Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hydrangea in Landscape Design

Hydrangea Varieties, Requirements & Pruning 
The next welcome addition to your landscape could be one of the many show-stopping varieties of hydrangea. Hydrangea produces a display of voluminous blooms on large deep green foliage throughout the summer months adding ongoing color and interest to your garden.  There are different varieties of hydrangea that you can choose from that differ slightly in lighting and soil requirements and time frame for pruning.
'Nikko  Blue'  Flower Head
The Mopheads (Hydrangea macrophylla) are the most widely planted hydrangea in home landscapes and are usually blue or pink in color with large leaves.Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ is very well known in the landscape for its large blue ball-shaped flowers that bloom towards the later part of the summer and deepen in color as they mature. ‘Nikko Blue’ Hydrangea does bloom on old wood, which means that if you are looking to prune your plant it needs to be done immediately after flowering before the fall. Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ grows best in moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. It reaches 3-5 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. 
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'
An alternative to Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ is the new culitvar Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ which blooms on both old and new wood and ‘All Summer Beauty’ that blooms on the new growth of the season. Both of the later mentioned also have a much longer bloom time and repeatedly bloom throughout the summer. Each of these plants grows to approximately 3-5 feet in height, each grows best in partially shaded conditions (afternoon shade) and moist well drained soil and are hardy to USDA Zone 5. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’ in the Endless Summer Collection displays white blooms that turn pink with age.  
 French Miniature Hydrangea macrophylla Pia 'Pink Elf''
Hydrangea ‘Pia’ is a miniature French hybrid with broad pink flowers growing only to 2 to 3 feet in height, a good candidate for small spaces in zones 5-9. ‘Pia’ grows best in partial sun with afternoon shade and prefers a rich organic soil. Pia hydrangea bloom on old wood and generally need little to no pruning; however, if needed, prune immediately after flowering by cutting back flowering stems to a point of healthy buds. 
Hydrangea 'Tokyo Delight'
Another variety of Hydrangea ‘macrophylla’ is the Lacecap Hydrangea that displays a smaller inner circle of lace-like flowers surrounded by a ring of larger showier flowers. A favorite is Hydrangea ‘Tokyo Delight’ that displays beautiful cobalt blue flowers with an inner ring of delicate white flowers, grows to 4-6 feet and blooms late July through August, prefers afternoon shade, moist well drained soil and is hardy to USDA Zone 6. Prune Hydrangea ‘Tokyo Delight’ immediately after bloom since new buds form on the older wood from the previous season.
Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout'
If you like Lacecap hydrangea, new to the Endless Summer Collection is Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout'. Introduced in 2010 this show stopper is the first lacecap variety in this collection and blooms on old and new wood like the others. Lacy deep-pink centers are surrounded by larger blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue depending on pH of the soil. Leaves turn red-burgundy in fall to offer year-round interest in the garden. Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout is hardy to zone 4 and grows to a height of 3-4 feet.
Peegee Hydrangea Tree Form
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ or the ‘Peegee' Hydrangea is a personal favorite of mine for extremely large pyramidal white blooms in July throughout fall and abundant fragrance in the garden. Hydrangea ‘Peegee’ can be grown as a shrub or tree form and can serve as either a group planting or as a single specimen in a landscape design. Hydrangea ‘Grandiflora’ also grows 3-5 feet or higher in its tree form. This particular hydrangea can grow well in full to partial sun and blooms on new wood. Sent to the US from Japan in 1861 this beauty is a showpiece in the garden
and is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Panicle Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
Panicle hydrangea are known for being the most cold hardy and are very tolerant of pruning.  They can reach a height of ten to fifteen feet or can be pruned to keep more compact.  For a similar look to ‘Peegee’ with creamy-white panicle-shaped blooms and a more open look is Hydrangea ‘Tardivia’. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a newer introduction with beautiful elongated lime colored panicles that bloom in late summer and last through fall. Hydrangea 'Tardivia' and ‘Limelight’ both do best in full to partial sun and bloom on new wood. 
Hydrangea 'Annabelle'
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, a native of the U.S., is a more shade tolerant hydrangea that produces showy ball shaped white blooms in summer, grows 3-5 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 3. ‘Annabelle’ blooms on new wood and can be severely pruned in winter in order to restore shape. 
Hydrangea 'Bella Anna' (Endless Summer Collection)
Hydrangea 'Bella Anna' is the first variety of Hydrangea arborescens to be introduced into the Endless Summer Collection.  Bella Anna prefers to be grown in a moist, well-drained soil  in full sun to partial shade.  It is hardy in zones 4-9, grows 3-5 feet in height and is a repeat bloomer. Its strong stalks support huge magenta-pink flower heads and it blooms on new and old wood.
Oakleaf Hydrangea
The last two varieties of hydrangea are Hydrangea quercifolia or ‘Oakleaf ‘Hydrangea and Climbing Hydrangea. The Oakleaf hydrangea serves as an excellent plant for massing in a woodland setting.  The name ‘Oakleaf’ comes from the oak-shaped leaves that turn a bright mahogany red in fall for a brilliant display. The upright panicles of large white flowers appear in June and the plant has a rounded habit, grows 4-6 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. Hydrangea quercifolia does well in partial shade in a well drained most soil. This hydrangea blooms on old wood and should be pruned immediately after flowering. Climbing Hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris) is an upcoming variety becoming more popular in the landscape. As the name implies this hydrangea once established produces vigorous vines and a profusion of lightly scented blooms. 
H. anomala petiolaris-Climbing Hydrangea
Hydrangea are deciduous and can be complemented nicely by a backdrop of evergreens that serve as a "foundation" for the planting to maintain all year interest in the garden. Arborvitae, Skip Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Holly and Yew are good companions that can serve this purpose. Other companion plants for hydrangea are perennials such as hosta, heuchera (coral bells), astilbe and rudbeckia which can add extra color and interest throughout the summer months.
Endless Summer Collection
Hydrangea has been a favorite plant of gardeners for centuries and will continue to show off their beauty in the landscape. There are selections for every taste and with the new cultivars that bloom on new and old wood pruning is now made easier. Hydrangea can fit into a variety of landscape styles and serve as an excellent addition for color in a partially shaded area. Give this plant a chance to shine in your garden and you will be happy you did!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.


  1. A good selection of hydrangea. I love my Pee Gee.

  2. This is so informative, I am not very good at hydrangeas and here I have learnt about them. Thanks

  3. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments. Now we just need to get the weather a little warmer here to get those hydrangea blooming! Pee Gee is one of my favorites also.

  4. I like the Endless Summer-low maintenance and I can prune them whenever I like. I am looking to get the 'Twist & Shout'.

  5. great information! I wish I could get one too

  6. Thanks fer~There is a miniature hybrid pink hydrangea called 'Pia' that only gets up to between 18" and 30" diameter. It could probably be grown in a planter. It is hardy to Zone 5.

  7. All of these pictures of Hydrangea Tree Form are absolutely amazing,These pics are adding more beauty to the landscaping work and making the property more valuable.


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