Garden Design

19 Best Plants for Variegated Hostas

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What are the best companion plants for your variegated hostas? If you purchase an existing home with an established garden, you have a high chance of finding a white variegated hosta plant which are hostas that have white outlining the edge and sometimes throughout the leaf.

Resist the urge to rip everything up and start over. You can save money by working with what you have. White variegated hostas can give you a great backdrop for making your favorite plants pop with color or create a serene space with a monochromatic white and green color scheme.

Sometimes, white variegated hostas are snubbed because they are so common to find in garden centers and are a staple in many gardens. Maybe you have a hard time throwing away a perfectly healthy plant happy in it’s environment. Maybe you would rather spend money on plants to enhance what is there then start over but you don’t know what you plant with your existing hostas.

The best place for hostas to thrive is in partial shade with moist soil. Hostas can grow in Zones 3-9. Even with heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures, hostas come back every year. They are low maintenance meaning you don’t have to prune them. When the leaves die back, you can gently pull the flower stalks and leaves. Even if you don’t, the new leaves will grow anyway.

Hostas range in different sizes but the white variegated hostas grow to 18″ to 2 feet wide and tall. They are a low cost plant that can fill out a large space with few plants.

Check out the summary of this post for the link on my Pinterest page which has lots of visual inspirations of planting companion plants with hostas.

Astilbe “Red Sentinel” can be eye catching among hostas and Astilbe “Vision in White” can blend with white and green hostas”

Astilbe is a versatile companion plant for hostas

Also called False Goat’s Beard, Astilbe can give you the flexibility of adding bright color with your hostas or include the pale pink or white color Astilbe for a monochromatic look. Astilbe comes in bright pink, red, purple and magenta. They are just a little taller than the white variegated hostas so plant them towards the back of a part shade garden. This variety attracts pollinators when it blooms. If you want to add this Azalea variety to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 3-9

Water: If the weather is dry, deeply water it once a week.

Sun Exposure: They need about 4-6 hours of sunlight.

The Delaware Valley White Azalea is an evergreen Azalea which means that it keeps it’s leaves in the winter. Some Azaleas do lose their leaves. Evergreen shrubs do a great job adding structure to your garden year round.

Add white azaleas for a serene look

If you have hostas are in a shade garden, Delaware Valley White Azaleas make a stunning display in your garden. It grows 3 feet x 4 feet so make sure you have space towards the back of the garden. The dark leaves give a nice backdrop to variegated hostas. This variety attracts pollinators when it blooms. If you want to add this Azalea variety to your garden, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 6-9

Water: If the weather is dry, one inch of water per week. Too wet and it can damage the roots.

Sun Exposure: They need about 4 hours of sunlight.

Did you know that Begonias are related to pumpkins, squash and cucumbers?

Begonias give you long blooming effects in your shade garden

As with Astilbe, Begonias also offer some versatility of pops of color or support a monochromatic look to your garden. A growing season in colder regions isn’t enough time for Begonias to get very big. They grow from 18″ to 2 feet tall. They can be grown next to your hostas or in front if they stay small. If you want to add Begonias to your garden, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 9-10 (It’s an annual in many places)

Water: Every 2-4 days, maybe more if it’s too hot. Too wet and it can damage the roots.

Sun Exposure: 2-4 days of direct sunlight

Brunnera’s delicate flowers add delicate beauty in a shade garden

Brunnera grows up to about the same size as a typical variegated white hosta. I love this plant because it’s so low maintenance and it complements other plants with it’s dark green color. It blooms in mid-spring. If you want to add Begonias to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 3-8

Water: Only needs supplement waterings if it’s too dry.

Sun Exposure: A couple of hours of morning sun.

Keep in mind that all parts of Caladium is poisonous so it isn’t a good choice if your pets have access to this plant in your garden.

Caladium is a great choice for shade gardens

Caladium like this “Carolyn Whorton” variety brings bright color and variety to your garden. It can brighten up a dark corner. If you want to stick with a minimalist, monochromatic theme, Caladium also comes in green and white like Caladium “White Christmas.” If you want to add Caladium to your garden, click here for growing information.

Zones: 9-12 (Their idea temperature is between 65-70 degrees.)

Water: It needs to be watered regularly and grow in moist soil.

Sun Exposure: It likes good shade to dappled light. It’s a good plant to plant under trees.

Daphes like this Eternal Fragrance variety has varying degrees of toxicity so keep this in mind if you have plants and kids.

Another hosta landscaping idea might include gorgeous Daphnes

Some Daphnes like the Eternal Fragrance have evergreen leaves that compliment variegated hostas. The Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is has similar variegated leaves to hostas with light pink flowers. If you want to add Daphne to your garden, click here for a growing instructions.

Zones: 4-9

Water: It needs to be watered just enough to maintain moist soil.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade. Full shade stunts their growth.

Did you know that day lilies have thick tubal root systems that help in erosion control?

Daylilies are beautiful flowers to plant with hostas

Highly adaptable, day lilies are so low maintenance. They come in so many amazing colors and varieties, the sky’s the limit on how you want to add them among your hostas. If you want to add day lilies to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 4-11

Water: Only need to be watered daily in the first two weeks when planted. Weekly watering for the rest of the season can help them get established in their new home. After that, they can survive on when it rains.

Sun Exposure: They need full sun but can grow in part sun.

Did you know that Dogwood trees can self-fertilize?

Flowering dog wood can create structure in your hosta garden

For an amazing minimalist landscape, include a white flowering dogwood like Cornus florida with white variegated hostas growing beneath it would be gorgeous. Light pink and dark pink flowering varieties can also look amazing against white or light grey siding of your house. If you want to add dogwoods to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 5-6 need full sun, 7-10 can be in part sun

Water: They need an inch of water per week whether it’s from the rain or from the hose.

Sun Exposure: They like full sun and part sun.

Ferns help naturalize a shade garden hosta bed

If you have ferns naturally growing on your property but have spaces in between where you want to cut out the weeds, you can then add hostas to an existing woods edge. Variegated hostas could add some subtle color. If you want to add ferns to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 4-10 depending on the variety

Water: They like moist soil but don’t like to be watered directly on their leaves.

Sun Exposure: Many ferns prefer part sun either in the morning or afternoon depending on the variety.

Geranium × Oxonianum ‘Wargrave Pink’
Cranesbill isn’t a true Geranium.

Cranesbill plants are so cute next to your variegated hostas

The Geranium Cranesbill plants grow in clumps. They can be divided if they get too big. If you have a large space, they can fill in gaps growing alongside hostas. The delicate pink flowers would be so beautiful among variegated hostas. If you want to add them to your garden, click here for growing instructions.

Zones: 3-9

Water: They like to be watered pretty often but not to the point where it’s too wet.

Sun Exposure: They can handle full sun in northern states but adapt better in part sun in southern states.

There are so many different varieties of hostas and I love how interesting a garden looks when mixed with different types of hostas all growing together.

Keep companion planting simple by adding different varieties of hostas

This is probably the best choice for low maintenance planting. Just add other hostas among your white variegated hostas. I personally love this mix look. You see other nice examples on Pinterest. If you want to know more about growing hostas, click here for a grow guide.

Zones: 3-9

Water: 2x a week during the hottest part of the growing season

Sun Exposure: They do best when getting shade exposure either in the morning or afternoon.

Did you know that Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) originated in the Middle East? It belongs to the mint family.

Lamb’s Ear is a filler companion plant for variegated hostas

Sometimes unexpected surprises give a garden character and that’s the case in inter-planting Lamb’s Ear with variegated hostas. Lamb’s Ear adds a soft texture to the space and it’s a low maintenance perennial. It doesn’t mind if the soil is a little on the drier side if that’s the conditions you’re working with. If you want to know more about growing Lamb’s Ear, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 4-8

Water: 1x a week if dry. Lamb’s Ear is pretty drought tolerant.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Lily of the Valley became Finland’s National Flower in 1967.

White flowers and White lines of variegated hostas compliment each other

Lily of the Valley gets a bad reputation of being invasive and poisonous. While all parts of the plant are considered toxic if you eat it, you can touch it. The white bell flowers are gorgeous next to the white lines in the hosta’s leaves. The perfume from the flowers are distinctive and you can smell them from several feet away. It grows about the same height, so it can be grown among the variegated hostas. If you want to know more about growing Lily of the Valley, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 3-9

Water: Needs to be watered weekly for the first month or two after being planted. It’s a pretty resilient plant that doesn’t need water.

Sun Exposure: Grows best in 2-4 hours of light but can grow in full shade.

Campanula punctata ‘Pink Chimes’

This dwarf variety of Campanula is too cute

Campanulas attract pollinators and will do well in rock gardens. Using a dwarf variety can be a great way to not overwhelm a smaller space with variegated hostas. If you want to know more about growing Campanula, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 3-8

Water: It needs about an inch of water on a weekly basis.

Sun Exposure: It likes full sun but can handle part sun.

Summer Snowflake bulbs (Leucojum Aestivum) are symbols of sympathy and empathy.

The Summer Snowflake brings joy during winter

Similar to a Snowdrop, the Summer Snowflake (Leucojum Aestivum) is an affordable option than Snowdrops or Lily of the Valley. I bought bulbs in bulk at Costco for a reasonable price. Planting them together into a large clump has a more dramatic effect than planting them individually. When the flowers and leaves die back, it’s easy to gently pull them to clean up the space. If you want to know more about growing Summer Snowflakes, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 3-9

Water: Need consistent moisture during growth and bloom time. If you have snow and rain during that time, they are maintenance free. If you are in warmer regions, they’ll need more watering.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part sun about 4-6 hours.

This baby Solomon’s Seal makes it hard to see how the leaves are variegated.

Solomon’s Seal creates a seamless design with variegated hostas

These plants get about the same size. They do fill in the space so you don’t need a lot of plants. All parts of the plant are poisonous so take this in consideration around pets. Flowers that pair well with hostas bloom in April/May. If you want to know more how to grow Solomon’s Seal, click here for a growing guide.

Zones: 3-9

Water: Seedlings and established plants need to be in a garden bed that gets consistent watering.

Sun Exposure: Shade and part sun in the morning is an ideal place.

Did you know that Sweet Woodruff is sparingly fed to cows in Germany to flavor the milk?

Sweet Woodruff can fill in bare spaces in shade gardens

This is another perennial that gives a monochromatic look to a variegated hosta garden layout. They flowers that bloom for a short time in the spring add to the look. If you want to know more how to grow Sweet Woodruff, click here for planting ideas.

Zones: 4-8

Water: Seedlings and established plants need to be in a garden bed that gets consistent watering.

Sun Exposure: Shade to part sun

Did you know that Trillium are native to North America?

Trillium is worth the wait

When I first purchased Trillium roots online, I was convinced that they weren’t viable because they didn’t grow. When I saw them pop up the second year, I realized that it was a slow grower. They came up every year after that and slowly multiplied. For more information about growing Trillium, click here.

Zones: 4-8

Water: They prefer shade in wet areas of the garden and like lots of organic compost.

Sun Exposure: Do great in a woodland habitat.

Alliums might be called a flowering onion but aren’t as tasty.

Mount Everest Allium’s white flower compliment the variegation of the hosta leaves adding to a monochromatic look with fun texture. Add some compost or fertilizer to encourage health. For more information how to grow Alliums, click here.

Wondering what to plant with hostas in sun, look no further than White Allium.

Zones: 4-9

Water: They don’t mind drier soil as long as there’s sufficient rain. Avoid wet areas of the garden.

Sun Exposure: full sun and part sun about 4-6 hours

Summary

It’s very common to move into homes that have shade gardens with variegated hostas. Whether you want flashes of color or a serene monochromatic look, there are many companion plants to choose from. This post gives lots of choices for hosta landscaping ideas. For more visual inspirations that include many of the plants featured on this post, click here to see them on my Pinterest page.