Hydrangea Garden

Play with a hydrangea garden design to fill your landscape with outstanding color.



By: Julie A Martens

Botanical Names: bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), smooth hydrangea (Hydrangeaarborescens) ‘Annabelle’, ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)

Got a crush on hydrangea shrubs? Try planning a hydrangea garden to satisfy your appetite forthese beautiful bushes. Creating a hydrangea garden design can include a variety of other terrific plants that combine to present a breathtaking landscape. You can plan a hydrangea garden filled with other flowering shrubs and small trees, or you might want to consider developing hydrangea gardens starring only this beautiful group of plants.

The most important thing to consider when planning a hydrangea garden is to give plants enough elbow room. Hydrangea shrubs are tough plants to keep pruned to a smaller size than they naturally tend to grow. Do your homework and make sure you’re giving the plants ample room to reach a mature size.

Most hydrangea macrophyllas, the bigleaf or French types, grow to an average 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, but can grow another foot or two in warmer regions. If your hydrangea garden can only accommodate a plant that’s 30 inches tall and wide, you need a dwarf hydrangea shrub or an entirely different plant.

As you ponder your hydrangea garden design, consider what role the hydrangea shrubs will playin the garden. The role can help you select which type of hydrangea you want to plant. Are you looking for a hedge? Then you might want to plant the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangeaarborescens) ‘Annabelle.’ These hydrangea shrubs have some of the largest flower heads and boast excellent cold tolerance. But the plants tend to be top heavy when flowering, so you’ll need to stake them or pair with something like a boxwood or yew hedge than can help hoist branche soff the ground.

Or maybe you want a specimen, almost tree-like hydrangea to serve as a focal point in a portion of your yard. For that use, you should consider ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata).This hydrangea is pretty much bulletproof — a good choice for beginners. It withstands heat, drought and severe cold. It does grow to 20 feet tall, so it needs some serious space. If your hydrangea garden design is smaller, consider ‘Limelight’, which grows 5 to 8 feet tall, or the smaller ‘Bobo’, which reaches a tidy 3 feet.

Classic perennial planting companions for hydrangeas include peony, daylily, catmint and dianthus. For a shrub planting partner, consider azalea, mountain laurel, rhododendron and pieris. Many gardeners love to pair hydrangea with Japanese maples. ‘Inada Shidare’, ‘Butterfly’ or ‘Tamukeyama’ are fast growers that look great in a hydrangea garden design.

Next Up

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Learn the ins and outs of moving hydrangeas in your landscape.

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Discover the dark secret lurking inside your beautiful hydrangea.

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Sort out the confusion over how much daylight hydrangeas need to grow and bloom.


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