HYDRANGEAS – 
Taking Away the Confusion…

This information will help clarify and identify the different groups of hydrangea and varieties within their groups and the proper care. The most important thing to remember is there are different groups of hydrangeas and when choosing one you must understand from which group you are purchasing and the care it will require.

NOTE: This information only deals with the three types of hydrangea grown in our climate.

HYDRANGEA TYPES:

Arborescens (Smoothleaf) – Very winter hardy, sun to shade, prune in fall to early spring.

Macrophylla (Bigleaf/Mophead) – Semi winter hardy, plant in protected area and/or protect in winter. Pruning not recommended.

Paniculata (Panicle) – Very winter hardy, prune in late fall or early spring.

ARBORESCENS:

  • Very hardy Zone 3 and easy to grow, usual size 3-5 ft tall and wide
    Blooms on new wood
  • Does well in sun to almost full shade Prune heavily in the fall after blooms are done
  • Beautiful in mass plantings or as an informal hedge

COMMON VARIETIES:

  • Annabelle – Large round white blooms;
  • Incrediball – Enormous round white blooms, Incrediball Blush has a pinkish hue in the flowers
  • Invincibelle Spirit – Multiple shades of pink on each bloom, Invincibelle Ruby has red-pink blooms and is a shorter variety which grows 2-3 ft tall and wide.

NOTE: These are just a few samples, new varieties are constantly being introduced. Aborescens cannot be changed to blue.

MACROPHYLLA:

Recommend winter protection, Zone 5.
Usual size 3-4 ft tall and wide
Blooms on old and new wood
It is best not to prune these types to avoid removing the fall bud set

A great selection of colors ranges from white, pink, purple, and blue.

Bloom color will widely change depending on soil acidity. To achieve a blue color soil can be amended with aluminum sulfate to lower the

PH. Note: The white variety cannot be changed to blue, only the pink ones can do this.

Best grown in protected part shade areas.

COMMON VARIETIES: There are endless varieties of Machrophylla hydrangea; however, here are a few of the most common series and many color choices within each series. The main difference being the growth size and color ranges.

  • Endless Summer – 3-4 ft tall and wide
  • Cityline – Shorter 1-3 ft tall and wide
  • Everlasting – 2-2.5 ft tall and wide
  • Let’s Dance – 2-3 ft tall and wide, includes lacecap varieties

PANICULATA:

Very hardy Zone 3 or 4, easy to grow.
Blooms on new wood, can be pruned anytime after blooming in fall to early spring
Blooms every year

Best grown in full sun to partial shade
Size greatly depends on variety

Great for dried flower arrangements
Blooms white most varieties turn different shades of pink to red

COMMON VARIETIES:

  • Pee Gee – Can grow up to 10 ft high, large white cone shaped blooms
  • Bobo – Dwarf variety height to only 3 ft tall, covers itself in white blooms
  • Limelight – Grows to 6 ft high, large lime-green cone shaped flowers, turns white to pink in time
  • Quick Fire – Grows to 8 ft high, large cone flowers start white and turn a vivid dark pink
  • Vanilla Strawberry – Grows to 8 ft high, enormous creamy white blooms change to strawberry pink, resembles cotton candy.

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