Companion Planting for Hydrangeas

hydrangea image by Terry Alexander from

Hydrangeas are a group of flowering shrubs that are well suited as a specimen plant in the garden. Hydrangeas are also often used in a border area or in a shrub bed. To select plants to accompany your hydrangeas, colour, leafing habit, seasonal appearances and growing conditions are all important considerations.

Evergreen Shrubs

Most hydrangea varieties are deciduous, losing their leaves in the fall and winter months. To offset the bare branches in winter, plant evergreen shrubs near hydrangeas. Evergreen rhododendrons keep their glossy leaves all year, making them a good companion shrub for hydrangeas. Other shrubs that provide winter interest are holly, with bright red berries and glossy evergreen leaves and euonymus, which come in a variety of evergreen leaf colours and shades.

Ground Covers

Select ground covers that thrive in part shade. Hydrangeas grow best in filtered sun rather than full sun and create some shade themselves. Brunnera macrophylla, commonly called Siberian bugloss, is a ground cover that thrives in part shade and moist soils. The blue flowers bloom among deep green leaves in the spring near the time hydrangeas are blooming. Salvia koyamae in the sage family is a yellow flowering ground cover.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add vertical interest to the garden area. They are low-maintenance and, with a huge variety to choose from, the right type can be found for nearly any growing condition. In addition, most grasses retain their foliage year-round to offset hydrangeas. Try northern sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium or eulalia, Miscanthus 'Purpurascens,' to set off your hydrangea plants in summer and winter.

Shrubs and Vines

Plant hydrangeas in a shrub bed with other flowering evergreen and deciduous shrubs. Plant a clematis with your hydrangeas; the delicate flowers and vining habit of the clematis create a subtle complement. The large colourful flowers of hardy hibiscus creates a striking contrast to the delicate-coloured flower heads of hydrangeas. Weigela shrubs are a deciduous shrub with attractive foliage and flowers that go well with hydrangeas.