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Find the right bigleaf hydrangea for your garden

By: Garden Gate staff
Not sure which bigleaf hydrangea is right for your garden? Whether you love blue, pink or white flowers, see which ones will work best in your garden here.

Find the right bigleaf hydrangea

Who couldn't use a few hydrangea recommendations? There are so many to choose from: From lush, billowing mophead blooms or frilly lacecap flowers in shades of white, pink or blue on sturdy stems. What more could you want in a shrub? How about lustrous green or variegated foliage on a cold-hardy, compact plant?

Mophead-lacecap-bigleaf-hydrangea-types

Types of bigleaf hydrangeas

While most bigleaf hydrangeas are mopheads, there are also lacecaps, such as Let’s Dance™ Diva! in the gallery below. This type has a center of florets, or tiny flowers, surrounded by larger showy ones. Sometimes lacecap hydrangeas will still produce a few mophead flowers.

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Why grow bigleaf hydrangeas?

The bigleaf hydrangea group (Hydrangea macrophylla) is made up of dozens of cultivars that bloom heavily and live for many years in the garden. Many of the newest cultivars rebloom more reliably and have tidy, compact habits. You’ll also find more colorful foliage and stems, bicolor flowers and earlier bloom periods. Here are seven hydrangea cultivars, from old to new, with a variety of wonderful traits.

Want to learn how to grow bigleaf hydrangeas? Read our article How to care for your bigleaf hydrangeas for simple tips on helping your plants thrive.

'Blue Billow' bigleaf hydrangea

The delicate, light-blue lacecap blooms of ‘Blue Billow’ are some of the most cold-tolerant (to USDA zone 4), which makes them a treasure in any garden. But this 4-foot-tall cultivar is also one of the first hydrangeas to bloom — in early summer. And it flowers happily in full shade.

BloomStruck® bigleaf hydrangea

Combining tolerance of both steamy hot and extreme cold conditions (cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9) into one plant is no easy task, but that’s exactly why you can count on this durable, hardy hydrangea to bloom every year. Bloomstruck is covered in 4- to 5-inch rounded clusters of vivid pink to periwinkle blue flowers as it reblooms all summer. Compact at only 3 to 5 feet tall — they also look great in larger containers.

Cityline® Series bigleaf hydrangea

With names including Cityline Berlin, Paris (shown in photo) and Venice, these plants stay a diminutive 1 to 3 feet tall. They’re perfect in very small beds or in containers, on decks and patios, in sun or part shade. And though the plants are small, the pink or blue mophead flowers are just as large as those of taller relatives.

Light-o’-Day® ’Bailday’ bigleaf hydrangea

Bright green leaves edged in white sparkle on this 3- to 5-foot-tall plant in either sun or part shade. In addition to pretty foliage, Light-O’-Day has lovely two-tone lacecap flowers that bloom in either pink or blue, depending on your soil type.

'Leuchtfeuer' bigleaf hydrangea

'Leuchtfeuer' is also sold as ‘Firelight’ or ‘Lighthouse’. This cultivar blooms a dark rose-red, a rare color for hydrangeas, and stays red even in acid-soil conditions. The large 8-inch-diameter mophead flowers open in midsummer on 4-foot plants.

Endless Summer® Blushing Bride bigleaf hydrangea

Like the first plant in this series, Blushing Bride blooms on both old and new wood, to ensure repeat blooms. But instead of being pink or blue, these semidouble flowers open a pure white, aging to lovely soft pink. The dark-green leaves on this 3- to 5-foot-tall plant are resistant to mildew. Even moisture is best, so mulch around the plant, especially the first season.

Let’s Dance Diva!® bigleaf hydrangea

While most bigleaf hydrangeas are mopheads, there are also lacecaps, such as Let’s Dance Diva! above. This type has a center of florets, or tiny flowers, surrounded by larger showy ones. Let’s Dance Diva! is a reblooming hydrangea that grows only 2 to 3 ft. tall and wide, but it has huge 7- to 10-in.-wide flowers in pink or blue depending on soil pH. This hydrangea is cold-hardy in USDA zone 5 to 9.

'Blue Billow' bigleaf hydrangea

The delicate, light-blue lacecap blooms of ‘Blue Billow’ are some of the most cold-tolerant (to USDA zone 4), which makes them a treasure in any garden. But this 4-foot-tall cultivar is also one of the first hydrangeas to bloom — in early summer. And it flowers happily in full shade.

'Leuchtfeuer' bigleaf hydrangea

'Leuchtfeuer' is also sold as ‘Firelight’ or ‘Lighthouse’. This cultivar blooms a dark rose-red, a rare color for hydrangeas, and stays red even in acid-soil conditions. The large 8-inch-diameter mophead flowers open in midsummer on 4-foot plants.

BloomStruck® bigleaf hydrangea

Combining tolerance of both steamy hot and extreme cold conditions (cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9) into one plant is no easy task, but that’s exactly why you can count on this durable, hardy hydrangea to bloom every year. Bloomstruck is covered in 4- to 5-inch rounded clusters of vivid pink to periwinkle blue flowers as it reblooms all summer. Compact at only 3 to 5 feet tall — they also look great in larger containers.

Endless Summer® Blushing Bride bigleaf hydrangea

Like the first plant in this series, Blushing Bride blooms on both old and new wood, to ensure repeat blooms. But instead of being pink or blue, these semidouble flowers open a pure white, aging to lovely soft pink. The dark-green leaves on this 3- to 5-foot-tall plant are resistant to mildew. Even moisture is best, so mulch around the plant, especially the first season.

Cityline® Series bigleaf hydrangea

With names including Cityline Berlin, Paris (shown in photo) and Venice, these plants stay a diminutive 1 to 3 feet tall. They’re perfect in very small beds or in containers, on decks and patios, in sun or part shade. And though the plants are small, the pink or blue mophead flowers are just as large as those of taller relatives.

Let’s Dance Diva!® bigleaf hydrangea

While most bigleaf hydrangeas are mopheads, there are also lacecaps, such as Let’s Dance Diva! above. This type has a center of florets, or tiny flowers, surrounded by larger showy ones. Let’s Dance Diva! is a reblooming hydrangea that grows only 2 to 3 ft. tall and wide, but it has huge 7- to 10-in.-wide flowers in pink or blue depending on soil pH. This hydrangea is cold-hardy in USDA zone 5 to 9.

Light-o’-Day® ’Bailday’ bigleaf hydrangea

Bright green leaves edged in white sparkle on this 3- to 5-foot-tall plant in either sun or part shade. In addition to pretty foliage, Light-O’-Day has lovely two-tone lacecap flowers that bloom in either pink or blue, depending on your soil type.

Published: April 17, 2018
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