One of the most-desirable features of mophead and panicle hydrangeas is the fact that they not only provide fresh, beautiful blooms for the garden and vase, but can also fill vases with exquisite dried flowers for indoor arrangements in the fall and winter. When choosing, think about size and shape. Do you want the enormous blooms of 'Limelight'
? Colorful, classic mopheads like 'Nikko Blue'
? Whichever you choose, let the bloom 'cure' on the plant for a few days after full bloom to make sure it lasts well in the vase. If you cut too early, you’ll be disappointed by wilting flowers.
Learn how to make a dried Hydrangea wreath.
Best Hydrangea for Containers
Containers are a wonderful way to grow dwarf cultivars of many types of hydrangea, and there are compact cultivars available in all of the main groups, with the exception of climbers. Not only can you control sun exposure, soil moisture levels and soil fertility, but also pH, which can affect the bloom color of many mophead and mountain hydrangeas.
Container hydrangeas should be considered a zone less hardy in the pot than in the ground, so if you’re willing to try something a bit bigger for your containers, how about choosing newer cultivars that bloom on both new and old wood, such as those in the Everlasting series? Whichever hydrangea you choose, make sure to also choose large glazed ceramic or plastic containers to facilitate constant moisture levels.
Everything you need to know about how to grow plants in containers.
Best Hydrangea for Four-Season Interest
It's a great feeling to plant a hydrangea for the growing season and find yourself admiring it well into winter. Oakleaf and climbing hydrangeas certainly top this list, as the rich red foliage of oakleafs (such as 'Ruby Slippers') complements the bright yellow of climber foliage, and both have thick cinnamon colored bark that peels to reveal tawny stems. For even more pop, the climber 'Miranda' will clothe a wall with variegated foliage during the summer season.
Best Cold Hardy Hydrangea
Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood (smooth & panicle) are the best bet for gardeners that want to see reliable bloom as far north as Zone 3. In this situation, even a worse-than-average winter will still result in summer blooms. Smooth hydrangeas, such as the new cultivar , combine the best of cold and heat hardiness and in cooler zones can be grown in full sun without any issues.
Best Hydrangea for Hot, Humid Environments
Hydrangeas are very sensitive to heat and intense sunlight, but what could be more 'Southern' than an old fashioned hedge of 'Annabelle' hydrangea or a vase full of brightly-colored mopheads next to a big pitcher of lemonade? Successful hydrangea growers south of Zone 7 must consider two things above all - moisture and morning sun.
Give your hydrangeas (even the panicles) a little rest from that scorching heat in the summertime by siting them with shelter from some of the afternoon sun; and make sure that the soil is consistently moist, allowing them to continuously recharge leaves that naturally release moisture into the air. However, if your hydrangea is wilting during the day but perking up during the evening, moisture isn't the problem – sun exposure is.