Hydrangeas are a must for flower power in the summer. They fill in hard-to-plant spaces and produce colorful bulbous flowers in blue, pink, pure white, lavender and pink.
When the flowers begin to wilt, they may also change color. This makes them interesting in the garden and perfect for flower arrangements.
While hydrangeas generally look best when planted mass On their own, certain plants are good friends with your favorite cut flowers.
Quick care guide for hydrangeas
hydrangea macrophylla – also known as mop, bigleaf hydrangea or old-fashioned hydrangea – are generally easy to grow and care for with a little knowledge and observation. They also grow well in containers.
They are deciduous woody shrubs like cool, lightly shady conditions in the dappled shade of taller trees or shrubs. Avoid too much shade if you want them to flower well.
They need rich soil with plenty of compost and leaf mold. Hydrangeas like well-drained soil, but they should be kept moist, especially during the heat of summer. A layer of mulch will help keep the soil cool and moist.
Hydrangeas need lots of water and are voracious eaters. They need regular applications of all-purpose fertilizer or specialty hydrangea food from spring through fall to perform at their best.
Why do some hydrangeas change flower color?
It can be confusing to see your precious blue hydrangea change color to pink once you put them in the ground.
The reason for this is the chemical makeup and pH levels in the soil. The flowers are naturally pink, but turn blue if the soil contains aluminum and the pH is acidic.
In alkaline soils, hydrangeas will stay pink and white hydrangeas will stay white most of the time, but may discolor a little in the center of the flowers.
Blue hydrangeas can be kept blue by monitoring pH levels and adjusting them if necessary, or by using a commercial fertilizer like Blue Hydrangea Food made specifically for this purpose.
The Best Companion Plants for Hydrangeas
Azaleas and rhododendrons are some of the best plants to grow next to hydrangeas because they like the same things: some shade and a good organic mulch.
These plants are also suited to the blue hydrangea’s preference for slightly acidic soils. Avoid pinks or let them turn blue, as they do not do well with acidic azaleas and prefer more alkaline soil.
Azaleas are not bothered by insects or disease and are good companions for all acid-loving plants. For a dramatic show, try varieties with white or yellow flowers to contrast with blue hydrangeas. All shades of pink or salmon go well with white hydrangeas.
Most azaleas bloom in spring and summer, but some varieties bloom at other times of the year to maintain interest in the garden.
This perennial is known for its striking foliage in shades of purple, red, lime green, pink, gold and green.
These plants, known as Coral Bells, are native to North America and are perfect for a shady woodland setting, making them ideal for planting hydrangeas.
They produce small, bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer that are rich in nectar and attract pollinators such as butterflies and birds in droves.
Plant as a border for hydrangeas and choose eye-pleasing combinations when the hydrangeas are in bloom. One of the classic combinations is white hydrangeas with lime-green coral bells, but there are plenty of options to choose from with this versatile plant.
3. Sweet Potato Vine
Another green plant to choose is the sweet potato vine (Morning glory sweet potatoes).
Although they prefer full sun, they can use some shade and form masses of amazingly colored leaves ranging from gold, bronze, brown and almost black to brilliant green. The compact size is perfect for planting in front of hydrangeas as an edging plant or as a ground cover.
There are varieties of hydrangeas across the spectrum from USDA zones 5 through 11, but sweet potato vine grows best in zones 8 through 11, so it should be considered before planting.
These plants are usually grown as annuals and love the heat of summer.
Hostas are another plant that pairs particularly well with hydrangeas, as they like the same conditions.
They grow best in partial shade, and some varieties even grow in deep shade. They also like slightly acidic, nutrient-rich soils. These plants are at their best in summer and complement hydrangea flowers perfectly.
There are many different sizes (1 to 3 feet tall) and colors to choose from, including variegated varieties in shades of green, lime green, teal, and white. Plant as a border with hydrangeas for a big-leaved bargain.
Related Reading: 29 Hosta Varieties to Plant in Your Shade Garden
5. Swedish ivy
Often grown as a houseplant, this plectranthus makes an excellent ground cover to fill in the space between plants, or as a border plant for hydrangeas to keep soil cool and moist. It has small rounded glossy dark green leaves that graze well and grow in warm areas with dappled shade.
Whorled Plectanthus It flowers almost all year round with beautiful small white flowers on spikes about 20 cm high. It grows easily from cuttings and likes the same conditions as hydrangeas.
Many varieties of small ferns are perfect for growing alongside hydrangeas. Its lacy leaf structure contrasts well with the large leaves of hydrangeas, creating an interesting combination.
Ferns like rich, moist soil and shady conditions, as do hydrangeas. There are ferns that like acidic soils and others that like alkaline soils, so there are many varieties to choose from for pink and blue hydrangeas.
There are also ferns for all hydrangea planting areas. Be sure to choose the right variety before planting.
Especially in formal gardens, the combination of trimmed box hedges and the wilder look of the hydrangeas creates a nice contrast. Boxwoods can also be cut into circles which create an attractive pattern, planted among hydrangeas with the flower shape mimicking the circles for symmetry.
the plant is Buxus sempervirens, also known as Common or American Buxus, and has the same requirements as hydrangeas.
They prefer some afternoon shade and protection from the heat of the day. Boxwood also prefers organic soil with a good mulch to retain moisture. Their water requirements are also the same as hydrangeas.
Boxwood also sports hydrangeas and can be planted in front as a low hedge and formal border, or behind as a tall hedge and green screen.
8. Ornamental Grasses
The thin, strap-like leaves of ornamental grasses make them attractive companion plants for hydrangeas.
Dark green varieties are exceptional with white hydrangeas, and variegated green and cream varieties pair well with white, pink, and blue hydrangeas, depending on what you’ve chosen.
Grasses such as blue fescue (glaucous fescue) have pointed, mound-like forms that form a good border or border.
Dwarf Fountain Grass or Dwarf Maiden Grass has dark green foliage that cascades down to add movement to a border.
Japanese grass (Hakonechloa macra) is a good choice because of its shape and variegated green and gold leaves.
Many of these herbs grow well in shade to partial shade and require regular watering with hydrangeas.
9. Astilbe chinensis
Superb is the only word to describe astilbe chinensis. They also like the same conditions as hydrangeas, growing best in moist, shady areas.
The combination of hydrangea flowers and brilliant plumes of astilbes in a variety of pinks, purple reds and whites are attractive in any garden.
Astilbes are also easy to grow and maintain, simply requiring regular water and good drainage. They are also pollinator magnets and resistant to deer and rabbits.
astilbe chinensis It blooms in spring and summer, blooming when the hydrangeas do to make a spectacular display. They don’t bloom as well in deep shade and can scorch in full sun, but they do well in hydrangea dappled shade.
10. Japanese Pittosporum
These evergreen shrubs do well in sun or light shade, are used for multiple purposes including hedges, are grouped in borders or borders and pruned to stand low.
This versatile plant tolerates many conditions but prefers those similar to hydrangeas. The leaves are arranged in dark green or variegated green and white whorls that form attractive shapes in the garden.
Tobira Pittosporum does best in higher zones between 8 and 11. Like hydrangeas, pittosporum does not grow well if drainage is poor.
11. Veronique Veronique
Veronique de Massa veronique (veronica officinalis) planted in front of hydrangeas is a magnificent sight, as they bloom in colors ranging from blue, pink and white from spring to fall.
These hardy perennials thrive in a variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade and in any type of soil. Soil pH can be alkaline, neutral or acidic, perfect for pink or blue hydrangeas. They are also pleased with the high moisture content that hydrangeas need.
All they need is well-drained soil. Veronica speedwell produces flower stalks 1 to 3 feet tall and does best in zones 3 to 8.
What not to plant with hydrangeas
Due to the conditions that hydrangeas prefer, plants that like sun or deep shade cannot handle it. Many ornamental and edible plants are on this list, making them poor companions.
Likewise, plants that prefer dry or poor soils, such as lavender, will not grow well with hydrangeas, no matter how beautiful the flowers are.
Fortunately, there is also a long list of plants that can be planted with and make spectacular combinations in the garden.