Hydrangeas are a deciduous shrub that can flower from spring through summer and oftentimes into fall. They quickly fill in and can become a showstopper within just a year or two of planting. There are several different species of hydrangeas that grow in our area and understanding the differences between the four different types can help you become a successful gardener and ensure that you plant a hydrangea in the right spot and prune at the right time for the best results.
Below you'll find a description of each species and a few examples of varieties that we have in stock this week. To see a full list of available hydrangeas, please reference our tree and shrub availability list.
HYDRANGEA ARBORESCENS, aka Smooth Hydrangea
This species is very adaptable and can handle a wide range of soils and moisture conditions. Native to North America, it's the most cold tolerant of the hydrangea species. No need to fuss with soil pH - the flowers stay true to their color. Prefers part shade or full sun. In the south, smooth hydrangeas can still bloom in areas where it receives as little as 4 hours - further north hydrangeas prefer increased hours of sunlight (6 hrs). These blooms make great cut flowers, or feel free to leave the blooms on the shrub to dry to add winter interest. Allow the shrub to establish for a couple years before performing any hard pruning. Trim down to the ground in early spring or not at all if you want a larger shrub in the landscape.
One of the oldest and most popular smooth hydrangea cultivars. This classic shrub has huge white round heads of flowers often blooming throughout summer. Known for its vigorous blooms on sturdy stems. Grows to 4-5' tall and 3-5' wide.
Blooms are more of a flattened shape with loose flowers that provide a delicate look. The larger individual flowers along the outside of the inflorescence are sterile and the smaller blooms in the center are true flowers and provide more value to pollinators than most hydrangea species. Grows to a height and width of 3-5'.
HYDRANGEA PANICULATA, aka Panicle Hydrangea
The easiest and most adaptable hydrangea to grow. They are sun-lovers and perform well in urban plantings. They can handle part-shade, but bloom best in sun. "Panicle" references the pyramidal or cone shaped bundles of blooms. Panicle hydrangeas are known for their long blooming times. Most panicle hydrangeas bloom white and as the flowers age they turn to shades of pink or red. If blooms are left to dry on the plant they will fade to a beige color and add winter interest to the landscape. All panicle hydrangeas, regardless of variety, can be pruned the same since they all bloom on new wood - pruning should be done in winter or early spring and will ensure that blooms each summer.