What to Plant Behind Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

As a landscaping enthusiast, you’ve probably encountered the challenge of what to plant behind your hydrangeas. While hydrangeas are an excellent choice for a beautiful garden, they can leave a gap in your landscaping that requires careful consideration. The space behind your hydrangeas is an excellent opportunity to add additional color, texture, and interest to your garden. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best plants to grow behind hydrangeas to elevate your landscaping game and make your garden pop.

Understanding Hydrangeas

What to Plant Behind Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

Before we dive into the best plants to plant behind hydrangeas, let’s take a moment to understand these beautiful flowers. Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that can grow up to 10 feet tall, although some varieties stay small. They bloom in summer and early fall, producing clusters of white, pink, blue, or purple flowers. Hydrangeas prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soil.

Best Plants to Grow Behind Hydrangeas

When choosing plants to grow behind your hydrangeas, consider plants that can thrive in partial to full shade and complement your hydrangeas’ color and texture. Here are some excellent options to consider:


Ferns and hydrangeas best plant behind hydrangeas

Ferns are a perfect choice for a lush and green backdrop behind your hydrangeas. They come in various colors and textures and can add depth and interest to your landscaping.


Hostas plant behind hydrangeas

Hostas are a classic choice for planting behind hydrangeas. Their big, bold leaves come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they’re easy to care for.


Heucheras best plant behind hydrangeas

Heucheras, also known as coral bells, come in a range of colors, from purple to peach to lime green. Their delicate leaves and tiny flowers can add a touch of whimsy to your garden.


Astilbes and hydrangeas garden

Astilbes are a low-maintenance option that produces gorgeous pink, red, and white plume-like flowers. They’re perfect for adding height and color to your garden.

Japanese Forest Grass

Hakone Grass and hydrangea

Japanese Forest Grass is a slow-growing grass that can add an exotic touch to your landscaping. Its yellow-green foliage can complement your hydrangeas’ color and texture and add visual interest to your garden.


Hellebores garden with hydrangeas

Hellebores are winter-blooming plant that produces delicate flowers in shades of pink, white, and purple. Their evergreen leaves can add texture and color to your garden throughout the year.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts best plant behind hydrangeas

Bleeding Hearts are a classic cottage garden plant that produces heart-shaped flowers in shades of pink and white. They’re perfect for adding a touch of romance to your garden.

Lady’s Mantle

Lady's Mantle and Hydrangeas

Lady’s Mantle is a low-growing, hardy perennial that produces green, velvety leaves and tiny, chartreuse flowers. Its leaves can collect dewdrops and raindrops, making it an excellent choice for adding visual interest to your garden.

Tips for successful planting behind hydrangeas

When selecting plants to plant behind hydrangeas, it’s important to choose plants that can thrive in the same growing conditions as hydrangeas. Hydrangeas typically prefer moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. The ideal pH range for hydrangeas is between 5.0 and 6.0. Therefore, it’s important to choose plants that can tolerate similar soil conditions.

Another important tip is to select plants with contrasting foliage and flowers to add visual interest and depth to your garden. Consider using plants with different textures and heights, such as ferns or grasses, to create a layered effect behind your hydrangeas. You can also experiment with different colors to complement or contrast with the color of your hydrangeas.

Additionally, hydrangeas require moderate amounts of moisture to thrive. Depending on the climate and weather conditions in your area, you may need to water your hydrangeas and the plants behind them regularly. Choosing plants that can tolerate similar moisture levels can help ensure that all plants in your garden thrive.

Another factor to consider when choosing plants to plant behind hydrangeas is light exposure. Hydrangeas typically prefer partial shade, so it’s important to choose shade-tolerant plants that can grow well in similar light conditions. Some examples of shade-tolerant plants that can complement hydrangeas include hostas, ferns, and astilbes.

When selecting plants to plant behind hydrangeas, it’s also important to consider their mature size. Overcrowding can be a common problem in gardens, and planting plants that are too large or grow too quickly behind hydrangeas can create a visually cluttered look. Therefore, it’s important to choose plants that won’t grow too large or spread too quickly and that can be easily maintained.

Common mistakes to avoid when planting behind hydrangeas

When planting behind hydrangeas, there are a few common mistakes to avoid to ensure that your garden looks its best. One of the most common mistakes is planting too close to the hydrangeas, which can lead to overcrowding and competition for resources. Be sure to give your plants enough space to grow and mature, and to consider their mature size when planning your garden.

Another common mistake is planting invasive species that can take over your garden and compete with your hydrangeas. Be sure to research the plants you are considering and choose ones that are well-behaved and won’t cause problems in your garden.

It’s also important to avoid planting plants with similar foliage or flowers right behind your hydrangeas. This can create a visually overwhelming effect and detract from the beauty of your hydrangeas. Instead, consider using plants with contrasting colors and textures to create a more interesting and harmonious look.

Finally, make sure to choose plants that are well-suited to your growing conditions and climate. If you plant species that aren’t adapted to your region, they may struggle to thrive and detract from the overall health and beauty of your garden.


When choosing what to plant behind your hydrangeas, consider plants that can thrive in partial to full shade and complement your hydrangeas’ color and texture. Ferns, hostas, heucheras, astilbes, Japanese Forest Grass, hellebores, bleeding hearts, and lady’s mantle are all excellent options to consider. With the right plants, you can elevate your garden and create a beautiful, cohesive landscape.

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