When it comes to designing a garden or landscaping with azaleas, choosing the right plants and flowers to complement the vibrant azalea blooms is crucial. By selecting the appropriate flora, you can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal and create a harmonious environment. In this article, we will explore various plant and flower options that can be effectively used in between azalea designs, ensuring a visually stunning and captivating landscape.

Ferns: Adding Graceful Foliage

Ferns are an excellent choice to complement azaleas due to their delicate and feathery foliage. Their lacy fronds provide a contrasting texture against the vibrant azalea blooms, creating a visually pleasing combination. Choose shade-tolerant fern varieties, such as Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum), Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum), or Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), to create a lush and graceful backdrop for your azalea design.

Hostas: Enhancing Leaf Variation

Hostas are renowned for their diverse leaf shapes, sizes, and colors, making them an ideal choice to intersperse with azaleas. These perennial plants thrive in shade and add a dynamic element to the garden. Consider varieties like ‘Sum and Substance’ with large chartreuse leaves, ‘Patriot’ with green leaves edged in white, or ‘Blue Angel’ with blue-green leaves. By strategically placing hostas between azalea plants, you can create an appealing tapestry of foliage.

Heucheras: Adding Colorful Accents

Heucheras, commonly known as coral bells, are prized for their stunning foliage colors, which range from vibrant greens to deep purples and oranges. These low-growing perennial plants are a perfect choice for filling in the gaps between azaleas. Opt for varieties like ‘Palace Purple’ with deep purple leaves, ‘Lime Rickey’ with lime green leaves, or ‘Caramel’ with bronze foliage. By incorporating heucheras, you can introduce captivating pops of color and texture to your azalea design.

Azalea Design

via @hitsuzisaki_jinja

Creeping Phlox: Cascading Blooms

If you desire a cascade of beautiful blooms to complement your azaleas, consider planting creeping phlox. This ground-covering perennial produces masses of colorful flowers, creating a breathtaking display. Choose varieties like ‘Emerald Blue’ with vibrant blue flowers, ‘Candy Stripe’ with striped pink and white blooms, or ‘Snowflake’ with pure white blossoms. When placed strategically between azaleas, creeping phlox provides a stunning carpet of color that harmonizes with the azalea blooms.

Ajuga: Ground-Hugging Beauty

For a low-growing ground cover that adds visual interest between azaleas, ajuga is an excellent choice. Ajuga, also known as bugleweed, features attractive foliage and produces small, spiky flowers in shades of blue, purple, or white. Varieties like ‘Burgundy Glow’ with variegated leaves or ‘Chocolate Chip’ with bronze foliage offer striking contrasts. By utilizing ajuga in your azalea design, you can create a visually appealing carpet of color and texture.

Astilbes: Graceful Plumes

Astilbes are renowned for their elegant plumes of feathery flowers, which come in a wide range of colors, including pink, white, red, and lavender. These perennial plants thrive in partially shaded areas and can bring a touch of elegance and sophistication to your azalea design. Consider varieties like ‘Fanal’ with deep red blooms, ‘Peach Blossom’ with soft pink flowers, or ‘Visions in White’ with pure white plumes. By interspersing astilbes with azaleas, you can create a captivating display of graceful blooms.

Azalea Design

via @botanybentley

Verbena: Burst of Color

If you desire vibrant and long-lasting blooms to complement your azaleas, verbena is an excellent choice. This versatile annual plant produces clusters of colorful flowers in shades of purple, pink, red, or white. Varieties like ‘Homestead Purple’ with deep purple blooms, ‘Lollipop’ with bright pink flowers, or ‘Snowflurry’ with white blossoms offer a burst of color that can enhance the beauty of your azalea design. Plant verbena in between azaleas to create a stunning floral tapestry.


Designing with azaleas opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to create a captivating and visually appealing landscape. By carefully selecting the right plants and flowers to put in between azalea designs, you can enhance the overall aesthetic and create a harmonious environment. From graceful ferns to vibrant verbena, the options are abundant. Embrace the diversity of foliage, colors, and textures to create a garden that celebrates the beauty of azaleas while showcasing complementary flora.