Choosing Hydrangeas for Your Garden
Hydrangeas have an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Not only are they beautiful, they are easy to cultivate and are long blooming. They can be used for group plantings, as shrub borders, in containers and as cut flowers.
The level of acidity in the soil affects the flower color of blue and pink varieties, especially in the mophead and lacecap. The more acidic, the bluer the bloom and the less acidic the pinker the bloom. Add soil sulfur or aluminum sulfate for bluer flowers and dolomitic lime for pinker ones. White flowers are not affected by the pH in the soil. It’s important to note that color correction takes weeks, even months. It is easier to change blue flowers to pink than vice versa. Wait until the plant is at least two years old to attempt color changing.
We love all hydrangeas but some stand out a little bit more than others. Here are our favorite hydrangeas for sun, reblooming hydrangeas for long-lasting color, and shade. All prefer moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter so be sure to amend your soil with compost, peat moss or something similar. You can plant them in the spring or the fall but they are not drought tolerant so be sure to water in the first two years after planting and during any dry times.
Best Hydrangeas for the Sun
Limelight Hydrangea: Limelight Hydrangea is a slightly more compact, easy to care for, panicle hydrangea cultivar developed by Proven Winners. Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' typically grows to 6-8’ feet tall and as wide. It is known for producing sizeable cone-shaped lime colored flowers.
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea: Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea has giant 10" blooms that appear in mid-summer and begin a pristine white. Two weeks later they turn a blush pink before changing to a dark rose color!
Reblooming Hydrangeas for Lasting Color
Best Hydrangeas for Shade
Munchkin Oakleaf Hydrangea: Munchkin Oakleaf Hydrangea Hydrangea is an exceptional cultivar introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum. Compact and well-suited for smaller landscape, in groups or as a hedge.
Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangea: Hydrangea Snow Queen is a cultivar produces 8-inch-long, conical flower heads from early summer on. It is as notable for its distinct, deeply lobed leaves as for its reliably showy, creamy blooms. The foliage produces outstanding fall color and the flowers take on purplish-pink hues when dried.