Hydrangea: My Five Favorites

July 31st 2015
Glen Goldberg

New Breeds of Hydrangea

Hydrangeas have become a key summertime show-off in front and backyards nationwide. It used to be that the beautiful blue-and pink-blooming hydrangeas would bloom once a year for a few weeks in June. 

Newer varieties, such as Endless Summer, offer enormous, colorful blooms every few weeks in summer and fall.

But plant breeders have developed new varieties that perform with longer bloom times and re-bloom through much of the season. The most foolproof hydrangeas bloom on new wood or old and new wood. That way, if there is a frost and the old wood is damaged, you will still be sure to have flowers in summer.

Newer varieties, such as Endless Summer, offer enormous, colorful blooms every few weeks in summer and fall. Many offer beautiful fall color, and their spent blossoms remain attractive in the winter landscape or can be cut and dried for indoor arrangements.

For these reasons, the hydrangea is a versatile and beautiful landscape choice. 

Five Of My Favorite Hydrangea

Forever and Ever Hydrangea

The magnificent flowers of this hydrangea will bloom from mid-summer to mid-to-late fall. The blue color may fade to a blue-pink range of colors late in the year. Forever and Ever Hydrangeas get to be about 3 to 4 feet tall and wide and will do best in the morning sun and afternoon shade.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

This perennial is another excellent, long-blooming hydrangea similar to Forever and Ever. The blooms flower early to midsummer until frost. They also get to be about three to four feet tall and wide and do best in partial sun. As with most Hydrangea, you can get them to bloom pink or blue by altering the soil’s acidity.

Limelight Hydrangea

hydrangea favorite

Limelights will provide outstanding color in early summer, through summer, and fall up to frost. They can rise six to 10 feet high and up to six feet wide. For this reason, I have often used them as a privacy shrub when it is desirable to screen a view but not necessary to block it in winter.

The flowers of this plant start as white with a hint of green. As time passes, they turn all white and then turn a beautiful coppery pink at the end of the summer. This hydrangea is an excellent choice if you need plants taller than Endless Summer or Forever and Ever.

Annabelle Hydrangea

This hydrangea is the traditional flower, the “snowball bush” we grew up with, but with an upgrade. The newer varieties have substantial white flowers bloom on new wood and provide a stunning show for most of the season, from early to midsummer to frost. Each plant can grow 3-5 feet high and wide. One of the advantages of this hydrangea is that it will take more sun than the others. If you have a deer problem, these are not the plant to select.

Climbing Hydrangea

climbing hydrangea

Climbing Hydrangea is one of the best ornamental vines. It will flower even in shade gardens and creates a beautiful vine on an arbor, pergola, fence, stone wall, or trunk of a large shade tree. Foliage is almost heart-shaped. Leaves drop in winter exposing an attractive reddish-brown exfoliating bark for winter interest. They produce fragrant, lacy, flat-topped, white flower heads in early summer. These “lace caps” can be five inches or more in width and are composed of showy flowers on the outside and less-than-showy flowers on the inside. This remarkable vine may take 3-5 years to bloom, but patience will be rewarded. Climbing hydrangea sometimes reach 50 feet tall.

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