GARDENS BY THE BAY
HOSTAS & THEIR COMPANIONS
Gardeners have long since stopped complaining about shady areas and have learned to make the most of such special sites. Those with only sunny spots in which to garden actually dream of having more shade with the cooling influence and wonderful opportunities that environment provides.
Because Hosta species and cultivars perform best with at least three years of undisturbed growth, they may be the ultimate low-maintenance perennial. There are about 70 species and hundreds of cultivars from which to choose. Particularly striking when they form large clumps or are planted in large drifts, individual plants can be useful in garden settings as well.
For those concerned with Hosta Virus X, you may want to visit the
In The Country Garden Site for useful information to answer many of your questions and concerns.
Whether you're looking for plants that might complement all types of Hosta or you have a specific cultivar you want a companion for, you are sure to find lots of ideas below. Be sure to check out the Hosta links at the bottom of the page. You can also visit our own
Hosta Garden page to see the cultivars we are growing there.
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The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.
To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.
To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.
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where: in varying degrees of shade (the darker the leaf, the shadier the habitat)
with wildflowers: Dentaria, Claytonia, Erythronium, Hedyotis caerulea (Houstonia)
in shade under shrubs: Cornus florida, Cornus kousa or Cornus mas
with shade-loving Ornamental Grasses: Carex spp., Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
with shade-loving perennials:. Epimedium, Gentiana, Pulmonaria, Asarum
in shade with: Phlox divaricata including the cultivar 'Laphamii', Phlox stolonifera, Polygonatum odoratum,
Hosta: large-leaved forms
Tiarella cordifolia, Tradescantia x andersoniana
in shade with: Digitalis grandiflora (synonym D. ambigua) or Digitalis purpurea
with shade-loving types of: Aster such as A. divaricatus
in light shade with: Bergenia cordifolia, Campanula (low varieties), Dicentra, Tricyrtis hirta
in part shade with: Iris x germanica, Iris sibirica, Aconitum, Brunnera macrophylla, Galium odoratum,
in dappled shade with: Aquilegia
in woodland areas with: Arisaema triphyllum,, Sanguinaria canadensis, Polemonium caeruleum,
Mertensia virginica, Smilacina racemosa
in woodland areas with bulbs: Scilla hispanica (Endymion hispanicus) - Spanish Bluebells,
Scilla non-scripta - English Bluebells, Scilla sibirica - Siberian Squill
in boggy areas or dappled shade with: Rodgersia
with other moisture-lovers: Alchemilla mollis, Astilbe, Primula, including Primula denticulata 'Ronsdorf Mix',
Trollius, Lysimachia clethroides, Uvularia grandiflora
in moist soil with: red Lobelia cardinalis or blue Lobelia syphilitica
in moist soil with: Dicentra eximia or Dicentra spectabilis, Heuchera, Ranunculus
in sunny areas with: Lilium, Lythrum salicaria 'Morden Pink'
for shape contrast with: Cimicifuga, Hemerocallis, Crocosmia
with ferns: Matteuccia struthiopteris, Athyrium filix-femina
with spring-flowering bulbs: Narcissus, Tulipa
with early-blooming plants: Helleborus
to hide gaps during dormancy of: Anemone nemorosa, Erythronium
with low-growing plants: Viola odorata, Houttuynia (variegated Chameleon Plant)
with taller plants: Anemone hupehensis 'September Charm', Thalictrum
Veronicastrum virginicum (synonym Veronica virginica)
with: Saxifraga stolonifera, Persicaria bistorta (formerly Polygonum)
with: Euphorbia epithymoides (synonym E. polychroma), Campanula poscharskyana, Hemerocallis fulva
between: Dicentra 'Luxuriant' & Heuchera sanguinea
combined with: Heuchera x 'Chocolate Ruffles', Heuchera 'Ruby Veil', Astilbe & Pulmonaria
behind: Geranium sanguineum striatum (formerly G. s. lancastriense)
Hosta: giant cultivars
interplanted with: dwarf Narcissus, Fritillaria meleagris to hide their withering foliage during die-back
with: Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (for foliage contrast)
with: Ligularia dentata or Ligularia stenocephala (L. przewalskii) 'The Rocket'
where: as bold accents to create drama
Hosta: broad-leaved, untoothed
for foliage contrast with: Astilbe
Hosta: smaller forms
with: Anemone blanda
under: shrubs or trees as ground cover
Hosta: dwarf forms
in shade with: Dodecatheon meadia
with: Polypodium virginianum (Polypody Fern)
Hosta: a fanning form
for shape contrast in front of: Cimicifuga
Hosta: miniature forms including 'Kabitan', 'Little Aurora', 'Tiny Tears', 'Blue Cadet'
Hosta: golden-leaved or golden-marked forms
Hosta: variegated foliage types
with: Heuchera sanguinea 'Irish Mist' (a red, variegated form)
Hosta: yellow-leaved forms
with: Campanula portenschlagiana (a spreading groundcover)
Hosta: blue-leaved forms
in front of: Cimicifuga racemosa
Hosta: green and white variegated forms
with: Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White'
Hosta: green with narrow white edge
under: Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
under: any Dogwood with green leaves with narrow white margins
Hosta: green with yellow edges, heavily veined
Hosta: dark green centre with lime-green edging
note: the form above is 'Carnival', heavily-textured with crinkled leaves
with: Hydrangea (Lace Cap)
combined with: Heuchera americana 'Eco-Magnififolia' & Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum'
Hosta: esp. broad-leaved forms
in front of: Cimicifuga racemosa
Hosta: esp. waxy blue-leaved forms
in front of: Allium aflatunense
Hosta fortunei 'Obscura-marginata'
Hosta fortunei 'Picta'
behind: Scabiosa graminifolia 'Pincushion', Scabiosa caucasica including 'Perfecta Alba'
beside: Solidago 'Golden Shower'
Hosta plantaginea: August Lily, 24"x36", fragrant pure white night-blooming flowers, needs sun for best flowering
note: the first Hosta in cultivation in the West, it has the largest flowers of any Hosta
look for cultivars: 'Aphrodite' (double-flowered, 18"x24"), 'Honeybells' (26"x46", pale green foliage)
beside: Convulvulus sabatius (Synonym: C. mauritanicus)
in front of: Iris pallida pallida (Synonym: Iris pallida dalmatica)
Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans': 36"x48", glaucous grey-blue stoutly rounded & puckered foliage, and white flowers held just above
Hosta x tardiana 'Hadspen Blue': 8"x24", gray-blue, roundish leaves, pale lavender to white flowers
synonym: Hosta sieboldiana var. elegans
Rosemary Barrett: "It has a majestic presence all its own."
where: dry shade, perfect for large gardens
behind: Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila'
foliage contrast with: Alchemilla mollis
in shade with: Athyrium nipponicum (goeringianum) 'Pictum'
in front of: Sedum 'Autumn Joy', both in front of Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
with: Iris x germanica (yellow)
in front of: Hosta 'Sum & Substance'
Hosta'August Moon': 20"x30", greenish-yellow spring leaves turn yellow by summer, white flowers
interplanted with: Galanthus nivalis (for early bloom)
in front of: taller ferns
in part shade with: Adiantum pedatum & Galium odoratum
Hosta 'Blue Angel': 3'x4', heavily textured, rich blue leaves, white flowers
where: excellent as a background planting
with: green and gold-leaved Hosta for emphasis
Hosta 'Frances Williams': 22"x48", foliage has bluish-gray centre and golden-yellow edge, white flowers
Hosta 'Ginko Craig': 4"x10", silver-edged green leaves, purple flowers
with: a golden-variegated Salvia officinalis
with: blue Penstemon heterophyllus 'True Blue', deep purple Campanula 'Kent Belle'
uses: as a garden edger
where: best in light shade
to follow: spring wildflowers
Hosta 'Gold Standard': 20"x36", greenish-gold foliage, irregularly edged in dark green
Hosta 'Golden Tiara': 14"x22", dwarf, gold-edged heart-shaped leaf, deep purple flower, striped with lighter purple
where: provide some sun to prevent gold colouration from turning white late in the season
awards: American Hosta Eunice Fisher Award, Midwest Gold Award
with: Alchemilla mollis
Hosta 'Halcyon': 16"x38", heavily-textured, heart-shaped leaves, pale lavender flowers
uses: perfect as a garden edger
where: along edge of shady border
with: ferns, green or gold-leaved plants
Hosta 'Krossa Regal': 28"x60", vase-shaped habit, lavender flowers
note: one of the most popular blue hostas
where: as edger in a shady garden
in front of: Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
with: Astilbe, Cimicifuga, Dicentra, Helleborus, Heuchera including, among others, the cultivar 'Palace Purple'
with: Tiarella, Primula vulgaris, Liriope, Lamium
combined with: Helleborus foetidus & Asarum canadense
combined with: Muscari armeniacum, Tulipa (magenta-red double early), Astilbe x arendsii &
where: under deciduous trees for spring sun and some summer shade
Hosta 'Louisa': a small form
with: Trillium grandiflorum
in front of: Campanula persicifolia 'Alba'
Hosta 'Sum & Substance': a huge form, 30"x60", with chartreuse, deeply-veined foliage
see link to image at Mickfield Hostas site below
where: will take full sun (more sun = brighter leaves)
with: Alchemilla mollis, Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
with: Heuchera 'Palace Purple', Lamium maculatum 'Beedham's White' or Campanula persicifolia 'Yellow Leaf'
Hosta 'Twist of Lime': a dwarf form with lavender flowers
Hosta 'Wide Brim': 18" tall, green rounded leaves, wide cream to gold margins, lavender blooms
(chartreuse colour echoes in partial shade)
For valuable information and pictures galore, follow the links below. Bookmark this page first so you can come back to us.
For sure-fire performers, try The American Hosta Growers' Association annual award-winners. Follow each link to see images of foliage, clumps and flowers of each cultivar from the Mickfield Hostas site. Use your Back button to return to this page.
uses: groundcover, specimen planting
- 1996: 'So Sweet' - small, 14x22", glossy green leaves, wide white margin, will take some sun, near white fragrant flower
- 1997: 'Patriot' - medium, 12x30", deep green leaves with very wide, almost pure white, margin, violet flowers
- 1998: 'Fragrant Bouquet' - large, 18x26", apple green with wide light yellow margins, fragrant white flowers
- 1999: 'Paul's Glory' - large, 17x26", dark blue-green leaves with gold centre, light lavender flowers
- 2000: 'Sagae' - giant, 20x26", upright clump, large blue leaves, yellow margins, light lavender flowers
- 2001: 'June' - medium, 15x20", blue leaves with bright gold center in spring, fading in summer, violet flowers
- 2002: 'Guacamole' - medium-large, 10x18", rounded gold leaves, dark green margins, takes sun, fragrant white flowers
- 2003: 'Regal Splendor' - giant, 38x40", upright clump, large blue leaves, creamy yellow border, pale lavender flowers
- 2004: 'Sum & Substance' - giant, 36x60", satin-gold leaves, massive specimen with white flowers
- 2005: 'Striptease' - large, 20x36", dark green leaf, white strip down center, pale violet flowers
- 2006: 'Stained Glass' - large, 15x32", shiny gold foliage, 2" wide dark green margin, near white fragrant flowers
- 2007: 'Paradigm' - giant, 46x20", shiny gold leaves, blue-green margin, variegation intensifies, near white flowers
- 2008: 'Blue Mouse Ears' - mini, 5x9", rounded cupped blue leaves, pale lavender flowers
- 2009: 'Earth Angel' - giant, blue-green leaves, yellow margins, pale lavender flowers
- 2010: 'First Frost' - medium, 16x36", intensely blue-green leaves, yellow margin turns white, pale lavender flowers
All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
GARDEN POETRY |
GARDEN POETRY MUSE
GEORGIAN BAY VIEW
BOTANICAL LATIN - BASICS
CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
CORNER GARDEN PLANTING |
EAST GARDEN |
HOSTA GARDEN |
NORTH GARDEN |
BLUE PERENNIALS Aconitum -
Iris - Vinca
BULBS Allium - Hyacinthus |
Narcissus only |
Tulipa only |
BUTTERFLY MAGNETS Anaphalis - Hemerocallis |
Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES Spider & Unusual Form
EDGERS Arabis - Iris |
Nepeta - Veronica
Alchemilla - Tanacetum
HOSTA Hosta - all
HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS Alcea - Salvia
ORANGE PERENNIALS Achillea - Tulipa
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Acorus - Imperata |
Miscanthus - Spodiopogon
PINK PERENNIALS Achillea - Lilium |
Lychnis - Veronica
PURPLE PERENNIALS Aconitum - Liatris |
Polemonium - Veronica
RED PERENNIALS Achillea - Veronica
SHADE PERENNIALS Aegopodium - Erythronium |
Ferns - Polemonium |
Polygonatum - Vinca
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS
Achillea - Cerastium
Cornus - Limonium
Lunaria - Veronica
SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS Acanthus - Saxifraga
WHITE PERENNIALS Achillea - Iris |
Kalimeris - Yucca
YELLOW PERENNIALS Achillea - Hypericum |
Inula - Verbascum
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS Acorus - Erythronium |
Hakonechloa - Lysimachia |
Miscanthus - Yucca
Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' |
Geum coccineum |
Kerria japonica |
Paeonia tenuifolia |
Papaver somniferum |
Salvia 'East Friesland'
Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
DIVISION - SPRING ONLY |
DIVISION - FALL ONLY |
DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL |
DO NOT DIVIDE
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES |
LOCAL GARDENS |
GARDENING BOOKS |