Growing Hydrangeas: Selecting Hydrangeas for Your Garden

August 10, 2020

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. I have always loved them growing up and enjoyed adding them to my decor.  You can imagine my excitement and surprise when I moved here to Cape Cod and quickly learned that practically everyone here has at least one in their landscape. I knew that I had to learn about them and add them to my gardens. But little did I know that selecting hydrangeas would yield so many options or how to choose hydrangeas correctly.

As many of you know, we moved into a new home a couple of years ago and I discovered there were a few hydrangeas already here. Since putting down roots here, I have slowly been adding and learning how to grow hydrangeas each season. A big part of the success and failures for me, is making sure that I am selecting the proper hydrangeas that meet their growing needs. This post today will focus on the different types of hydrangeas in my very own landscape here on Cape Cod.

Hydrangea Selection:

How to Choose Hydrangeas

Know Your Growing Zone

Hydrangeas are native to Asia and also the United States. First, determine your growing zone. Knowing your growing zone will determine if you can grow hydrangeas in your location.  Your zone will affect which varieties will be successful.

The next step will be to determine the amount of sunlight in your planting location. A spot is considered to have full sun if it receives at least 6 hours of sunshine.  Shade receives at least 3 hours of sun and partial sun/shade is considered to be somewhere in between.

Size and Space

Lastly when selecting hydrangeas, it important to determine how big the mature, fully-grown plant can fit into the space you have allotted. But worry not, because there are perfectly sized hydrangeas for your needs, from dwarf varieties that remain compact, growing to a mature size of 2 to 3 feet both wide and high, to hydrangeas that tower up to 8 feet. I should also mention that some varieties actually enjoy living in containers too.

Types of Hydrangeas

Arborescens

Hydrangea- Invincibelle-SpiritII
Invincibelle Spirit II

Grow in Zones 4-9

Bloom on both old and new wood

Can take some shade in Southern US gardens they will require it. Other locations, they enjoy at least 6 hours of sun

Bloom early summer through fall.

Selecting Hydrangeas: One of the most common varieties are the Annabelles

Annabelle Hydrangea
First white, then turning to a lovely green shade mid-summer, Annabelles have big round globe-like blooms.

Macrophylla

Mopheads and Lace Caps

Grow in Zones 6-9

Mopheads have large globe-like clusters of sterile blooms

Bloom late spring through fall

Hydrangea- Mophead-endless summer
Endless Summer Mophead

Lacecaps have a flatter bloom surface with tiny fertile flowers in the center, surrounded by sterile blooms.

Lace cap hydrangea
Twist and Shout- Lacecap Hydrangea

 

Paniculata

Hydrangea- paniculata
Quick Fire Hydrangea

The blooming clusters are pyramidal in shape and are a combination of both sterile and fertile flowers.

Most of the blooms change color as the season progresses.

Bloom on new wood

Selecting Hydrangeas: I love Limelight and the smaller version- Little Lime. The blooms begin as a creamy color and progress to a wonderful lime green and they transition to a beautiful pink. Quick Fire is also another favorite.

Hydrangea- little lime
Little Lime’s early flower begins to awaken.

 

Quercifolia

Oakleaf Hydrangea
The blooms remind me of an upside down ice cream cones. This “Ruby Slippers” variety will turn a dark red come fall.

Grows in Zones 5-9

Native to the United States

These are known as Oak Leaf hydrangea due to their leaf’s appearance.

Does well in heat and humidity

Foliage turns red in the fall. All the blooms start out some degree of whitish, creamy light green color and fade to varying degrees of reds and pinks as the season progresses.

Selecting Hydrangeas: Smaller favorite varieties include Pee Wee and Ruby Slippers.

Serrata

Serrata hydrangea
Tuff-Stuff appears similar to lacecaps but notice how different the shape of the bloom appears.

Grow in Zones 6-9

The leaves are serrated and turn to red as the season progresses.

These are a good choice for places with later spring frosts as they leaf out later in the spring.

Selecting Hydrangeas: Check out Tuff Stuff.

Now that you have some ideas on how to chose hydrangeas for your garden and landscape, I’ll be adding more information in real time as my hydrangea season goes on. Please ask questions and share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

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Melissa

Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.

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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.