Growing the right plant in the right place is the first step to enjoying a more beautiful garden or landscape. When sited in a spot where it is happy, virtually every plant will be more carefree. More so than in a spot where it does not favor the growing conditions. This is especially true for Hydrangeas. With a wealth of beautiful Hydrangea types and varieties available, we help you select the right one for your garden.
You Want a Hydrangea for Sun
Hydrangea paniculata varieties prefer all-day sun in most areas. They enjoy some afternoon shade in intensely hot-summer areas. Most bloom in mid-to-late summer and continue into early autumn. All have white flowers, though the blossoms on many newer varieties pick up pink tones as they age. If left on the plant in winter, the flower heads fade to a parchment color, adding seasonal interest.
Note: Hydrangea paniculata varieties are among the hardiest of all hydrangeas. This makes them excellent choices for gardeners in the Northern regions.
Hydrangea paniculata varieties below 6 feet tall
Huge clusters of beautiful, creamy-green flowers that age to a pure white. A smaller version of the popular Limelight Hydrangea. Extra-sturdy stems do not flop. Up to 5' tall and wide. Zones 4-8.
A gorgeous panicle hydrangea in a compact form. This summertime showstopper has flower clusters that open white and quickly mature to a soft, rosy pink. Up to 5' tall, 4' wide. Zones 4-8.
Hydrangea paniculata varieties taller than 6 feet
A large, vigorous panicle hydrangea that adds color to the landscape when few plants are in bloom. Flower clusters can reach 10" long, and open white, then mature to rose pink. Up to 12' tall and 10' wide. Zones 4-8.
Earning its name for its early bloom season, Quick Fire blooms about a month before other hardy hydrangea types. Features loose, open flower heads that start white and go pink in summer. 8' tall and wide. Zones 3-9.
You Want a Hydrangea Type for Shade
Many gardeners consider Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) the classic type. These hybrids offer globe-shaped flower heads in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. In most areas, Bigleaf Hydrangeas thrive in part or filtered shade, especially in the hot hours of the day. Reblooming varieties continue to produce beautiful flowers on and off all summer and into autumn. On current stems and those from the previous year. Varieties that do not rebloom make their flower buds in late summer. They bloom in late spring or early summer of the next year.
Compact Hydrangea Types
The Seaside Serenade® collection is a line of beautiful, reblooming hydrangeas bred to stay small. They are perfect for garden beds and borders, as well as containers. They feature thick stems, leaves, and flowers. This keeps them standing straight even in rainy and windy weather. It prevents them from looking wilted in hot, windy conditions. It also makes them long-lasting cut flowers.
Seaside Serenade® Hydrangea varieties look as beautiful in the landscape as they do when cut for bouquets. Because the large petal-like bracts are extra-thick, individual flower heads can last three months or more on the plant. Most Seaside Serenade® varieties go through a shift in colors as the flowers age, maturing to an antique, parchment-like shade.
The thickness of the bracts also makes these varieties good for drying. The process is simple: Cut the flowers and hang them upside down in a warm, dry place for several weeks.
Ideal for adding a burst of color to partly shaded gardens, it reblooms all season with big, globe-shaped flowers. The blossoms range from blue to pink depending on soil pH. 4' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.
This eye-catching variety shows off big, ruby-red flower clusters that are unique. They do not shift in color as soil pH changes. It blooms from late spring to early autumn. 3½' tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
An elegantly beautiful variety, its globe-shaped flowerheads emerge soft green, open white, then blush pink as they age. In autumn, its foliage picks up festive bronze coloration. 3½' tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
Bearing double blue, purple, or pink lacecap flowers (depending on soil pH), it reblooms from spring to autumn. This Hydrangea serrata variety is less likely to suffer stem dieback in cold climates. 3½' tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
An exceptionally beautiful bicolor variety, its white flowers are dramatically edged in a rich, rosy-red color. Its deep-green foliage emerges burgundy in spring and turns maroon in autumn, adding to the show. 3½'tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
This selection shows off large, bright pink flowers edged in darker pink from late spring. They rebloom in summer and fall. Come autumn, its lush foliage turns a rich purple-red color. 3½' tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
Long-lasting, big clusters of bright pink blooms (even in acidic soils) on sturdy stems make sumptuous cut flowers. Plus it reblooms throughout summer and autumn. 3½' tall and 3' wide. Zones 4-9.
An outstanding cut flower, its big flower clusters range from blue-violet to deep pink, depending on soil pH. Like other varieties in the collection, it reblooms all summer and into the autumn. 4' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.
This beauty offers lacecap-style flowers that range from blue to pink, depending on soil pH. An gorgeous repeat bloomer from late spring through autumn. 4' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.
Companion plants for compact hydrangeas like Seaside Serenade®
Seaside Serenade® Hydrangea varieties pair beautifully with other classic shade-garden plants.
- Extend the season by pairing them with early-spring-blooming shrubs and perennials such as:
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra), Camellia, Columbine (Aquilegia), Blue Corydalis, Hellebore (Helleborus), and Lungwort (Pulmonaria).
- Contrast their mounding form with upright plants such as:
Astilbe, Foxglove (Digitalis), Snakeroot (Actaea), or Variegated Acanthus (Acanthus ‘Whitewater’).
- Complement these Hydrangeas with plants that have attractive foliage for spring-to-fall beauty. Some of our favorites include:
Camouflage® Japanese Aralia (Fatsia), Coral Bells (Heuchera), Hosta, and Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’).
- Add year-round structure to your shade garden by pairing Seaside Serenade® Hydrangeas with shade-tolerant evergreens such as:
Hemlock (Tsuga), Liriope, Pieris, Rhododendron, and Sweet Box (Sarcococca).
Hydrangea varieties that grow larger than 4 feet tall
A rebloomer with blue or pink flowers depending on soil pH. Striking dark-red stems add even more garden interest. Flowers age to a vintage cream-splashed green. 5' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.
Unique or Rare Hydrangea Varieties
Get a different look than the traditional blue, pink, or white mopheads with one (or more!) of these distinctive and truly unique hydrangea types.
Brilliant white lacecap blooms spark against the dark black stems. Reblooms all summer and into fall. This compact variety is perfect for massing in landscape or use in containers. 3' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.
This Bigleaf selection stands out from the crowd. Its pure white blooms are double, giving it a fuller, frillier look than other varieties. It reblooms on and off through the summer. 3' tall and 5' wide. Zones 5-9.
Rich purple foliage looks good from spring to fall. In summer, it shows off pinkish-purple lacecap-style blooms. It is a selection of Hydrangea aspera. 6' tall and wide. Zones 7-10.
Hydrangea Types Native to North America
Two common types of hydrangea, Oakleaf (H. quercifolia) and Smooth (H. arborescens) are native to areas of Eastern North America. Both types prefer shaded or partially shaded sites and feature clusters of pure white flowers. Smooth Hydrangea varieties bear round flower clusters. Oakleaf Hydrangea varieties bear cone-shaped clusters.
Its large bloom clusters open pure white, but then quickly age to deep pink, adding beauty to the shaded garden. Its leaves add fall interest when they transform to lush shades of mahogany and purple. 3½' tall and 5' wide. Zones 5-9.
More compact than the Annabelle variety, but with larger flowers. Like other Seaside Serenade® varieties, its stems stay standing straight. It blooms throughout the summer. 4' tall and wide. Zones 3-8.
Loved for its extra-large, dense, white flowers that develop a rosy hue in fall. Fabulous fall color continues when the leaves turn reddish-bronze. 5' tall and 6' wide. Zones 5-9.
You Want a Climbing Hydrangea
One species of Hydrangea (H. anomala) breaks the mold. Rather than being a self-supporting shrub, it climbs walls, fences, and other structures. Climbing Hydrangea appreciates a shaded or partly shaded spot and blooms in summer with lacecap-style flowers. While it grows quickly once established, it may take several years to get settled in the landscape. (Sometimes testing a gardener's patience.)
A vigorous and showy vine that can climb to 50' or more, clinging to surfaces with aerial rootlets. Slowly grows with a shrubby habit until established, and then takes off with long, fast-growing stems. Lush foliage is covered with magnificent, white lacecap blooms in summer. Stems can reach 50-80' long. Zones 5-9.