32 Elegant Hydrangeas Landscaping Design Ideas To Inspire You Now

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Generally, there are four hydrangea types – Hydrangea mycrophylla, which includes mopheads and lace caps (H. mycrophylla normalis); Hydrangea quercifolia, native to the United States; , the ‘Annabelle Hydrangea’; and Hydrangea piniculata, including ‘Peegee’ hydrangea.

Let’s take a closer look at these plants.

Hydrangea mycrophylla –

These plants are hardy up to zone 5b, but need protection from the cold and wind. Zone is the best place for them. This group includes the popular ‘Endless Summer’ long-blooming variety.

These are the least cold hardy hydrangea types, but you might be able to grow them where you have a suitable microclimate that offers protection from rapid freeze-thaw. A good spot might be a south facing wall. Don’t plant in a low area where cold air might collect.

H. mycrophylla are your blue and pink hydrangeas, depending on what type soil you have. An acidic soil yields blue flowers, and an alkaline soil makes pink blooms.

Representative Mophead Varieties –

  • ‘Altona’
  • ‘Forever Pink’
  • ‘Nikko Blue’

Representative Lacecap Varieties –

  • ‘Billow’
  • ‘Lemon Wave’
  • ‘Tokyo Delight’

Hydrangea quercifolia –

Grow the Oak Leaf Hydrangea in light shade in a natural setting. It’s a native understory American shrub that can grow fairly large (I’ve seen one over 2 stories tall in the Athens, Georgia Botanical Gardens). Best through zone 5.

The Oak Leaf Hydrangea has white, cone shaped flowers that bloom heavily in the spring. They like just about any soil, and are fairly drought tolerant, but they don’t like wet feet. H. quercifolia has beautiful rust-colored peeling bark, which gives it great winter interest after the leaves fall.

Representative Varieties –

  • ‘Snowflake’ – summer-long bloom season, with double flowers
  • Snow Queen’ – nice single flower form
  • ‘Harmony’ – very full, heavy flowers that may hang to the ground
  • ‘Sikes Dwarf’ – a dwarf form that works great in shade gardens

Hydrangea arborescens –

This group includes the ‘Annabelle’ variety, an outstanding cold hardy selection. It has a rounded, wide white flower that may be hardy as far north as zone 3a, but also perfect for southern climes.

Representative Varieties –

  • ‘Annabelle’ – very wide (up to 10″ or more), spectacular white bloom. Can be cut back severely and come back with prolific flower production.

Hydrangea paniculata –

These wonderful hydrangea types can grow up to zone 3a – they’re very cold hardy. But they love most any climate. They have a white flower that shades to a blush pink as they age, and like living in the sun. Another plus – they tolerate pruning well, and can actually be pruned into a tree form.

Be careful in siting the paniculatas, as they can grow to 10′ or more – not your best foundation plant, but maybe a good bet for anchoring a corner of the house.

Representative Varieties –

  • ‘Grandiflora’ – “Peegee” hydrangea
  • ‘Limelight’ – cone shaped lime colored flowers fading to white

For full-blooming, colorful flowering shrubs, the above hydrangea types can’t be beat. North or South, hydrangeas are perfect plants for your garden.


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