While there are approximately 23 species of Hydrangea grown throughout the world, only six are widely cultivated in the U.S. New varieties are being introduced frequently, but not all varieties are always available.
Hydrangea macrophylla is the most popular species. It is commonly known as bigleaf, French, garden, or florist’s hydrangea. It produces large inflorescences of white, pink or blue flowers in early summer. As with most other hydrangea species, the inflorescence is composed of a combination of both large, showy flowers, and small, inconspicuous flowers. Most varieties in this species are hardy to zone 5. This species has the most cultivated varieties available to choose from, and can give the showiest results in your home garden.
‘Endless Summer’ An exciting hydrangea that flowers on new wood to extend color throughout the season. Dead head promptly for repeat blooming. Clear-blue, mophead blooms, Endless Summer that may turn pink in alkaline soils, are 8 in. in diameter. Deep green foliage is lush and mildew resistant. It is an excellent, cold hardy addition to any yard. It likes shade or part shade. It is moderate growing, about 3 to 5 ft. tall and wide. Zone 4 to 9.
‘Endless Summer – Blushing Bride’ Semi-double florets form large, white mopheads that gradually mature to soft pink. Remove spent flowers to have repeat blooms from spring to fall. Cut emerging spring growth back by half to increase the number of blooms. Sturdy shrub 3 to 6 ft. tall and wide. Plant in filtered sun and keep the soil surface moist, but not soggy. Zone 5-9
‘Pinky Winky’ Large summer flowers bloom reliably every year. Flowers open white and change to pink, with new white flowers appearing on the same panicle as older pink flowers. Distinctive bi-colored panicles. Soil pH does not affect bloom color.. It can grow 6ft to 8ft tall and wide. It will grow in sun or partial sun Good in groupings and mass plantings. Zones 3 – 9
‘Limelight’ has unique bright chartreuse blooms in mid-summer, late July – early August, that hold bright and refreshing color right into autumn when the blooms change color to a rich deep pink. The autumn display of chartreuse and pink blooms on the same plant is breathtaking! This is an easy to grow plant with reliable flowering and flower color regardless of soil pH. The flower heads are of good size, ranging from 6 to 12 inches and are held upright on the shrub. It grows 6 to 8 feet high and wide with age. It can be easily maintained as a smaller plant, or trained into a small tree. Zone 3 -8
‘Venice Raven’ The natural dwarf habit of this hydrangea is compact and dense, with far more flowering stems than most others. Venice Raven is an attention-getter with giant fuchsia blooms and fresh, attractive green foliage. It grows 1 to 3 feet high and wide. The flowers open pale pink, then darken to a rich, hard-to-find shade of bright fuschia. Very showy for cut flowers, and simply covering the plant if left in place. It begins blooming in early summer and continues until autumn, for a huge show of color in a very small space. Zones 5-9.
‘Berlin Rabe’ offers the strongest growth and largest flower heads yet on dwarf plants. Its rosy-pink blooms are held in large snowballs of brilliant color on plants less than 3 feet high. It is ideal for containers, the front of the shrub border, or other ‘tight spaces’. Berlin Rabe is a magnificent shrub, mildew resistant and just 12 to 32 inches high and 3 to 4 feet wide. The clear pink flowers are exceptionally long-lasting as well, turning green with maturity. Zone 5-9
‘Vienna Rawi’ The natural dwarf habit of this hydrangea is well-branched and dense, with far more flowering stems than most other dwarf varieties. It is small enough for containers or any tight spot. Vienna Rawi grabs the eye with giant pink or blue blooms, each starred with a cream-colored center that gradually matures to solid pink or blue. Just 2 to 3 feet high and wide. The flowers are unusually large in proportion to the size of the plant, which makes them look positively huge! Perfect for cutting for fresh or dried arrangements, held upright (no flopping!) on very strong, thick bloom stems. The blossoms begin in late spring and continue into summer. Vienna Rawi needs protection from the harsh afternoon sun. It is carefree and easy, never needing a trim, to keep its naturally dwarf form! Zones 5-9.
‘Rio’ has made hydrangea growing accessible to small gardens, patios and porches, and northern climates (where it may be overwintered in a frost-free location). Rio is a stocky, very well-branched little shrub, reaching just 2 to 3 feet high and wide. And unlike its size, its flowers are full size, each floret starred with a pale green eye and base that shades into blue or purple. As the florets mature, the green recedes. In acidic soils, Rio is one of the most intense and strongest blue Hydrangeas on the market. Rio blooms a bit earlier than many other Hydrangea, starting in earliest summer and continuing all season. The blooms arise on strong stems, refusing to flop. They are great for cutting, and make long-lasting fresh or dried arrangements. The foliage stays handsome even in hot, humid climates, resisting the mildew that plagues many Hydrangea varieties. Zones 5-9.
‘Paris’ is a dream come true for hydrangea lovers worldwide! It is a compact hydrangea. It produces lovely rose -pink blooms and is ideal even for small gardens! Paris produces its showy, deep pink flowers on a dwarf, 3 ft tall shrub that has a very nice tight
and sturdy habit. It never needs to be pruned. Paris holds bloom color well into the fall and is beautiful for use as a
cut (fresh or dried) flower. Zone 5-9
‘Ayesha’ Popular, deciduous shrub prized for its large, rounded clusters of spoon-shaped, mauve-pink flowers in summer. Glossy, heavily textured, deep green leaves compliment blooms. It thrives in protected areas. Ideal as a showy accent plant or group for stunning effect. This is a superb shrub for planting under the filtered light of shade trees. Remove a few old stems each summer to keep the plant renewed. Partial sun. Moderate- growing to 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Zone 6-9
‘Lady in Red’ An outstanding lacecap that blooms pinkish white and deepens to burgundy red as florets mature. Unique maroon stems and leaf venation. Autumn color in vivid purple tints for end of the season show. A three season performer for mixed beds and borders. Exceptional for foundations and shaded sites. Perfect for containers. Part shade. Fast growing 3 to 5 feet tall and as wide. Zone 6 to 9
‘Lanarth White Lacecap’ Spectacular lacecap bloom has a ring of sterile white florets surrounding a large cluster of pink to blue fertile flowers. Broadly rounded form effective in mass plantings or large containers. Partial sun. Fast grower to 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. Cutting grown. Zone 5 to 9
‘All Summer Beauty’ This prolific flowering compact shrub bears large, ball-shaped clusters of pink and blue shades in neutral soil and rich blue flowers in an acid soil. The green foliage provides a lush back-ground to the opulent blooms. A superb variety for cut flowers in fresh and dried arrangements. Partial shade. Moderate grower to 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zone 5-9
‘Merrits Beauty’ Superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas; desired for the splendid, abundant, globe-shaped showy carmine-red flower clusters. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, mounded form. Partial sun. Fast-growing to 4 to 6 feet high, equal width. Zone 7 to 9
‘Minni Penny’ Large pink to blue mophead flowers change color with soil acidity. Blooms continuously through the season on a dwarf, compact form. Superior foundation plant under windows. Use in sheltered beds and borders. Small stature is perfect for containers. Highly disease resistant foliage. Partial sun. Fast growth 2 to 3 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet wide. Zone 6 to 9
‘Nikko Blue’ Superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas; desired for the splendid, abundant, showy blue globe-shaped flower clusters. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, mounded form. Partial sun. Fast-growing to 4 to 6 ft. tall and wide. Zone 5- 9
‘Princess Lace’ Delicate, white lacecap blooms mature to pink; with a slight blue tinge in acidic soils. The addition of lustrous, dark green foliage makes a beautiful shrub for flowering borders or tucked into a cottage garden. Highly disease resistant foliage. Moderate growing to 4 to 6 ft. tall and wide. Partial sun. Zone 5-9
‘Dooley’ This charming flowering shrub is nearly smothered in summer blooms. Rich, brilliant blue flower clusters are backed by the lustrous, densely arranged foliage. Plant this one where you can be refreshed by its vibrant color. Thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Partial sun. Vigorous growth to 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zone 6-9
‘Penny Mac’ Large, rounded clusters of deep-blue, mophead flowers bloom repeatedly. Flowers throughout the warm months on new growth for beautiful cut flower arrangements. Lush, dark green leaves ensure good looks all season. Perfect choice for protected foundation plantings and around outdoor living areas. Add to a border for size and interest. Partial sun. Moderate- growing to 4 to 6 ft. tall, 3 to 4 ft. wide. Zone 5- 9
‘Pink N Pretty’ Superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas. Desired for the splendid, abundant, showy, bright pink flower clusters. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, mounded form. Partial sun. Moderate grower to 4 to 6 feet high, 3 to 4 feet wide. Zone 5- 9
‘Pink Elf’ Also known as Pia. Miniature in size, ideal shrub for container, accent or border use in semi-shady areas. Numerous colorful rich pink broad flower heads add long lasting enjoyment. Filtered sun. Fast grower to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Zone 5- 11
‘Princess Lace’ Delicate, white lacecap blooms mature to pink; with a slight blue tinge in acidic soils. The addition of lustrous, dark green foliage makes a beautiful shrub for flowering borders or tucked into a cottage garden. Highly disease resistant foliage. Moderate growing to 4 to 6 ft. tall and wide. Partial sun.
Zone 5- 9
‘Queen of Pearls’ Clean, glistening white mophead flowers practically glow above the lustrous dark green leaves. Flowers do not typically show pink as they age. Beautiful in the cottage garden or as a shrub border. Disease resistant foliage. Moderate growing 4 to 6 ft. tall and wide. Partial sun. Zone 6-9
‘Red N Pretty’ Superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas; desired for the splendid, abundant, showy flower clusters. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, mounded form. Partial sun. Moderate-growing to 4 to 6 feet high, 3 to 4 feet wide. Zone 5-7
‘Teller Red’ A vivid rose-red Hydrangea that is a stand-out in any shade garden. Large, lacecap flower heads bear vivid carmine outer ring and inside a mixture of smaller pink and pale blue blossoms. Provides long-lasting mid to late summer color. Well-defined deep emerald green leaves cover an upright, spreading plant. Valuable foundation plant or in shrub borders with limited sun. Partial sun. Fast grower to 4 to 6 feet tall and as wide. Zone 6- 9
‘Variegated Lacecap’ Excellent choice for the shrub border or as a garden accent. Spectacular gentian-blue lacecap flower heads when grown in acidic soil. Large green leaves with creamy- white edges. Partial sun. Fast, rounded grower to 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
‘Glowing Embers’ Large rounded clusters of pink blooms cover this upright, rounded shrub from summer through fall. It makes a charming companion to evergreen shrubs in foundation plantings or mass planted under tall trees. Does best in moist but well-drained soils. Prefers shade, except in cool summer regions. Filtered tree shade is ideal. Reaches 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Zones 7-9
‘Hornli’ Dwarf in size, ideal small shrub for container, accent or border use in semi-shady areas. Numerous colorful bright crimson broad flower heads add long lasting enjoyment. Compact grower 18 to 20 in. tall, 2 ft. wide. Partial sun. Zone 6-9
‘Blue Wave’ A magnificent cool-blue in less acid soils makes this a wise choice. Large vigorous plants produce lace cap flowers with a sea-blue sterile ring and a violet center of blossoms. In more alkaline soils outer ring is pink or lilac. Long floral display peaks in June. Rounded form is ideal for foundation planting or as high contrast dark green background shrub for perennials. Plant in rich, well drained, evenly moist soil. Part sun. Rapid growth to 6 feet and as wide. Zone 6-9
‘Waterfall’ Unusual white lacecap blooms have double sepals that cascade over deep, dark tapered leaves giving a wonderful waterfall effect. Excellent for the shade garden, containers or as a border planting. Moderate growing 3 to 5 ft. high and wide. Partial sun. Zone 6-9
‘Midnight Duchess’ Lustrous dark green foliage densely spaced along purple-black stems provides the perfect framework for the extremely large mauve-pink lacecap flowers maturing to green. A striking specimen for cottage and woodland gardens. Disease resistant foliage. Moderate growing 4 to 6 ft. high and wide. Partial sun. Zone 6-9
Hydrangea serrata is related to the Bigleaf Hydrangeas, but has a more delicate appearance, with slender stems, narrow leaves and smaller flowers. It is a smaller and more compact shrub. Lacecap Hydrangea It was formerly listed as Hydrangea macrophylla var. serrata. It is native to mountain woodlands of Japan and Korea and is hardier than H.macrophylla. It grows to 3 to 5 feet in height, with flower color ranging from blue to pink to crimson.
‘Woodlander’ Small shrub with soft coloring is excellent for smaller spaces. Produces numerous heads of dainty lacecap flowers in shell pink. Flowers mid to late summer over many weeks until fall. Small-scale leaves takes on a purplish cast in fall for late season variety. Dense growth and rounded habit. Partial sun. Moderate to fast growth to 4 feet tall and wide. Zone 5-9
‘Bluebird’ Spectacular lacecap bloom has a ring of sea-blue, sterile florets surrounding a large cluster of rich-blue flowers. Flowers attain best blue tint in acid soils. Foliage reddens in fall. Partial sun. Fast grower to 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Sometimes listed as H. macrophylla ‘Bluebird’. Zone 6-9
‘Beni gaku’ A proven ancient Japanese variety with unique lacecap flowers on versatile compact plant. Deep green leaves accented with contrasting red petiole and midrib. Abundant flower heads with crown of florets emerging white, then darken to pink and finally a true blood red without a hint of blue. Startling array of hues on one plant as flowers age. Shade or filtered sun. Rapid growth to 4 feet tall and wide. Zone 5-9
Hydrangea paniculata is the most cold hardy member of the hydrangea genus. It can be reliably grown in zones 4 to 7. It is native to Asia. It can grow 10 to 15 feet tall. It has large, creamy-white flowers, which are borne in 6- to 18-inch long panicles, and are produced in mid-summer. As flowers mature, they may turn pink. Plants, particularly those of the cultivar H. ‘Pee Gee’, are sometimes pruned into a tree form. Hydrangea paniculata is also suitable for use in a mixed border or as a deciduous hedge.
‘Angels Blush’ Long-lasting, 10-inch long white flower clusters turn rosy-red in late summer and fall as they age, adding color to the garden when few plants are in bloom. Best used as an accent specimen. Partial sun. Fast-growing to 8 to 12 feet tall, 6 to 10 feet wide. Zone 4-8
‘Unique’ Gorgeous white blossoms on vigorous, trouble free plants. Early blooming, by mid-July, large flowers mature with a tint of pink. Upright and arching form produces a perfect foundation plant against bare walls, or pruned to tree shape in small gardens. Exceptionally cold hardy and well adapted to difficult conditions. Prune in winter or early spring. Prefers well drained, evenly moist soil. Sun or part shade. Rapid growth to 10 feet and 6 feet wide. Zone 3-8
‘Tardiva’ Late season flowers extend garden color into November! Lacy white flowers are stunning, and tinted with pale pink as season progresses. Cold hardy shrub for foundation plantings or you can prune it to an open tree form. Prune in winter or early spring. Good cutting flowers. Prefers well drained, evenly moist soil. Sun or part shade. Rapid growth to 10 to 20 feet tall and wide. Zone 3-8
Hydrangea quercifolia – Oakleaf hydrangea is one of two hydrangea species that are native in the U.S.. Plants generally grow 6 to 8 feet in height, although a few cultivars with smaller growth habits are available. Large panicles of creamy white flowers (4 to 12 inches) are produced in early summer. As flowers age, they often turn a medium- to deep-rose color. Oakleaf hydrangea is the only member of the genus to develop significant fall foliage color. Leaves turn a deep mahogany-red and stay on the plant until late fall. Exfoliating bark adds to winter interest. Oakleaf hydrangea is best used in a mixed border, or as a mass planting. They are hardy from zones 5 to 9.
‘Vaughn’s Lillie’ Large and extraordinarily full heads of white flowers practically smother this compact shrub. Superb burgundy-red fall foliage and peeling reddish-brown bark add interest year-round. Zone 5-9
‘Snowflake’ Lovely, white lacecap 12- to 15-inch flower clusters that appear to be double backed by deeply lobed, oak-like leaves make this a stand out in the garden. An added bonus, foliage turns brilliant crimson in fall. Partial sun. Fast-growing to 4 to 6 feet high, equal width. Zone 5-9
‘Alice Oakleaf’ It has deeply lobed, oak-like leaves and a profusion of large white blooms. An added bonus, foliage turns brilliant crimson in fall. Partial sun. Prune to shape after flowering; becomes 8 to 10 feet tall and wide. Zone 5-9
‘Amethyst’ Conical 6-inch long inflorescences are initially white, but quickly age to wine-red. Foliage adds interesting texture to the landscape & turns deep burgundy red in fall. A low maintenance, easy to grow shrub. Ideal as a specimen or accent.
Grows 5′-6′ tall and wide. Zone 5-9
‘Pee Wee’ A dwarf, four-season shrub perfect for smaller gardens. White flowers bloom late spring to early summer, fading to pink as they mature. Large oak-like leaves brighten to beautiful fall foliage. It has cinnamon-colored bark in the winter. Superb as a specimen or foundation plant. Fits into smaller gardens, side yards and corners of the shrub border out of direct sun. Moderate growth to 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide. Zone 5-9
‘Snow Queen’ Large, dense 6 to 8 inch long clusters of white flowers are held upright above the dark green oak leaf shaped foliage. Flowers become rose-pink in fall and leaves turn deep red-bronze. Tan-brown exfoliating bark is attractive in winter. Perfect for shady shrub borders as well as the woodland or cottage garden. Moderate growing to 4 to 5 feet tall, 5 to 6 feet wide. Partial sun. Zone 5-9
Hydrangea arborescens – Smooth hydrangea is the other U.S. native. In cultivation, plants usually reach about 5 feet in height, with a similar, or greater, spread. The species is rated as hardy from Zones 4 to 9. Flowering occurs in early to mid-summer. The most common cultivar, ‘Annabelle’, produces rounded inflorescences that may reach up to a foot in diameter. Plants may also have a lacecap type inflorescence consisting of a combination of a few large, and many small, flowers. At the peak of flowering, smooth hydrangea flowers are a pure white. As they age, they develop a pale green color. Smooth hydrangea is extremely striking in mass plantings.
‘Annabelle’ is a stunning white hydrangea, often producing heads over 10″ in diameter. Unlike the better known blue and pink hydrangeas (macrophyllas), Annabelle blooms every year even after severe pruning or intensely cold winters. The huge, white “drumstick” blooms appear in profusion without fail.
Some people plant ‘Annabelle’ as a hedge since it can be cut back severely in the winter for a tidy effect. ‘Annabelle’ makes a spectacular show in colder regions as well as very warm ones. Grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zone 3-9.
Hydrangea anomala ‘petiolaris’ – Climbing hydrangea is not as well-known as the previous four species, however it is becoming more popular. It is hardy from zones 4 to 7. Climbing hydrangea is a true clinging vine. While initially slow growing, the plant can eventually cover tall (up to 80 feet) structures. White, lacecap type inflorescences are produced in early- to mid-summer. Plants can be slow to start flowering, but patience is rewarded by a spectacular floral display on established plants. An alternative to planting climbing hydrangea on the side of a building, is to allow it to climb up a tall tree or to cascade over a horizontal surface like a rock pile. Climbing hydrangea grows well in shade, but can also tolerate a sunny location.