Hydrangea

Known for their beautiful blossoms, these shrubs can fill your yard with color all summer long.

Mophead Hydrangea

Macrophylla—also known as mophead—varieties are what people most commonly associate with hydrangeas. These varieties are the large, rounded clusters of blue, pink, and white blooms. Mophead hydrangeas fall into two categories: old wood or new wood. Old wood bloomers produce their spring flowers in the fall. In the north, winters tend to be too harsh and will kill off these flower buds. New wood bloomers produce buds on new growth in the spring. Newer varieties of mopheads, like 'Endless Summer,' are a combination of the two.

Mopheads are also easily affected by soil pH. If you plant a blue hydrangea in the ground, alkaline soils will slowly change new blooms to purple or pink. If blue is your color, add soil acidifiers to the ground around your plants to keep them that color.

Panicle Hydrangea

Paniculata, or panicle, hydrangeas are less picky than mopheads. These plants are typically larger in stature, and blooms are cone-shaped rather than round. Panicle hydrangeas are also new wood bloomers, so you won't need to worry about winter hardiness. Soil pH doesn't affect panicle hydrangeas. Most bloom white and, as nights get colder, the flowers will fade to pink or even red. Plant panicle hydrangeas in full sun.

Smooth Hydrangea

Arborescens, or smooth hydrangeas, are similar to mopheads in round flower shape, but are made of smaller individual flowers. These shrubs are more shade tolerant than the other types and have thinner arching stems. Smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned back to the ground each spring. Flower color is generally white or cream and will fade to green as the blooms age. Pink-blooming smooth hydrangeas have been released.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Quercifolia, or oakleaf hydrangea, is seeing a surge in use. These rugged shrubs love the shade and make great woodland plants. As the nights cool in the fall, the large leaves turn a deep burgundy color. Prune oakleaf hydrangeas back after blooms have faded, as they are old wood bloomers.

If you're growing a new wood bloomer, prune it back in spring before new growth starts. If you're growing an old wood variety, prune after the blooms have faded.

More Varieties Of Hydrangea

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Hydrangea Overview

Description Hydrangeas can flourish in sun or shade. Huge bouquets of hydrangea flowers, which vary from mophead to lacecap types, show beauty from summer to fall. Varieties of hydrangea differ in size, flower shape, color, and bloom time.
Genus Name Hydrangea
Common Name Hydrangea
Plant Type Shrub
Light Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 2 to 12 feet
Flower Color Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Chartreuse/Gold
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Leaf Cuttings, Stem Cuttings
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'Annabelle' Hydrangea

annabelle hydrangrea surrounding patio table
Carol Freeman

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' is a compact variety native to areas of eastern North America. It features large clusters of flowers resembling snowballs. Zones 4-9.

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'Big Daddy' Hydrangea

purple big daddy hydrangea bloom
Lynn Karlin

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Big Daddy' features some of the largest flowers of any hydrangea. The plant has strong stems, making the blooms good for cutting. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Bits of Lace' Hydrangea

bits of lace hydrangea blooms
King Au

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bits of Lace' is a lacecap variety with large white, star-shaped florets blushed with pink. It also bears dark green foliage and grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Black-Stem' Hydrangea

black stem hydrangea blooms
David Speer

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Black-Stem' is a distinct selection with clusters of blue or pink mophead flowers on rich purple-black stems. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Bluebird' Hydrangea

bluebird hydrangea blooms
Dean Schoeppner

Hydrangea serrata 'Bluebird' is a lacecap type with deep blue clustered fertile flowers surrounded by pale blue sterile flowers. This variety also features fall leaf colors in red. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Blue Bonnet' Hydrangea

blue bonnet hydrangea blooms
Mary Carolyn Pindar

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blue Bonnet' offers rich periwinkle-blue flowerheads on a plant that grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Blue Bunny' Hydrangea

blue bunny hydrangea blooms
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea involucrata 'Blue Bunny' is a reblooming lacecap with blue flowers from midsummer to frost. It grows 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Cityline Berlin' Hydrangea

cityline berlin hydrangea blooms
King Au

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Cityline Berlin' shows off large, long-lasting pink flower clusters on stiff, upright stems. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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Endless Summer 'Bella Anna' Hydrangea

endless summer bella anna hydrangea blooms
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea arborescens 'Bella Anna' offers large heads of pink flowers from early summer to autumn on a compact shrub that likes full sun to part shade. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

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'Cityline Paris' Hydrangea

cityline paris hydrangea blooms
King Au

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Cityline Paris' is great for small spaces, thanks to its upright stems and compact habit. The long-lasting fuchsia-pink flowers fade to green. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

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Endless Summer 'Bailmer' Hydrangea

endless summer bailmer hydrangea
Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer' blooms continuously from summer through fall, producing clear pink, dusky lavender, or blue blooms, depending on the aluminum level in the soil. It bears flowers on both old and new growth. Zones 4-9.

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Endless Summer 'Bloomstruck' Hydrangea

endless summer bloomstruck hydrangea
Kritsada Panichgul

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bloomstruck' or 'PIIHM-II' is an improved version of the original Endless Summer hydrangea. Compared to the original, it has bigger blooms, sturdier plants, and red stems. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Zones 4-9.

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Endless Summer 'Blushing Bride' Hydrangea

endless summer blushing bride hydrangea
Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blushing Bride' offers semidouble flowers that open white, then gradually blush to a light pink as they age. The blooms appear on new and old growth all summer and fall. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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Endless Summer 'Twist-n-Shout' Hydrangea

endless summer twist n shout hydrangea blooms
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Twist-n-Shout' is a reblooming lacecap with pink or blue flowers from June to frost. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

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'Forever Pink' Hydrangea

forever pink hydrangea blooms
Al Teufen

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever Pink' bears extra large clusters of pink flowers on vigorous plants that grow 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Gatsby Star' Hydrangea

gatsby star hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Gatsby Star' has double star-shaped blooms on wonderful oak leaf foliage that ages to burgundy in the fall. It grows from 6 to 8 feet tall. Zones 5-9.

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'Incrediball' Hydrangea

incrediball hydrangea blooms
Andre Baranowski

Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball' offers especially large, pure white bloom clusters on sturdy stems. It blooms on new wood and resists flopping. It grows 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 3-9.

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'Invincibelle Spirit II' Hydrangea

invincibelle spirit II hydrangea
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA2' is an improved version of the first pink arborescens hydrangea. Pink blooms in summer fade to a pleasant green. Stiff stems don't flop. This variety grows 3-4 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-9.

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'Lemon Wave' Hydrangea

hydrangea macrophylla lemon wave
Getty Images

This 'Lemon Wave' variety of Hydrangea macrophylla is prized for its wildly variegated foliage. Each leaf is painted with strokes of white and yellow. It bears blue or pink lacecap flowers on last year's stems and grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Lanarth White' Hydrangea

lanarth white hydrangea blooms
Bill Stites

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lanarth White' is a longtime favorite lacecap variety. Its large flower clusters are faintly blushed with blue or pink. The variety grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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Let's Dance 'Starlight' Hydrangea

lets dance starlight hydrangea blooms
King Au

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Starlight' is a reblooming lacecap variety with blue or pink flowers, dark green foliage, and a compact habit. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Light O' Day' Hydrangea

light o day hydrangea blooms
Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Light O' Day' features green leaves festively edged in white. It bears flattened lacecap-type flowers in shades of blue. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Pink Shira' Hydrangea

pink shira hydrangea blooms
Peter Krumhardt

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pink Shira' features strong stems and lime-green buds that become rich pink or lavender flowers. It grows 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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'PeeGee' Hydrangea

peegee hydrangea blooms
Bill Stites

Hydrangea paniculata 'PeeGee' is a vigorous shrub or small tree for full sun that can grow up to 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It bears clusters of white flowers in summer that fade to shades of rose or green before turning beige in winter. Zones 4-8.

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'Limelight' Hydrangea

limelight hydrangea blooms
Dean Schoeppner

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' is a sun-loving selection with large green flowers midsummer into autumn. The blooms deepen to pink in cool weather. It grows 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 3-8.

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Oakleaf Hydrangea

oakleaf hydrangea blooms
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea quercifolia is native to areas of North America and bears snowy cone-shape flowers in summer, but the real attractions are the large, scalloped leaves that redden in autumn. It grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Pinky Winky' Hydrangea

pinky winky hydrangea blooms
Bob Stefko

Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky' provides a brilliant display of softly fragrant white flowers that fade to pink in mid to late summer. It grows 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8.

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'Rosalba' Hydrangea

rosalba hydrangea blooms
Emily Followill

Hydrangea serrata 'Rosalba' is a pink lacecape-type that grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

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Rough-Leaf Hydrangea

rough-leaf hydrangea blooms
Mike Jensen

Hydrangea villosa shows off long, narrow fuzzy leaves and lacecap flowers in late summer and autumn. It grows 12 feet tall and wide. Zones 7-9.

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'Snowflake' Oakleaf Hydrangea

snowflake oakleaf hydrangea blooms

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' displays showy double florets that fade to rosy pink before turning brown in autumn. The leaves feature wonderful shades of red and purple in fall. It grows 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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'Tardiva' Hydrangea

tardiva hydrangea blooms
Greg Ryan

Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva' is a sun-loving, white-flowering variety with large clusters of white blooms. It grows 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 4-8.

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'Sun Goddess' Hydrangea

sun goddess hydrangea blooms
Dency Kane

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess' shows off bright golden-chartreuse foliage and clusters of pink or blue flowers. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

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'Spreading Beauty' Hydrangea

spreading beauty hydrangea blooms
Marty Baldwin

Hydrangea serrata 'Spreading Beauty' is a reblooming lacecap type that bears pinkish or bluish flowers from summer to fall on a low, spreading shrub. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

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'Vaughn's Lillie' Oakleaf Hydrangea

vaughns lillie oakleaf hydrangea
Kim Cornelison

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Vaughn's Lillie' bears large, extra-full flower heads in summer. It's a profuse bloomer that also features great fall color. It grows 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 5-9.

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'White Diamonds' Hydrangea

white diamonds hydrangea blooms
Jane Milliman

Hydrangea paniculata 'White Diamonds' is a sun-loving variety that offers loose clusters of white flowers in midsummer and dark green foliage. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8.

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'White Dome' Hydrangea

white dome hydrangea blooms
Bob Stefko

Hydrangea arborescens 'White Dome' features fluffy lacecap flowers on a hardy, shade-loving plant that grows 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

Garden Plans For Hydrangea

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Easy Summer Shade Garden Plan

garden bed illustration with hydrangea blooms
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This mix of flowering shrubs and perennials will fill your yard with color all summer long—and provide interest in every season.

Click here to get this garden plan!

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Garden Plan for Partial Shade

bench surrounded by plantings hydrangea blooms
Janet Mesic Mackie

This garden plan combines easy, adaptable plants to add color to spots that don't see full sun.

Get this free garden plan now.

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English-Style Front Yard Garden Plan

garden illustration with white fence flowes hydrangeas
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Give your home a welcoming feel with an exuberant cottage garden in the front yard.

Download this plan!

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