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Selecting the Perfect Hydrangea for Your Landscape Full Guide of 2023

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selecting hydrangeas for landscapeThere are over 500 varieties of hydrangeas, with new cultivars developed each year. You want the perfect hydrangeas to enhance your landscape’s beauty. With my 15 years as a horticulturist, let me guide you in selecting hydrangeas tailored for your growing conditions and design needs.

Whether seeking spectacular blooms or lush foliage, certain hydrangea features suit different garden situations. Consider bloom time, size, hardiness, and color when choosing plants. Visit local gardens to see hydrangeas thriving around you.

A winning combination of site analysis and plant knowledge ensures hydrangeas become a garden showcase. With strategic selection, your landscape will flourish with the ideal hydrangeas.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider size, bloom time, and color when selecting hydrangeas for the landscape.
  • Compare the sun requirements of different hydrangea types to the site conditions.
  • Lower the soil pH for pink bigleaf hydrangea blooms.
  • Visit local gardens and nurseries to see hydrangeas in person and analyze light conditions and space for mature size.

How to Choose Hydrangeas

How to Choose Hydrangeas
When selecting hydrangeas for your landscape, it’s important to consider several key factors. Know your growing zone to ensure the hydrangeas will be winter hardy. Analyze the light conditions and available space to choose an appropriate mature size and habit.

Purchase disease-resistant varieties from reputable sources and select plants that bloom at your desired time. Considerations like these will help you pick the perfect hydrangeas for your specific climate, landscape design, and blooming preferences.

Know Your Growing Zone

You’ll want to check your hardiness zone before picking hydrangeas to make sure the ones you choose will thrive in your area. Certain cultivars can’t handle temperatures colder than their zones. Consult the USDA Hardiness Zone Map to find yours.

Size and Space

Consider available space when choosing mature hydrangea sizes.

  • Choose smaller varieties like oakleaf for tighter spots.
  • Select mid-size bigleaf or lacecap types for foundation plantings.
  • Reserve the largest panicle or tree hydrangeas for open beds.

Consider Bloom Time

When picking hydrangeas, pay attention to the blooming time so you can plan gorgeous color in your yard all season long. Select varieties that bloom on old and new wood for the longest display. Stagger bloom times to delight all season.

Analyze Light Conditions

Before planting, observe the light conditions where you want your hydrangeas.

  1. Observe morning sunlight.
  2. Note afternoon shade.
  3. Watch for shadows.
  4. Consider light intensity.

To ensure the best growth and blooms, always analyze the sunlight patterns and shade canopy before finalizing planting locations. Careful light evaluation helps pick ideal sites. With thoughtful planning, your hydrangeas will flourish in the landscape for years.

Consider Plant Hardiness

As a ship seeking safe harbor, check the hydrangea’s hardiness zone before planting. Certain hydrangea cultivars need protection from low temperatures to keep their fertile flower buds intact.

Select Disease-Resistant Varieties

Pick cultivars resistant to common hydrangea diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot. Opt for bigleaf, macrophylla cultivars bred for disease resistance. Ohio gardeners should look for panicle hydrangea cultivars touting improved disease resistance.

Choose an Appropriate Size and Habit

You’ll want to pick a hydrangea that fits the mature size your space allows. Consider the ultimate height and spread. Be sure to allow enough room for the plant to reach its full size. Pick compact types for smaller areas.

Purchase From a Reputable Source

You have to buy quality hydrangeas from reputable sellers, otherwise your landscape dreams will wilt away like a thirsty flower. Look for sellers with proven track records for stocking new cultivars and early bloom specialties.

Types of Hydrangeas

Types of Hydrangeas
As you select hydrangeas to add to your landscape, it’s important to understand the differences between the major species.

Hydrangea arborescens, commonly called smooth hydrangea, is known for its hardy nature and mophead blooms.

Hydrangea macrophylla, the bigleaf hydrangea, produces blooms that can change color based on soil pH.

Hydrangea paniculata blooms on new wood in large conical clusters.

Oakleaf hydrangea, hydrangea quercifolia, has distinctive leaves similar in shape to oak leaves.

Lastly, hydrangea serrata, or mountain hydrangea, is a smaller shrub with delicate lacecap blooms.

Knowing the unique features of each species will ensure you choose the right hydrangeas for your specific needs.


Annabelle hydrangeas make a lovely addition with their large, white mophead blooms.

  • Large mophead blooms in pure white
  • Blooms on new wood; prune in late winter
  • Grows 3-5 feet tall and wide
  • Hardy even in cold climates
  • Tolerates more sun than other hydrangeas

With their beautiful white blooms and hardiness, Annabelle hydrangeas are an excellent choice to add striking flowers to your landscape.


Let’s explore nature’s artistry through Bigleaf hydrangeas, whose blooms’ pigment reveals the garden’s heart. As spring awakens, monitor previous seasons’ stems for plump buds erupting with life. Panicles emerge in a spectrum of sizes, gracing your gardens with remarkable beauty.


Cause tree form hydrangeas have got that pyramidal bloom most gardeners love, panicle hydrangeas are going tall. They bloom on new wood annually, so prune in late winter before growth resumes. With proper care, they flower dependably from mid to late summer in northern climates.


Fragrant oakleaf hydrangeas suit you best with their bold foliage and cone-shaped blooms. Their vanilla strawberry blooms and heart-shaped leaves resembling oak leaves interest you. Regular basic care ensures healthy oakleafs on Cape Cod’s infertile yet well-drained soil.


With serratas, you’re looking at smaller shrubs that prefer partly shaded places with moist, acidic soil.

  1. They bloom in late fall on a new layer of growth.
  2. Prune the previous year’s growth in early winter.
  3. Protect the lower branches in winter.

Serratas bring late-season color with their hardy nature and modest size.

Key Features to Consider

Key Features to Consider
When selecting hydrangeas for your landscape, two key features to consider are choosing the right bloom color and analyzing your site’s light conditions.

The wide variety of hydrangea bloom colors allows you to make a selection that will complement or contrast with other plants in your design.

Also, pay close attention to the specific light requirements of the hydrangea varieties you’re interested in, as sun exposure has a significant impact on hydrangea health and flowering.

Selecting the appropriate cultivars by considering these two factors will help ensure your hydrangeas thrive and enhance your landscape’s beauty.

Choose the Right Color

You’ll adore those stunning hydrangea blooms in your yard, but don’t assume their color is set in stone. The flower color can shift based on the soil! Cultivars of hydrangea produce pink flowers in acidic soils, so incorporate organic matter like peat moss to lower pH in areas of Ohio with alkaline soils if you desire pink blooms.

Check Ohio’s USDA Hardiness Zones to select cold-tolerant cultivars. With the right conditions, you’ll enjoy the hydrangea colors you crave.

Analyze Your Site’s Light Conditions

Make sure you check how much sun your spot gets before picking a hydrangea. The amount of light impacts bloom size and color intensity. Compare the sun requirements of varieties you like to your site’s sunlight in the morning, midday, and afternoon.

Species like oakleaf need some shade, while panicles thrive with 6+ hours of sun. Position plants for optimal lighting to see their best seasonal floral displays.

Selecting Hydrangeas for Your Landscape

Selecting Hydrangeas for Your Landscape
Having carefully analyzed your garden’s specific conditions, it’s time to select the ideal hydrangea species to fulfill your vision.

First, visit local nurseries and botanical gardens to observe the different hydrangea varieties up close. Note the diverse flower colors, from pure whites to deep purples, and the contrasting shapes, from large mophead blooms to delicate lacecaps.

Then, match their attributes to your landscape needs. Consider the rich red hues of Bigleaf varieties that complement your color scheme, or the hardiness of Smooth hydrangeas that thrive in your zone.

Together, we’ll thoughtfully curate a hydrangea collection as unique as your personal style.

Tips for Choosing the Right Hydrangea

Tips for Choosing the Right Hydrangea
When comparing hydrangea varieties, note their specific sunlight, soil, moisture, and pruning requirements to find the best fit for your landscape conditions.

  1. Research bloom size, shape, and timing for each type.
  2. Compare maintenance needs like pruning and fertilizing.
  3. Note mature plant size to allow proper spacing.
  4. Consider unique characteristics like leaf shape or climbing ability.

Focusing on the unique growing conditions needed by each hydrangea variety will ensure you select plants that will thrive in your landscape.

How to Select the Perfect Hydrangea for Your Landscape

How to Select the Perfect Hydrangea for Your Landscape
Y’all dig the right ‘drangea flow by figurin’ the light, space, and care they’ll need in your hood before bringin’ those bodacious bloomers home.

  1. Peep the height and spread at maturity to allow ample room.
  2. Consider sunlight needs – most want morning sun and afternoon shade.
  3. Know if they bloom on old or new wood to time pruning.
  4. Select types suited for your growing seasons, soil, and moisture levels.

With some thoughtful planning upfront, you’ll be stylin’ with showy hydrangea flowers from the current year’s blooms.

Carefully match the cultivar to the conditions for happy, healthy plants with minimal disease issues.

Then you can kick back and enjoy their bold beauty gracing your landscape.

Choosing the Right Hydrangea for Your Garden

Choosing the Right Hydrangea for Your Garden
You’ll want to compare hydrangea species by their unique traits like hardiness, maintenance needs, bloom size, and timing before choosing the right ones for your particular garden conditions and design.

Consider the mature height and spread for your space. Compact varieties work well in smaller gardens.

Look at bloom time to coordinate with other plants. Oakleaf and smooth hydrangeas bloom earlier than bigleaf.

Choose based on light conditions. Part sun suits most. Full sun needs extra moisture.

Compare hardiness zones if you live in an area with cold winters. Protect more tender varieties.

Decide on color. Bigleaf blooms can be pink or blue based on soil pH.

Selecting the ideal hydrangea takes planning. Match the variety to your specific landscape conditions for long-lasting beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What companion plants go well with hydrangeas in garden beds and borders?

When designing a garden bed or border with hydrangeas, interplant them with ferns, hostas, astilbes, and ornamental grasses for pleasing textures and hues. Annuals like coleus, impatiens, and begonias can fill in blank spots and extend seasonal interest.

How close to the foundation of a house can hydrangeas be planted?

Plant hydrangeas 2-3 feet from the house foundation. This allows air circulation to prevent mildew and gives them space to grow without encroaching. Select smaller, compact varieties if space is limited. Use the right hydrangea for the location to avoid overcrowding.

Do deer tend to avoid or favor hydrangeas?

Deer usually avoid hydrangeas. Their coarse leaves and woody stems aren’t palatable. When establishing new plantings, take steps to protect them. As plants mature, damage lessens.

How long do cut hydrangea blooms last in vases indoors?

When placed in a vase with fresh water, cut hydrangea blooms can last 1-2 weeks indoors if you remove foliage that would be submerged, recut stems, and change the water daily. To maximize vase life, cut blooms in the morning and immediately place them in cool water.

Are hydrangeas able to thrive in raised planter beds and containers?

You can grow hydrangeas in raised beds and containers when you select compact varieties, provide rich, acidic soil, make sure drainage is excellent, and maintain consistent moisture. Space plants properly, prune to encourage blooming, and protect from winter damage.


After reviewing key considerations like hardiness, bloom time, and maintenance needs, you can select the perfect hydrangea for your landscape. With good planning and preparation, these elegant flowers will enhance your garden for years to come.

When selecting hydrangeas for your landscape, choose varieties suited to your climate and conditions for beautiful, long-lasting blooms.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.