilbe- they will grow on their own. Just the occasional watering and once-a-year fertilization are all they need to grow! 

Astilbe Compatibility with Hydrangeas

Astilbe is a great companion plant that can be planted with hydrangeas. They both love shade so you can easily plant them next to each other.

Plus they look great together because astilbe is shorter so you can plant them in front of the larger hydrangeas. The large hydrangeas blooms and the feathery astilbe flowers will add instant interest and texture to your garden bed! 

Check out: Are Hydrangeas Deer Resistant?

Best Evergreen Shrub To Plant Behind Hydrangeas


Holly is an evergreen shrub that looks great when planted with hydrangeas. The glossy, spiky holly leaves and vibrant red berries provide a nice backdrop against the hydrangea’s soft blooms.


Since hollies are evergreen, they will give you garden year-round foliage when your hydrangea becomes dormant in the winter. 

Holly Plant Care

Holly is a low maintenance evergreen shrub. It does well in partial shade to full sun locations. You don’t need to do much to keep your holly plants happy.

The occasional watering and occasional fertilizing are all it needs to grow happily in your garden!  

Holly’s Compatibility with Hydrangeas 

Holly and hydrangeas look beautiful when planted next to each other. I recommend planting holly behind your hydrangeas.

The evergreen holly foliage with its red berries acts as a beautiful backdrop against your hydrangea blooms. Plus I love that hollies are evergreen so it will give your garden visual interest even in the winter months.

what to plant with hydrangeas infographics

Check out the Best Deer Resistant Evergreen Shrubs for Privacy hedge

You May Also Be Interested in These Easy to Grow Flowering Plants:

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Peonies

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Tulips (Infographic)

12 Easy to Grow Flowers for the Lazy Gardener

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Irises

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Hydrangeas (Infographic)

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