The word Hydrangea can often bring several different visual images to mind. Some with huge blooms, some formed more into a tree, some climbing up the chimney of a home. There are many different groups of hydrangeas with many different colors, blooms and growth habits.
Bigleaf hydrangeas are divided into two classes–the mopheads and the lacecaps. A common shrub in the southeast, there are many varieties of each group. Both mopheads and lacecaps bloom in the summer. These hydrangeas have large leaves, giving it a coarse texture in summer, carrying into the winter with unbranched, vertical stems to carry over the texture. Being decidious, these plants have a lovely fall leaf display also. Our Cityline Hydrangea line falls into this category with a variety of colors and plants to choose from, like the Cityline Rio, shown at left.
The flower color of some of these hydrangeas depend on the pH of the soil. Although there are many exceptions, a certain pH will result in blue flowers or pink flowers. Bigleaf hydrangeas need a moist but well-drained spot in your garden. Full sun to part shade is necessary with more shade being necessary in the South. Do any pruning immediately after flowering; this shrub flowers on the previous season’s growth, though there are some exceptions. Generally these plants are hardy to zone 5.
Panicle hydrangeas are reliable bloomers, low maintenance, hardy hydrangeas. Since they bloom on new growth each summer, there is no chance for the flower buds to be damaged by winter cold because they simply haven’t been formed yet. The result is a show of gorgeous blooms every year from mid to late summer well into fall. Often they can be large and even trained into a tree type form. Hardy to zone 3. Here at Lots of Plants, we carry the Limelight Hydrangea and the Little Lime Hydrangea plants that fall into this category.
These easy to grow hydrangeas are recommended for full sun to part shade. Full sun can only be tolerated with regularly moist but well drained soil. Blooms occurs on new wood, so plants may be pruned back close to the ground in late winter to revitalize and to encourage vigorous stem growth and best form. If not pruned back, any damaged stems can be removed in early spring. The Incrediball Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub with a rounded habit which can grow approximate 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Large blooms – sometimes up to 12″ across – occur in June for up to two month. With sturdier stems than the more widely known ‘Annabelle’, Incrediball is a lovely example of a smooth hydrangea.
Beginning slowly and establishing a shrub type habit, these vines become vigorous by producing long stems or aerial roots. Foliage is thick and green and in summer, covered with white lacecap blooms. This strong hydrangea needs no trellis and climbs walls with ease. Growing 30 to 80 feet, it can still be trimmed to shorter heights. Being deciduous, it shades walls in summer and lets the sun warm them during winter, thus helping to conserve energy. Climbing Hydrangeas bloom on new growth and are hardy zone 3 to 7.
Very similar to the Bigleaf Hydrangeas, this group was formerly grouped with lacecap hydrangea due to its flat flower heads. Generally it is a more compact plant with smaller flowers and leaves, with a weeping habit. Blooming on old wood, it is best to trim only when necessary. Plants are hardy down to zone 5. The Tuff Stuff series of these kinds of hydrangeas are a well know variety.
The Oakleaf hydrangea is one of the few hydrangeas native to the United States The Oakleaf hydrangea is a dramatic, white-blooming shrub with four seasons of interest. It blooms best in areas where summers are somewhat hot, but it is winter hardy farther north. Plants are generally less picky about soil and environment. The Oakleaf gets its name from the shape of its beautiful large leaves. These leaves often turn colors of brilliant red, orange, yellow and burgundy in the fall if planted in a sunny location with a little afternoon shade. The Gatsby series is a popular variety of this hydrangea.