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HYDRANGEA macrophylla

Image of Hydrangea macrophylla

Felder Rushing

Family

Hydrangeaceae

Botanical Name

HYDRANGEA macrophylla

Plant Common Name

Bigleaf Hydrangea, Largeleaf Hydrangea

General Description

This is one of the most beloved of all hardy ornamental shrubs. Bigleaf hydrangea is most admired for its large, long-lasting flower clusters that may appear from late spring to fall, depending on the selection. It has been bred extensively for improved vigor, flower color, size and performance. Its blooms are popular for cutting and many cultivars have been specifically bred as greenhouse grown container specimens for the florist industry.

Hydrangea macrophylla is a medium-sized, deciduous flowering shrub with large green leaves and a rounded, bushy habit. This eastern Asian native produces large flower clusters with small fertile flowers towards the center and showy sterile flowers along the edges. These may be rounded (hortensia or mophead-type) or flattened (lacecap-type) and come in shades of red, pink, blue, violet, purple, white or rose. Flower color varies depending on soil pH. Alkaline soils encourage pinker flowers and acid soils bluer.

This hydrangea prefers evenly moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil and will happily grow in full sun or partial shade. Unless otherwise noted, bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on the previous year’s wood, so pruning should be done after they flower. Also, be sure to plant cultivars that are hardy in your area. If they are too cold sensitive and completely die to the ground each year, then they will not flower. This is an outstanding landscape shrub for partially shaded gardens and foundations. Its flowers are great for cutting and very easy to arrange with. They also dry well and can be used as everlastings.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-8' / 0.6m - 2.4m

  • Width

    2'-10' / 0.6m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Rose, Lavender, Blue Violet

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Red, Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Dried Flower / Everlasting, Container, Cutflower, Edging, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No