Garden Hydrangea Cheatsheet

Ilona Erwin

Quick overview of one of the easiest and most ornamental shrubs for the home garden. Old fashioned? They do have a place in cottage gardens, but they work surprisingly well in modern designs and there are so many new varieties that maybe this will guide you to give them a try.

Types of Hydrangeas

23 species of Hydrangea 5 are commonly cultivated
  • Mophead, Hydrangea macrophylla big, round flowers made of mainly sterile florets.
  • Lacecaps, H. macrophylla normalis delicate lacy flowers because they have a central area of fertile flowers surrounded by a circle of sterile florets.
  • ‘Annabelle’ types, H. arborescens are big round cream-white balls of flowers on stiffer stems then the mopheads. All around more hardy and will spread.
  • Oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia best landscape choice with elongated flowerheads. Florets turn pink when aging.
  • PeeGee, Hydrangea paniculata large treelike plants with late flowers that extend the season. Cone shape flower heads.
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Lesser Known Garden Hydrangeas

  • Mountain hydrangea (H. serrata)
  • Climbing Hydrangea, (H. petiolaris)


Hydrangeas in the North: Getting Blooms in the Colder Climates

Fertilize? May and JulyWhen Should You Prune Hydrangeas?


  • Needs plenty of moisture
  • Ideally, morning sun and afternoon shade
  • No heavy shade and competition from tree roots
  • Moist soil, but good drainage
  • Give a 4 ft. X 4 ft. space
  • Plant in late spring or early fall
  • Doesn’t need pruning, just late winter cleanup of old stalks.

Lacecap Garden Hydrangea

  • Sun to part shade
  • Protect from cold
  • Must have moisture
  • Form flower buds August through September
  • Benefits from mulch

Use mulch to conserve moisture and add humus


  • Morning sun and afternoon shade, but full sun is fine in the North
  • Tolerant of less than ideal moisture, average conditions will sit it.
  • Extremely hardy
  • Give room, it will spread.
  • Plant in late spring or early fall
  • Doesn’t need pruning


  • Sun to part shade
  • Does well in drier conditions than other hydrangeas
  • Very hardy
  • It will spread, 6 ft to 10 ft.
  • Needs well-drained soil.


  • Needs sun
  • Hardy to Zone 3
  • Best in a sheltered spot
  • 8-10 feet tall and wide
  • Can be pruned for larger blooms

Don’t plant too deeply; keep plant at level that it was grown in its pot.

Good Varieties

Abracadabra Orb1 Hydrangea
All Summer Beauty Hydrangea

Bobo‚ Hydrangea

‘All Summer Beauty’
‘Endless Summer’
‘Blushing Bride’
‘Forever and Ever Peppermint’
‘Mariesii Perfecta’

‘Snow Queen’
‘Sikes Dwarf’
‘Pee Wee’


“Making Flowers Blue”

A photo posted by Ilona (@ilonagarden) on

Apply aluminum sulfate. Or use an acidifying fertilizer, low in phosphorus and high in potassium, to decrease the pH of the soil to make your garden hydrangeas retain their blue hue. You must have the right variety to begin with, like ‘Endless Summer‘.

Make More Plants

propagate hydrangeas

from Southern Living via Pinterest

Detailed Instructions

Having Fun With Hydrangeas



    • Good dried flower material



A photo posted by Ilona (@ilonagarden) on

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.