‘Threatening’ plants to ‘never’ grow near hydrangeas – ‘causes the plant to die’

Hydrangeas are adored by many gardeners because of the enormous, vibrant flowers they produce.

There are lots of plants that go well with hydrangeas. Some suggestions for perennials, shrubs, and annuals work well as hydrangea companion plants. Some examples of these are hostas, gardenia, ferns, hollies, yews, azaleas and boxwoods. 

However, there are also plants that don’t co-exist at all with hydrangeas. These plants end up either stunting the growth of hydrangeas or killing them.

To ensure gardeners don’t grow hydrangeas anywhere near “threatening” plants, gardening expert Julia Omelchenko of NatureID has shared her advice

She said: “Hydrangeas are beautiful and popular garden plants that, when properly cared for, can be a sight to behold thanks to their large inflorescences. However, sometimes they may be weak, fail to bloom, and experience wilting and leaf dieback even in proper growing conditions. The problem might lie in the neighbouring plants in your garden.”

1. Trees 

Planting hydrangeas in places where they won’t get sunlight is not advised, therefore tall trees is are big no-no for these flowers.

The expert explained: “Tall and large trees like the oak, maple, or birch can provide too much shade for hydrangeas, making it difficult for them to flower.

“Hydrangeas prefer bright but diffused sunlight, and too much shade can cause stunted growth. If there isn’t enough light, the plant won’t bloom or its inflorescences will be small and weak.”

Also, large trees and Hydrangeas compete for nutrients in the soil. This can lead to nutrient deficiency, which will also “negatively affect” the development of hydrangeas.

2. Plants that release juglone 

Some plants produce substances that inhibit or suppress the development of other plant species – this is called allelopathy. 

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Julia noted that “walnuts are a particular threat to hydrangeas” because they can release a toxic compound called juglone into the soil. The expert said: “Juglone negatively affects the development of hydrangeas and other plants, causing their leaves to turn yellow, shoots to wither and dry out, and the plant to die.”

In the soil, it accumulates in the root zone. If gardeners have walnut trees on their property, Julie advised: “Plant hydrangeas as far away from them as possible”.

3. Lavender 

Loved by many gardeners, lavender is another plant that isn’t a suitable neighbour for hydrangeas. Although they can look beautiful together, they have opposite growing requirements, and planting them next to each other can “cause problems for both plants” so they should “never” be planted beside one another.

Lavender prefers dry, well-drained, and not overly nutritious soil, whereas hydrangeas need moist, fertile, and slightly acidic soil. 

Julius warned: “If you plant these two next to each other, you may have difficulty providing optimum growing conditions for both of them. Wet soil, which is essential for hydrangeas, can cause the lavender’s root system to rot, as it cannot tolerate excess moisture. 

“On the other hand, dry and poor soil preferred for the lavender can cause chlorosis and drying out of Hydrangea leaves because they won’t get enough moisture and nutrients needed for growth and development.”

4. Sun-loving plants

As hydrangeas prefer places with bright but diffused light, long periods of exposure to direct sunlight can cause their leaves to turn yellow, brown, and dry out, which “can later cause the plants to die”. 

Julia noted that sun-loving plants like roses, asters, and geraniums are “undesirable neighbours” for hydrangeas because of the different light conditions required for their growth. 

Another plant worth singling out is the sunflower, which not only needs a lot of direct sun but also takes up all the nutrients from the soil, depleting it. 

This leads to stunted growth of nearby plants, which may include hydrangeas. Instead, hydrangeas are best planted in the company of other plants which prefer diffused sunlight.

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