Red Hydrangea

Got a thing for hydrangeas? Learn about different types of hydrangeas that bring red shades to the garden.
By: Julie A Martens
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Botanical Names: panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), French or bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Introduce hints of red to your garden with red hydrangeas. Of all the hydrangea colors, red blossoms are one that gardeners have wanted for a long time. Many times plants sold as red hydrangeas have actually had deep pink blooms, not a true red. With breeding advancements, however, red hydrangeas have appeared in nurseries, and the red isn’t just showing up in blossoms.

Among the French hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), look for several different red hydrangeas. In the Forever & Ever hydrangea series, there’s a red hydrangea with a mophead type bloom. This is a repeat blooming red hydrangea that blends red flowers with burgundy-red stems. The red blossoms open in a vibrant red hue and fade to purple tones. The plant is hardy in Zone 4 to 9. Forever & Ever red hydrangea forms a tidy shrub, 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It’s a good size for growing along a walkway or tucking into containers.

‘Royal Red’ is another red Hydrangea macrophylla. This hydrangea variety opens 4- to 6-inch-wide flower heads that sparkle in shades of red. Nurseries that carry this red hydrangea suggest adding lime to soil to intensify the red tones. This suggestion hints that the color of the blossoms might be less red in more acidic soils.

‘Lady in Red’ is a lacecap red hydrangea that opens pale pink blooms. As the flowers age, the color deepens to burgundy rose. Red stems give this Hydrangea macrophylla another layer of red, and red leaf veins stand out on leaves. In autumn, the red-veined leaves shift to showcase beautiful purple and burgundy hues. Plant it in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. This red hydrangea grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide and is hardy in Zones 6 to 9.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘William’s Red,’ is a red hydrangea that’s being sold as Fire and Ice hydrangea. This is a panicle hydrangea, so blossoms form in long, showy cone shape clusters.They open creamy white, blush to pale pink, then shift to a bright cotton candy pink. The red tones occur in late summer and fall, when flowers glow a burgundy-magenta hue. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall with a 3- to 4-foot spread. They grow best in part shade and are hardy in Zones 3 to 8.

Another red hydrangea worth considering is oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). With this hydrangea, the red color enters in the fall foliage, which is quite striking. In autumn, the lobed leaves take on shades of burgundy, gold, purple and red. The best fall leaf color occurs onplants that grow in part sun. As shrubs receive more shade, fall leaf color dwindles.

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