Hydrangea Varieties To Grow in Your Landscaping

Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that come in a plethora of colors and heights, so there is a variety suitable for you regardless of whether you have an indoor or outdoor garden and are looking to plant in containers, borders, or large garden beds.

They require very little maintenance once established, but it is important to choose the right spot for their sunlight requirements and to provide them with enough water for their needs, as they can be thirsty in hot climates.

In this article, we discuss what are the various types of hydrangeas, different hydrangea varieties, and how to care for them.


If you are looking for other types of flowering plants, go back to our flowers and perennials, and annuals main page.


What are Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas can come in many different shapes, colors, and forms, with varieties ranging in size and growth habits from trees to climbing vines.

The most common and well-loved form is a bushy shrub, planted in gardens all over the world.

They were predominantly found in shades of blue or pink, but due to their increased popularity, they have now been bred and selected for a number of different colors, plant heights, and flower shapes. 

Hydrangeas are categorized into species or types. There are over 70 species of hydrangea that exist.

However, the most popular species that are commonly found at the garden store are the following:

  1. Bigleaf hydrangeas
  2. Smooth hydrangeas
  3. Panicle hydrangeas
  4. Oakleaf hydrangeas
  5. Climbing hydrangeas
  6. Mountain hydrangeas

1. Bigleaf Hydrangeas

Bigleaf Hydrangeas

Hydrangea macrophylla is native to Japan and can grow 8–10 ft tall and 8–10 ft wide.

These plants are hardy to USDA hardiness zones 6–9 and tend to be less tolerant of colder weather than other varieties.

They grow well in the full morning sun but need afternoon shade to prevent too much water loss due to evaporation via the big leaves that they are named after.

They do not like temperatures to drop below freezing and may get cold damage to the buds if they are not protected from the frost.

Luckily, they can easily be grown in containers and pulled under cover or indoors if you experience harsh winters. 

They typically form their flower buds on old wood in late summer for the next season, so incorrect pruning after that will remove the buds and cause failure to flower the following year.

It is best to prune old flowerheads out as they begin to fade.

Popular varieties of bigleaf include Nikko Blue, Endless Summer, and the Magical series. 

Hydrangea Macrophylla can be further divided into two main groups called Hortensias and Lacecaps.

Hortensias

Hortensias hydrangeas are a type of Bigleaf hydrangea that has round flowers and are also called French hydrangeas, snowballs, or mophead hydrangeas.

They generally have a dense ball of large sterile flowers (infertile) that are tightly clustered together.

Due to the infertile nature of the sterile flowers, the plant will keep producing blooms all summer long until the temperatures drop too low.

They provide a very rewarding and long flowering season. 

Lacecaps 

Lace caps are a type of Bigleaf hydrangea that are flat in shape and characterized by smaller fertile florets in their centers and large infertile flowers surrounding them on the fringes.

Because they can be pollinated, their blooming period is shorter than the Hortensias and lasts about 1 month before the flowers start to lose their color. 

2. Smooth Hydrangeas

Smooth Hydrangeas

Hydrangea arborescens is native to the Eastern United States. They are cold-hardy and can be grown in a wide range of USDA hardiness zones from 3-9.

They can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide and can be planted instead of hortensias in colder climates as the two look very similar. 

Because their blooms are round and white, these hydrangeas look great as decorative flowers, especially at weddings or other gatherings. 

Popular varieties are Annabelle, Incrediball, and Invincibelle.

3. Panicle Hydrangeas

Panicle Hydrangeas

Hydrangea paniculata is also known as peegee hydrangea and is native to eastern China, Korea, Japan, and Russia.

They grow to a height of up to 25 ft tall, either on a single stem like a tree or a multi-branched tall shrub.

They are very hardy and can be found in a wide range of climates, from chilly to temperate, in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Panicle hydrangea is recognizable by its cone-shaped flower heads made up of both small, fertile florets and large, showy infertile petals.

They bloom in mid-summer and start off with a light, white color that changes as the season extends and cools.

They usually turn a blushing pink or red and may do so gradually, creating an ombré effect, but the specific color change will depend on the variety.

A panicle hydrangea is best pruned in late fall through early winter or at any time before they start forming their new shoots, which takes place in early spring.

They can be pruned down hard as they bloom on new stems each season. 

A few popular varieties are Limelight, Vanilla Strawberry, Grandiflora, and Diamond Rouge. 

4. Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Hydrangea quercifolia is native to the United States and is named because of its wavy-edged leaves, which are reminiscent of an oak tree.

These deciduous hydrangea shrubs can grow to a height and width of 8 x 8 feet. You can grow oakleaf hydrangeas in USDA hardiness zones 5–9.

They do not thrive when planted in restrictive environments, and containers and pot planting are not recommended.

This is unlike most of its hydrangea cousins that do very well in containers. 

Oakleaf hydrangea flowers start off white and change to purple-pink as they age. The long-lasting panicles are elongated flower clusters up to 30cm long.

Flowering time: late spring to early summer for 1 month.

Leaves turn bronze, burgundy, and crimson in the fall before dropping, and make a colorful addition to the garden during fall. 

Prune straight after the flowers fade. Flowers form on previous years’ growth, so do not prune overzealously.

Some popular varieties are Gatsby, Tara hydrangea, and Snowflake.

5. Climbing Hydrangeas

Climbing Hydrangeas

Hydrangea petiolaris is native to Japan, Korea, Siberia, and Russia.

They can reach great lengths as they climb to heights of 30 to 80 feet, but you can prune them into shrubs to keep them shorter if you have limited space.

They prefer to grow in USDA hardiness zones 4–8, so avoid them if you live in an area that experiences either extreme cold or hot temperatures.

Flowers have a flat, lacecap form and are available in white.

It may take as long as 5 years to become properly established to the point of flowering for the first time, so be patient for this beauty to flourish. 

You should rather wait to prune it when it is established, as it is slow-growing at first.

If it starts getting too big, you can prune it back in late spring to early summer.

It is a heavy, large vine that needs sturdy support. Without that, it will form a rambling, arching shrub that spreads quickly as its aerial rootlets from the main stem make contact with soil. It makes a great rounded cover shrub.

The most popular varieties include Marinda and Silverling, which both have pretty, variegated leaves. 

6. Mountain Hydrangeas

Mountain Hydrangeas

Hydrangea serrata is native to Japan and Korea. They stay small and compact, usually under 4 feet in height.

They do not enjoy the cold, so they are best suited to the warmer USDA hardiness zones 6–9.

Like macrophylla lacecap, their flowers are flat and lacey, but their leaves are more delicate and smaller in size.

They are a little less enduring than their bigleaf cousins, not thriving under extremes such as wind, drought, heat, or very cold conditions.

Plants prefer a sheltered part-shade spot with reliable watering and a thick layer of mulch protection. perfect for containers.

Flowers occur on old and new wood, so pruning should be kept to a minimum.

In fact, because they are small in size, it is recommended that all you do in lieu of pruning is remove the flower heads and any dead branches after they are finished flowering.

The blooms can be different colors, and their size and shape can be changed by adding aluminum to the soil and changing the pH of the soil.

Two of the most popular varieties are Bluebird and Preziosa.

10 Most Popular Hydrangeas to Grow

After evaluating the area in which you live, your garden’s sunlight conditions, and the setting you have available for planting, you will have a better idea of which variety you will be able to grow.

Here are a few examples of different hydrangeas that we think are exceptional choices within their respective varieties.

Nikko blue hydrangea

Nikko Blue Hydrangea

The Nikko blue hydrangea (the botanical name of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikki blue’) is categorized as a bigleaf hydrangea.

These deciduous flowering shrubs are part of the hortensia group and are considered mophead hydrangeas because of the huge flowering sepal balls they produce.

Flower heads

Nikko blue hydrangea flowers are very popular among gardeners and landscapers because of the bright blue-tinted flowers they produce.

Moreover, the color intensity is so strong that there are few plants or flowers that can compete.

For instance, there is another hydrangea called Endless Summer that blooms with blue flowers.

However, the Endless Summer’s blue flowers are not as vibrant and deep as the Nikko blue.

The Nikko blue hydrangea will bloom few if any, flowers on fresh stems.

Rather, the majority of its blossoms will start to sprout from buds that are already in place from the previous year.

If these buds on old stems don’t make it through the winter, the plant won’t yield as many flowers as you would think.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-11
  • Height/Spread: 6-10 feet/6-10 feet
  • Exposure: Partial shade to full sun.
  • Flower colors: White, blue, purple, or pink depending on the soil pH, preferably acidic for its namesake, but can be grown in alkaline soil too. 
  • Bloom time: July to October
  • Pruning: It needs very little pruning to clean it up. Just remove the old flower heads and the dead wood as spring growth begins.
    However, be careful not to damage the new flower buds forming in the fall as they bloom on old wood the following spring.

Incrediball Hydrangea

Incrediball Hydrangea

The Incrediball Hydrangea is a smooth hydrangea. It is named after its impressive 12-inch-sized, ball-shaped flowers and is botanically known as the Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ Incrediball.

Native to North America, these shrubs may produce one-foot-wide blossoms after they have established themselves in your landscape.

As summer draws to a close, the blossoms transform from a pale green to a white hue.

Due to its stronger stems, the Incrediball Hydrangea is considered a “better” version of the popular Annabelle Hydrangea.

Sometimes, Incrediball is referred to as the “Strong Annabelle” hydrangea, and some consider it an upgraded variant of the traditional Annabelle Hydrangea.

It is sold by the plant breeder Proven Winners and is so popular that it is one of their top-selling plants.

Incrediball Hydrangea is a beautiful, low-maintenance, quick-growing cultivar.

This cold-resistant deciduous shrub produces large white blooms on sturdy stalks.

Incrediball has a lengthy flowering period and appealing green leaves in the yard, as well as blooms that may be arranged in bouquets or preserved for autumn decoration.

Incrediball Hydrangea can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3–9.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 3–9 can be pleasantly drought tolerant. However, they provide more shade in dry climates. 
  • Height: Bushes are 4–5 feet tall with a rounded shape (so except the same width as height).
  • Exposure: Partial shade to full sun. They will produce bigger flowers in more sunny spots. 
  • Flowers: White, round inflorescences. Color is not affected by pH and flowers on new wood every year.
  • Blooms: June-August
  • Pruning: After the first frost in winter until early spring, or before the new buds start shooting.
    You can prune hard right down to the ground if you want to, as new shoots are formed by the plant that bears flowers the same year. 

Limelight Hydrangea

Limelight Hydrangea

Limelight hydrangeas, botanical name Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, are resilient flowering shrubs that tolerate dry conditions once they have been established.

Flowers don’t change color except for taking on shades of green, pink, red, burgundy, and bronze as they mature into the fall season.

Limelight hydrangeas are paniculata types of hydrangeas due to the shape of the flower trusses.

They are hardier, cold-resistant, and easier to cultivate than macrophylla hydrangeas.

Flower heads

Limelight hydrangeas are extremely dependable bloomers. The flowers bloom from spring all the way into the fall.

Colors range from bright green, white, pale pink, and even burgundy and bronze.

When the fall season arrives, the leaves become tinted with a rich and deep red color.

The colors of the leaves and flowers are a good contrast as they are commonly used as a landscaping plants for front yards and for curb appeal.

Alternatively, the blossoms are great as cut flowers to put in a vase and use as a centerpiece.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 3–9.
  • Height: Busy shrubs reach a height of 6-8 feet and have a similar breadth.
  • Exposure: full sun to partial shade.
  • Flowers: 10 inches long, cone-shaped, lime green inflorescences which fade to cream as they age.
  • Bloom time: July to September, which means it begins flowering later than most hydrangeas. 
  • Pruning: It blooms on new stems, so it can be pruned to 1/3 of its size in winter to early spring.
    It can be pruned right back to the ground, but leaving a framework of old stems supports the new stems to hold up their large, heavy flowers the following year.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea

The Annabelle hydrangea, also called Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle,’ is a smooth hydrangea.

It is a great ornamental flowering shrub that will improve the look of your landscaping or front yard.

It is arguably the most well-loved white garden hydrangea.

It can be pruned right back and will still produce beautiful, consistent flowers year after year.

Do not prune all the way down, as older stems provide structure. 

These plants usually require to be staked or planted together in a hedge to provide support to the huge flowerheads, particularly after rainfall.

It can be cultivated in a wide variety of USDA hardiness zones, and is simple and low-maintenance.

Furthermore, they grow in virtually all soil types, and, unlike other, fussier hydrangeas, you will not need to adjust the soil pH.

Flower heads

Annabelle hydrangeas produce a spectacular display with their pure white flowers and large bloom heads.

It produces enormous flower heads composed of sterile florets.

They are massive, white, spherical balls that are held above the foliage and bloom from summer to winter.

These flowers bloom from young, green stalks, which will produce an abundance of blooms.

The contrast between the dark green foliage and robust stalks and the pure white blossoms makes them even more attractive.

Furthermore, they are reliable bloomers as they produce flowers year after year.

  • Hardiness: Grown in USDA hardiness zones 3-9 
  • Height: Medium height, or 3 to 5 feet, and spread out 3–5 feet.
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Flower: A big, fluffy 10-inch white ball
  • Bloom time: June to September
  • Pruning: After the flowers fade in autumn, any time in winter right through to early spring when it begins sending out new shoots. 

Gatsby Pink Hydrangea

Gatsby Pink Hydrangea

Botanically called the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘JoAnn’, it is a bit of a chameleon in the garden as both its flowers and leaves change color from spring to fall, providing months of colorful interest. 

The Gatsby Pink Hydrangea is an oakleaf hydrangea that is versatile and hardy in that it provides you with colorful arrays in each season of the year.

Flower heads

It blooms in early summer, and its large, fragrant, lacecap blooms quickly acquire gorgeous, vivid pink hues that endure until winter.

The flowers change rapidly from pristine white to a gorgeous pink, while the dark green foliage becomes burgundy in fall.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 5–9
  • Height: 6-8 feet with an 8-foot breadth.
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Flowers: white, pointed inflorescence that turns to vibrant pink as it matures. It also has a pretty fragrance to attract insects and impress visitors alike.
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Pruning: Blooms on old stems, so prune early to avoid damaging new bud shoots. Prune lightly, only taking out deadwood and spent flowerheads if possible. 

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Strawberry Pretty ombré flowers are the perfect choice for the indecisive gardener who can’t decide between white, pink, or red hydrangeas. 

Flower heads

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas have large, vanilla-and-strawberry-colored flower heads that are supported by scarlet-colored stalks.

Flowers first sprout as a milky white in the early summer, then transform to pink at night when temperatures fall, and then eventually turn strawberry red.

These shrubs grow erect at the beginning of the season, then cascade later in the year.

In late summer and early fall, new flowers keep blooming while the older blooms begin their color changes.

At this point of the year, the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea really earns its name as the plant will be multicolored.

The strawberry crimson hue lasts at least three to four weeks.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 3–8 
  • Height: 6-7 feet tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Flowers: White that turns to pink as it matures, but does so gradually, resulting in a bi-color flowerhead that fades from white to pink.
    The flowers are 7 inches long and 5 inches wide, with a conical shape.
    They grow upright but bend into arches when a mass of blooms becomes too heavy for the soft new stems to support their weight.
  • Bloom time: middle of summer to early fall
  • Pruning: This variety blooms on new growth, so prune in late winter to early spring. It can be pruned back to one stem and turned from a shrub into a tree-like appearance. 

Miranda Hydrangea

Miranda Hydrangea

With a botanical name of Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, the Miranda hydrangea is a two-tone clinging vine that is cultivated for its pretty foliage just as much as for its nontraditional flowers. 

It is considered a climbing hydrangea and can reach as high as 60 feet!

This hydrangea has variegated leaves and large clusters of white flowers that adhere to anything vertical, like walls, fences, and even buildings.

They attach themselves using tiny holdfasts resembling roots.

Unlike other climbing flowering vines, this climbing hydrangea creates a surface that is completely parallel to the surface it is growing on.

Once it has covered the allotted space, it begins to produce perpendicular lateral branches.

This deciduous climbing vine will have peeling brown bark once it matures.

They have leathery leaves in a pseudo heart shape that are dark green, bordered by a prominent yellow-chartreuse band.

Flower Heads

The Miranda hydrangea blooms in early summer and throughout the summer.

Flowers will be white and grow up to 6-to 8-inch blossoms that sprout on outward-facing lateral branches.

The flowers are flat-topped, with a ring of large flowers encircling the more delicate ones in the middle.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 4–8
  • Height: A climbing hydrangea that can reach up to 60 feet tall and spread 5–6 feet with a lateral branching habit.
  • Exposure: Partial to full sun.
  • Flowers: Pretty white flowerheads about 8 inches wide. They have a flattened center with delicate fertile florets and bigger, showy infertile florets on their edges.
    Its variegated green and yellow leaves are beautiful enough to be a standalone attraction in the garden in their own right. 
  • Bloom time: May to June
  • Pruning: Prune to the desired height to prevent the vine from rambling straight after it finishes flowering.
    If you don’t need to reduce the plant’s size, then just remove the dead flowers in late winter or early spring.
    If you prune an old vine back to the ground, it will normally grow back rejuvenated, but it will not flower until the second year.
    If you would like to still enjoy its blooming while working towards your goal of a tidier plant, it is better to prune a plant hard over a period of 3 years, reducing its size gradually. 

Tiny Tuff Stuff Hydrangea

Tiny Tuff Stuff Hydrangea

Hydrangea Tiny Tough Stuff hydrangeas, also known as Hydrangea serrata ‘MAKD’, is a mountain hydrangea.

It is a really hardy hydrangea and can withstand and survive very cold winters and does well in places where macrophylla hydrangeas can’t.

Rich bronze-red tones provide visual appeal to the autumn foliage.

This mountain hydrangea has increased bud and stem hardiness and is super reliable for its bloom time.

Flower Heads

Although this hydrangea is compact, it has exceptionally colorful flowers that bloom throughout the year.

Abundant lacecap flowers on shorter plants tend to be blue.

However, depending on the pH of the soil, the bloom color may vary between gentle colors of blue, pink, and white. Flowers turn a beautiful pink as they mature.

As with other mountain hydrangeas, the Tiny Tuff Stuff hydrangea reblooms vigorously on both old and fresh wood.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 5–9
  • Height: 1.5–2 feet x 2 feet
  • Exposure: partial to full sun.
  • Flower: Can be either pink or blue and occurs in a mass of dainty, fertile florets encircled by bigger, infertile florets. 
  • Bloom time: Starting in the summer and then reblooms
  • Pruning: Blooms on old and new wood. They can tolerate cold conditions well.
    Not much is needed to prune as the plants do not get very big and grow in mounded shapes.
    Just lightly remove any dead flowers and branches that you find at any time of the year.

Endless Summer Blushing Bride

Endless Summer Blushing Bride

The Endless Summer Blushing Bride hydrangea is a longtime favorite of many gardeners and landscapers.

It is aptly named for its repeated blooming throughout the summer months, as it blooms on both old wood and new growth. 

Blushing Bride is a particularly adaptable hydrangea, both in the landscape and in cut flower arrangements.

It is also commonly used as a decorative flower arrangement for weddings or centerpieces.

Flower Heads

Blushing Bride provides a lovely splash of color to the landscape from late spring to fall with its large, spherical clusters of delicate blossoms.

Its flowers are mop heads that feature pure white, semi-double flowers that develop into blush pink or vibrant baby blue, depending on the pH of the soil.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 4–9
  • Height: medium shrub of 3 to 4 feet in height and breadth, giving it a rounded growth habit.
  • Exposure: Sunny with partial afternoon shade
  • Flowers: Mopheads that are pure white and mature to either blush pink or Carolina blue.
    Blushing Bride is the only Endless Summer variety whose initial color won’t be altered, regardless of the soil pH.
  • Bloom time: Spring to late summer; reblooms.
  • Pruning: Minimal pruning is needed in spring. Remove only the dried-out, brown buds at the top of the stems. Leave the green new buds that form at the base. Never prune in the fall. 

Magical Ruby Tuesday Hydrangea

Magical Ruby Tuesday Hydrangea

The Magical Ruby Tuesday hydrangeas are a Macrophylla hydrangea.

They are deciduous shrubs, meaning they lose all of their leaves in the fall and grow new leaves in the spring. 

Flower Heads

These plants have a large number of bud shoots that bear flowers when compared to other bigleaf hydrangeas.

This low-maintenance shrub blooms for many months beginning in midsummer, producing huge multicolored flower heads that are dome-shaped clusters of pink flowers.

Then, as summer begins to end, the color of each flower deepens and matures to a mature purple-ish color.

Note that the color of the blooms will be affected by the pH of the soil.

Alkaline soils will produce a deep red color, whereas acidic soils will result in more of a purple-blue color.

  • Hardiness: USDA 6-9
  • Height: 3 feet high to 4 feet wide, providing it with a round shape with a flattened top.
  • Exposure: Partial to full sun.
  • Flowers: Starts off as green flowers with a red tinge and then evolve into a deep, vivid red as they mature.
    The pH of the soil will affect the colors. Alkaline soil is best as blue or purple hues will develop if the soil is too acidic. 
  • Bloom time: Late midsummer to fall; July-October
  • Pruning: Late winter to early spring is the best time. Cut back a third of the old stems with dead flowers on them right down to the ground, and cut off the remaining last season’s flower heads to the first set of buds. 

Does Soil pH Affect the Color of Hydrangea Flowers?

Does-Soil-PH-Affect-The-Color-Of-Hydrangea-Flowers

One of the most fascinating characteristics of hydrangea is that the color of some hydrangea varieties can be manipulated (note, this does not affect white-colored hydrangea blooms).

The cause of color changes depends on the amount of aluminum that the hydrangea plant absorbs from the soil.

The more aluminum the hydrangea can absorb, the more colorful the blooms will be.

In contrast, less aluminum results in flowers’ having darker hues. For example, red or purple blooms may turn blue, or blue hydrangeas may be less vibrant.

pH Levels and Aluminum Absorption Rates

This absorption rate of aluminum is affected by the pH level of the soil.

At a low pH level, hydrangeas are able to uptake more aluminum, whereas by raising the pH of the soil, the plant’s absorbing abilities are limited.

In order to raise the pH of the soil for pink coloration, we can either add dolomitic lime (aim for a Ph of 6) or add a fertilizer that has high levels of phosphorus as this blocks the plants’ systems from taking up aluminum.

It is much easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than it is to go from blue to pink. 

For blue hydrangeas, make sure there is aluminum available for them in the soil by adding aluminum sulfate and a fertilizer low in phosphorus and high in potassium.

Both superphosphates and bone meal (both common soil additives) should be avoided when trying to grow blue hydrangeas.

So, in summary, acidic soil (pH of 6 or lower) will produce blue and lavender flowers, and alkaline soil (pH of 7 or higher) will produce pink and red flowers.

In the range between 6-7 ph, you may get a purple color or a mix of pink and blue flowers.

White hydrangeas stay white regardless of pH levels. Soil can most easily be manipulated in a container.

The main difference that you should look out for between varieties is preferred soil pH; although most can grow in alkaline or acidic soil, it may affect the flower color.

For example, white flowers can’t be manipulated by controlling pH but may change color as they age. 

Hydrangea Care Tips

Hydrangea-Care-Tips

The majority of hydrangeas are adaptable to a variety of growing situations. The vast majority of hydrangeas thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9.

If they are planted in organically rich, well-draining soil, they should flourish.

These adaptable shrubs also flourish in sandy coastal soils, shaded forest locations, and virtually everywhere else—though they can survive underneath a tree, it’s best not to because the roots will compete with the tree roots.

Plan to water your hydrangeas frequently in order to keep them constantly moist, particularly during hot and dry weather, and fertilize them once in the spring.

The optimal time to prune hydrangeas varies depending on the species and the season in which they set buds.

Light

All hydrangeas can be grown in partial shade to full sun.

However, most do best with a few hours of exposure to direct morning and/or afternoon sun, with a break from the full sun in the heat of the day.

So overhead shade at midday is preferred, especially in the hot weather.

Their sunlight requirements are nearly always the same; direct morning sun and dappled shade to protect them from the midday to afternoon heat.

Generally, plants that are stressed by too much sunlight or full shade will still survive, but their blooms will be compromised in size and productivity.

Soil

Soil-of-Hydrangea-Care

One requirement that must be met for hydrangeas is to have adequate water for the soil to be kept moist, so plants will benefit from a thick layer of mulch around their base to hold moisture in. 

Hydrangeas prefer rich, well-draining soil and can be grown in a variety of soil types, including clay, loamy, or sandy, but they must be kept consistently moist, especially while they are becoming established.

Pruning

When pruning, remember that plants that bloom on new wood, or this season’s growth, will be more cold-hardy and can still bloom consistently even after having been pruned back to the ground.

Cultivars that bloom exclusively on old wood, or last season’s growth, should only be pruned immediately after flowers are spent, in late fall or early winter, to avoid removing the new buds.

These buds are also more susceptible to cold damage. 

FAQ

Do hydrangeas prefer sun or shade?

Hydrangeas prefer the early sun and midday shade. Partially shady conditions in the afternoon are great, but just remember that direct afternoon heat could be detrimental to most hydrangea species.

Where is the best place to grow hydrangeas?

The best place to grow hydrangeas is an area that receives early sunlight and midday shade. One thing to consider is the size of the hydrangea plant, as you want to leave plenty of room for growth. Also, select a location with excellent drainage. One place not to plant hydrangeas is underneath trees—they will not thrive due to root competition. Lastly, avoid planting in exposed regions where strong gusts of wind may snap the stems.

What is the best time to plant hydrangeas?

The best time to plant hydrangeas is before the summer’s peak temperatures. Try to plant them in the late spring so as to avoid any freak frost or cold spells. In that vein, avoid planting in the fall as the temperatures at night may fall too much. If you live in an area where the ground freezes during the winter, you should plant your seeds at least six weeks before the freezing temperatures come—this allows plants to establish their root systems.

How long do hydrangeas live?

Hydrangeas can live for a very long time if you take care of them. They are long-living shrubs that can potentially survive up to 50 years! During the growth season, they require regular watering and require early light but afternoon shade. After the blossoms have faded, prune them in the fall so they will have new sturdy stems to grow on for the following season.

Conclusion

Whatever variety you choose to brighten your garden with, the genetics, flowering time, and color of cultivars seem to be constantly evolving and improving, and we are now spoiled for choice with quality and breathtaking hydrangeas. 

References

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  • Kluepfel, M. & Polomski, R. (Revised by Williamson, J.). (2021). Hydrangeas. Factsheet HGIC 1067. Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. URL: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/hydrangea/
  • Smith, K. Chenault, J. & Tilt, K. (2018). Hydrangeas. ANR-1276, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama A&M University and Auburn University. URL: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/hydrangeas/?cn-reloaded=1
  • Yeary, W., & Fulcher, A. (2013). A Tennessee Landscape Contractor’s Guide to Hydrangeas. W304 Issue, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee Extension. URL: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/w304.pdf
  • Barrett, E. (2018). Selecting Hydrangeas for the Home Landscape. Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mahoning County, Ohio State University Extension. URL: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1263
  • UConn Home and Garden Education Center. (Eds.). (2018). Hydrangea. Home & Garden Education Center, University of Connecticut Extension. URL: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/hydrangea.php
  • About/mentions: Hydrangea, flowering plant, landscaping

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