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12 Companion Plants for Azaleas (with Pictures)

Azalea Bonsai

Azaleas are attractive plants that are easy to grow almost anywhere in the United States. They enjoy acidic soil and the filtered sunlight that you often find under trees. Many people like to add them to their property, but they aren’t sure what plants to pair them with or what plants to avoid having nearby. Keep reading as we list several plants that grow well alongside azaleas and discuss why you would want to add them to your garden.

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The 12 Great Companion Plants for Azaleas

1. Hydrangea

gardener planting Hydrangea flower plant
Image By: ajlatan, Shutterstock
  • Reason to grow: Attracts pollinators

The hydrangea is a great choice for pairing with azaleas because they enjoy similar soil and produce many large flowers that look great with the azalea flowers. Another advantage of this plant is that the flowers attract many pollinating insects, like bees and butterflies, that will help increase the crop that you receive from the entire garden.

2. Mountain Laurel

mountain laurel flowers blooming
Image Credit: dwdavisauthor0, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Repels foragers

The mountain laurel is a plant that produces attractive flowers. It enjoys filtered sunlight like azaleas, and pairing the two will help protect them from foragers because the mountain laurel foliage is thick and shiny, which many deer and rabbits don’t like.

3. Blueberry

Delphinium Highlander Blueberry Pie
Image Credit: Ivanchik, Shutterstock
  • Reason to grow: Produce fruit, attract pollinators

The blueberry is in the same family as the mountain laurel and pairs well with the azalea. Blueberry plants help attract pollinators that will benefit your entire garden, and they also produce tasty fruit that you can eat, making it a smart choice for adding to the garden. It enjoys acidic soil and is easy to maintain.

4. Bleeding Heart

bleeding heart flowers
Image Credit: RitaE, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Attractive flowers

The bleeding heart is likely the benefiting party when paired with azaleas because they will grow better due to the shade that the larger azalea plan provides. In return, it accents azalea flowers with beautiful heart-shaped flowers that help fill out the overall appearance. Bleeding hearts also die back after they bloom, so they don’t take up too many nutrients.

5. Hosta

Repotting Hostas
Image Credit: Ostranitsa Stanislav, Shutterstock
  • Reason to grow: Repels foragers

Hosta plants are easy to grow and pair well with azaleas because they produce large thick leaves that repel foragers, and they like to grow in filtered sunlight or shady areas. There are several different hosta varieties, so you can find one that suits your garden. It also has a long lifespan, so you won’t need to replace it too frequently.

6. Spotted Dead Nettle

Spotted Dead Nettles
Image Credit: Nennieinszweidrei, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Ground cover

Spotted dead nettle is also called the purple dragon, and it’s a great choice for pairing with the azalea because it helps fill in the area around and between the azalea plants with ground cover, helping them appear fuller. The small purple flowers also look nice along with the azaleas.

7. Holly

American Holly
Image Credit: damann, Shutterstock
  • Reason to grow: Repels foragers, similar growing environment

Holly is a popular plant worldwide, especially during the holiday season, when it produces bright red berries that look nice next to azalea flowers. It likes acidic soil, and the thick leaves of the holly help repel foragers. Some species even grow tall enough to provide shade for your azaleas.

8. Barberry

Image Credit: Didgeman, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Similar growing conditions, attracts pollinators

Barberry is a good choice for pairing with azaleas because it has similar growing conditions and will grow well if you already have azaleas growing. Choose barberry when you want to create a fence or border around your garden or property. It also helps to attract pollinators, which will help the azaleas produce more flowers.

9. Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia Sixteen Candles
Clethra alnifolia Sixteen Candles (Image Credit: Photo by David J. Stang via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • Reason to grow: Plenty of flowers, attracts pollinators

Summersweet is an easy-to-grow plant that produces many flowers in late summer after the azaleas have died off, so pairing the two can help keep that area of the yard interesting throughout most of the year. Summersweet plants enjoy similar growing conditions to azaleas and attract hummingbirds and other pollinators that are fun to watch and benefit the rest of your garden.

10. Snowball Bush

Snowball bush in full bloom
Image Credit: Pxhere
  • Reason to grow: Provides shade

The snowball bush looks a bit like a tree and produces large flowers that look like snowballs, which is how it got its name. It pairs well with the azalea because it enjoys a similar growing environment and can grow to reach more than 10 feet tall, so it can provide valuable filtered sunlight to your azalea plant, which will help it grow better.

11. Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel_manfredrichter_Pixabay
Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Similar growing environment, health benefits

Witch hazel enjoys growing in a similar environment as azalea plants and is easy to grow if you already have azalea growing in your garden. Witch hazel produces attractive yellow fall leaves and small flowers that arrive after the azalea flowers die off. It also has several health benefits that make it worth adding to your garden.

12. Gardenia

a white gardenia flower
Image Credit: ignartonosbg, Pixabay
  • Reason to grow: Similar environment, repel foragers

Gardenia is a fragrant plant in the coffee family that enjoys growing in a similar environment to azaleas. The dark-green, shiny leaves also work to repel foragers like deer and rabbits that might feast on the azaleas, while the attractive white flowers convince many gardeners to add it to their property. However, it will only do well in warm environments.

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What Are the Worst Companion Plants for Azaleas?

Acidic Soil Haters

Since azaleas prefer acidic soil, you don’t want to pair it with a plant that doesn’t grow well in acidic soil. Such plants include beans, basil, asparagus, dahlia, marigolds, morning glory, rose, and sweet pea.

Sunlight Lovers

Since the azalea prefers filtered sunlight, it wouldn’t be good to pair it with a plant that requires plenty of direct sunlight unless it grows large enough to cast shade over the azalea. Common plants that require too much sunlight to pair with the azalea include strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and squash.

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When choosing a companion plant for your azalea, select something that enjoys acidic soil and filtered sunlight. One of our favorites is witch hazel because it has several health benefits. If you have enough room, we recommend the snowball bush because it is a fun plant to grow, looks great, and provides shade. Pairing your azalea with blueberries will provide you with regular snacks, and if you are having trouble with deer or rabbits, pair your azaleas with a hosta, holly, or mountain laurel.

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Featured Image Credit: ilyessuti, Pixabay


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