Choosing Companion Plants for Your Hostas
Hostas are hardy, reliable plants known for their lush green foliage that thrive. In the summertime they will bloom with purple or white flowers, but their most noticeable attribute is their leafage. Companion planting is an important aspect of gardening because it teaches you what types of plants go well with others. This is true for hostas as it is with any flower. For some, companion planting is a good way to keep pests away while other companions attract beneficial insects to pollinate. Since hostas make excellent groundcovers and go well in shade gardens and under trees, good companions will enjoy the same surroundings.
Hostas will tolerate both full and partial shade. Thus, planting under broad trees or on the north side of the house are suitable growing locations. Flowers such as corydalis, hepatica and epimediums all tolerate shade as well and will blend in nicely with the broad green leaves of hostas. Other plants that tolerate very shady conditions are astillbe, baptisia, bellflower, bleeding heart dianthus, geranium and lungwort. There are others, both annual and perennial that like shade as much as hostas and will add splashes of color to the mix.
Perennials that are good companions for hostas include snowdrops, tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots. Annuals such as impatiens, begonias and coleus make excellent planting mates as well. Miniature bright red roses sprinkled among hostas make for a wonderfully vibrant contrast. In the early growing season, plant hostas around spring bulbs. As they bloom, the wild color will coordinate with the green of the lower hostas. As they begin to fade, the hostas will work to cover up the receding foliage. Hostas also do well with ferns.
A variety of hosta called the cheesecake makes an excellent groundcover, for it grows only about 8 inches high. Other low lying plants that can be used with hostas as a substitute for grass include lady’s mantle, lamium, lily-of-the-valley, pachysandra and vinca. Anything that is bright and flowery and can tolerate similar soil and shade conditions will go well with hostas. They provide a rich, green backdrop for their more colorful companions, creating a beautiful garden scene in any area that does not get that much sunlight.
Hostas like rich soil that is well drained with a nice combination of nutrients and organic matter. It should not be too acidic or too alkaline. They grow best when exposed to sun in the morning and can be kept cool and out of the sun in the afternoon, but too much shade will not let them thrive.
Learning about companion planting is a necessity if gardening is a passion. You not only get a feel for the aesthetics of pairing certain plants with one another, but–especially with herbs or vegetables–you learn how to naturally repel pests and attract beneficial visitors. Companions for ornamental plants such as hostas are numerous, and they include both perennials and annuals. Plant your hostas as groundcover in a shady area and surround them with beautiful, flowery mates.