The 12 Showiest Lacecap and Mophead Hydrangeas for Your Garden

Endless Summer 'Bloomstruck' Hydrangea flowers
Photo: Kritsada Panichgul

Hydrangea flowers fall into one of two groups: mophead and lacecap. Both make beautiful additions to your garden. Here's a look at some of the most colorful varieties, and how to care for them so they'll produce the most blooms possible.

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Blue mophead hydrangea
Emily Followill Photography

Mophead hydrangeas offer big, dome-shaped clusters of florets in blue, pink, or white. Most bloom in late spring or early summer. Their flower heads often dry right on the plant and continue looking good into winter. Mopheads grow best in a spot with moist, well-drained soil and a bit of afternoon shade.

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Big Daddy

'Big Daddy' hydrangea
Lynn Karlin Photography

One of the showiest mophead hydrangeas you can grow, 'Big Daddy' is a variety of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) that features huge, 14-inch-wide clusters of blue or pink blooms. The long-lasting flowers are great for cutting, since they have such strong stems. The large flowers, however, can cause the stems to flop if you grow the plant in extra-rich soil or too much shade. It grows six feet tall and wide in Zones 5–9.

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Pink Shira

Pink Shira hydrangea
Peter Krumhardt

A relatively new bigleaf hydrangea variety with mophead flowers, 'Pink Shira' is a variety of Hydrangea macrophylla with strong stems, compact habit, and long-lasting blooms. Its flowers start out a lovely shade of lime green, then turn pink or lavender (this one doesn't go blue). It grows five feet tall and six feet wide in Zones 5–9.

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Cityline Paris

Cityline Paris hydrangea
Studio Au King

'Cityline Paris' is another recent mophead introduction that stands out, thanks to its upright stems and compact habit. It features bright fuchsia-pink flowers that last a long time before fading to a lovely shade of green. It grows three feet tall and three feet wide in Zones 5–9.

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Cityline Mars

close up of bicolored hydrangea flowers
Courtesy of Proven Winners

A sister to 'Cityline Paris,' 'Cityline Mars' offers the same tight habit and strong stems. The flowers on this mophead are bicolored with white and either deep blue—in acidic soil—or magenta in more alkaline soil. It grows three feet tall and three feet wide in Zones 5–9.

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Black-Stem Hydrangea

Black-stem hydrangea
David Speer

Black-stem hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nigra') has beautiful mophead flowers, but as its name suggests, the stems are what stand out most. They're a dark purple-black color that contrasts with the green foliage and pastel blue or pink blooms. It grows six feet tall and wide in Zones 6–9.

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Lacecap hydrangea
Bryan E. McCay

Lacecap hydrangeas give the garden a more delicate look. Instead of producing large rounded clusters of showy florets, they form a flower head composed of a ring of colorful florets surrounding a lacy cluster of small florets. When it comes to lacecap care, they have similar needs as their mophead cousins.

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'Lanarth White'

Lanarth White' hydrangea

Considered one of the best lacecaps, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lanarth White' shows off large clusters of white florets faintly brushed with blue or pink. Stiff stems keep the spectacular flowers standing upright. 'Lanarth White' grows four feet tall and wide in Zones 5–9.

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Rough-Leaf Hydrangea

Rough-Leaf hydrangea
Mike Jensen

Rough-leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea villosa) are a favorite of gardeners in areas of the South and Northwest and are a little more unique in appearance than your average lacecap. They feature long, narrow, hairy foliage and bloom in late summer and fall. They're also much larger, growing to 12 feet tall and wide in Zones 7–9.

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Hydrangea 'Light-O-Day'
Studio Au King

You'll love this hydrangea's beautiful foliage, even when it doesn't bloom. 'Light-O-Day' is a Hydrangea macrophylla variety that features rich green foliage broadly edged in white. Its white lacecap blooms are an attractive complement. 'Mariesii Variegata' offers white-edged foliage as well, and 'Lemon Wave' features a wide band of mottled white, cream, and yellow around the leaves. This shrub grows five feet tall and wide in Zones 5–9.

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Reblooming Hydrangeas

Several clusters of pink hydrangea blooms surrounded by green leaves
Courtesy of White Flower Farm

A handful of mophead and lacecap hydrangeas have the ability to produce flowers on new growth and tend to rebloom throughout the summer and into fall. They're a good choice for gardeners in Northern regions, because you don't need to worry about cold temperatures killing the flower buds in winter.

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Endless Summer

Endless Summer Blue Hydrangea macrophylla
Erica George Dines

'Endless Summer' hydrangea is one of the most famous rebloomers. Introduced in 2004, it allows gardeners in Northern climates to enjoy hydrangeas. It features big mophead clusters of blue or pink flowers and grows five feet tall and wide in Zones 4–9. There's also a lacecap version available; it's called 'Twist-n-Shout.'

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Blue Bunny

Blue Bunny hydrangea
Marty Baldwin

This pretty variety of Hydrangea involucrata shows off blue clusters of lacecap flowers from midsummer to frost. 'Blue Bunny' is a strong grower with slightly hairy foliage and unique acorn-shaped flower buds. It grows four feet tall and wide in Zones 6–9.

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Let's Dance Starlight

Let's Dance Starlight hydrangea
Studio Au King

This lacecap hydrangea variety produces showy flowers for months. It also has rich, dark green foliage and a compact habit. 'Let's Dance Starlight' grows three feet tall and wide in Zones 5–9.

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About Flower Color

Pink Hydrangea
Alise O'Brien Photography

Some varieties of both mopheads and lacecaps are sensitive to soil pH, and the blooms reflect this. In acidic soils, flowers tend to be blue. In more alkaline soils, blooms tend be more pink. So as you learn how to care for your hydrangeas, know that if you'd like to change the color of your blooms, you'll have to add soil sulfur for more blue, or add lime for more pink.

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About Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage
Marty Baldwin

Mophead and lacecap varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla typically feature attractive fall foliage in shades of red and burgundy. The colors vary from type to type, so if a fall show is important to you, shop in autumn or research which selections produce the best color at the end of the growing season.

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'Annabelle' Hydrangea

Hydrangea 'Annabelle'
Emily Followill Photography

'Annabelle' hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') produces huge snowy-white mophead flowers. For that, it's sometimes called snowball hydrangea. The flower heads don't change color, nut they're among the biggest you'll find on a hydrangea. 'Annabelle' blooms on new wood, so the best time to prune it is in late winter or early spring. It grows five feet tall and wide in Zones 4–9.

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