Hydrangea comes in many varieties and with many different colored flowers. Find facts and information on some of the most popular varieties of hydrangea and the Zones where they grow best. Hydrangea flowers are described and listed in the description of each variety.
Hydrangea Varieties- Finding the best variety and flower will depend on your needs, as far as color and size. Be sure to take the Zones into consideration when choosing your hydrangea. These are the different types of hydrangeas, each group may also have other colors or multi-colored blooms in the particular group.
- Big-Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, has showy blue, pink, or purple flowers that develop in late summer. This hydrangea can be grown in Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9. It grows from 3-10’ high x 3-10’ wide. Big-leaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub that has a rounded form and a medium to coarse texture. Because of their coarse texture when not in bloom, it is recommended to plant them among other shrubs in a border were other plants can add interest earlier in the season.
- Smooth hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescans, is hardy in Zone 4. It has large white flower clusters that appear in late summer. Plants bloom on new wood, so they can be cut back to the ground in late winter and grown as a herbaceous perennial.
- Panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, has smaller flowers but blooms earlier on new wood. Their flowers have more of a elongated shape than do others. It is hardy to Zone 4 also.
- Oak-leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, has large, oaklike leaves that turn red in fall. The flowers start out white, changing to pink then brown. The Oak-leaf hydrangea grows in Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9. It is a great shrub for planting underneath large trees.
- Endless Summer Hydrangea, Hydrangea Macrophylla 'Bailmer' literally blooms all summer long. It was introduced in a series "Endless Summer" that grows not only on the present season's growth but will all utilize the growth from the year before. Colors can be altered by the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.
Care of Hydrangea
Hydrangea also make excellent foundation plants, especially on the east or north side of buildings. They also make great cut flowers, both fresh and dried types. The plants prefer full sun and rich, moist, well-drained soil high in organic matter.
The soil pH affects the plants’ uptake of aluminum, which determines the hydrangea flower color. The pH will make the hydrangea flower either pink or blue. For pink flowers, apply lime to decrease the soils acidity. For bluer flowers, provide extra acidity in the form of aluminum sulfate or peat moss. Mature plants can be stressed if allowed to wilt during dry periods. A 2-4” layer of organic mulch will help maintain soil moisture.
Feed the plant once in mid-June with plant food, such as Miracle-Gro. If you want blue flowers, use an acid plant food such as Shake ’n Feed Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron plant food. Hydrangeas can be pruned after flowering to remove flower heads, as plants bloom on the previous year’s growth.
Propagation of Hydrangea: Layer hydrangea in the summer, or take cuttings in midsummer. Seeds can be sown in the fall, but be aware that named varieties will not come true from seed.
Pests and Diseases include leaf miners which cause damage, only cosmetically. They burrow into the leaves and produce brown or tan patches on the leaves.