Mix Hostas with Other Shade-Loving Plants
Instead of clumping your hostas together, mix in shade lovers with contrasting foliage and flowers. Here, coralbells (Heuchera), creeping Jenny (Lysimachia), and fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra) make for a pretty vignette with lots of visual interest.
Plant Hostas in Masses
Hostas are valued for their foliage, which looks great when massed. In bloom, their beauty takes on an added dimension. This pairing features the complementary flowers of astilbe.
Complement Hostas with Ferns
Maidenhair fern makes the perfect complement to this variegated hosta. The green of the fern echoes the coloring of its partner, while the delicate fronds contrast handsomely with the hosta’s thick leaves.
Create a Backdrop for Hostas with Groundcovers
Groundcovers make a nice backdrop for a special hosta. This pleasant mix of color and texture comes from creeping Jenny (Lysimachia), bugleweed (Ajuga), and sweet woodruff (Galium).
Add Contrasting Colors
With its chartreuse color, creeping Jenny (Lysimachia) really lightens the dark areas of a shade bed. Added contrast comes from coralbells (Heuchera) and Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium).
Consider Shade When Choosing Companions
In this case, the hostas are planted in back, where there’s more sun protection provided by the tree and fence. The carex, which prefers a little more light, is out front where it can get more sun.
Complement Hostas with Blooming Plants
With variegated foliage and spikes of lavender color, this hosta is beautiful. Paired with astilbe and hydrangea, however, it becomes a complement rather than a standout.
Pair Hostas with Shrubs
Although fine on their own, hostas sometimes benefit from being paired with a shrub, such as azalea. Not only does azalea shout with joy when in bloom, its size and shape offer a solid presence throughout the year.
Balance Hostas with Delicate Bloomers
The opposite of azalea’s in-your-face appeal comes from these delicately flowered brunnera and primrose. Their tiny blooms work well against a backdrop of large hosta leaves.
Pair Hostas with Coleus
Hosta companions don’t have to be boisterous showpieces. With a range of interesting markings, coleus can draw attention strictly with its foliage. Summer flowers are a bonus, but many gardeners snip them off so leaves become larger.
Fill in Gaps with Understory Plants
For a more appealing look, consider adding understory plants, such as this small, variegated dogwood. It will help fill the gap in height progression from short perennials to large trees.
Tame a Slope with Hostas
Got a bit of a slope that you really don’t want to mow? Consider hostas, either by themselves or with other shade-loving companions. It’s a low-care option for areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic.
Accent a Wall with Hostas
No trees here. Still, the hostas do just fine thanks to shade provided by the wall. A climbing hydrangea gathers enough sunlight on the west side of the wall to flourish.
Partner with Bleeding Heart
Bleeding heart (Dicentra) is a fine companion that mixes well with hostas. By the time bleeding heart is done for the season, neighboring hostas are going full tilt and can make use of the extra space.
Dividing & Transplanting:
Whether you're starting a bed from scratch or dividing old stock, here's what you need to know to encourage lush-growing hostas.
1. As new growth emerges in the spring, use a shovel to remove a large clump.
2. Shake off excess soil and rinse the roots in a large tub or water-tight wheelbarrow.
3. Use a sharp knife or saw to cut small clusters of plants free from the large clump.
4. Replant clusters separately, leaving space so the plants have room to mature. Backfill with soil amended with compost.
5. Work a handful of balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the soil, then tamp firm.
Work a handful of balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the soil