Hydrangeas are one of the most loved flowers around. It's easy to see why: They feature big, beautiful blooms and fit well in a variety of garden styles, from country and cottage to formal. The white-flowering shrub Wedding Gown Hydrangea macrophylla, also known as 'Dancing Snow', was introduced in North America just a few years ago. Because of its incredibly full blooms, this flowering shade shrub has already become incredibly popular with gardeners across North America. It's unique in that it offers double flowers and is a reblooming shrub.
Hardy in Zones 5-10, Wedding Gown hydrangea prefers light shade and rich, well-drained soil; unlike some hydrangeas, the soil's pH does not affect the flower color. It will also do fine in conditions with a little morning sunshine, as long as there is shade in the afternoon. This dwarf flowering shrub stays fairly compact, reaching just 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall. This white flowering shrub is also fairly disease free when planted in the right conditions.
A closer look at this shade-friendly flowering shrub is all it takes to understand the name: A modified lacecap hydrangea, Wedding Gown hydrangea has brilliantly clear, pure white flowers, with a lacecap form and a center that fills in as well. The effect of this flowering shrub -- with an outer ring of large double flowers and smaller double rings of flowers in the center -- ends up resembling a mini bridal bouquet. The foliage is naturally dark green, creating a striking contrast. Flowering begins in late spring or early summer and continues until fall; deadheading the plant encourages more blooms.
As with most hydrangea planting, establishing Wedding Gown hydrangea is fairly easy. Dig the hole twice as wide as the size of the root ball; add organic matter into the soil and fill in the hole. Cover with mulch and keep well watered until the dwarf flowering shrub becomes established.
It's rather easy to move this plant should you want to place it in a different spot in your garden. To transplant Wedding Gown hydrangea, simply dig out the entire root ball and give it plenty of water during and after the move to ease the transplant shock.
This dwarf flowering shrub blooms on new wood, so you can do pruning in early spring, before growth begins. Branches can be left up during winter -- as can any remaining blooms -- to add texture and visual interest. But avoid cutting back Wedding Gown hydrangea in the fall. In addition, in autumn the branches of Wedding Gown hydrangea turn a rich burgundy color, which adds an unexpected and welcome contrast to other shrubs and bushes in the garden.
Wedding Gown hydrangea blooms work well in bouquets; add complementary blooms in pink and purple or even rich green foliage. The dried blooms, which turn a pretty khaki color, also work well in hydrangea bouquets.
Since Wedding Gown hydrangea is a dwarf flowering shrub, it makes a bigger impact when planted with several -- three or five, for example -- of them together. To complement these flowering shade shrubs, try hostas or astilbes for color and leaf contrast. Or go with other reblooming hydrangeas, such as Endless Summer, to add color contrasts.