Simple to grow Hydrangeas
Renowned for their remarkable flower heads, which come in a range of pretty colours, these versatile garden staples are now very much on-trend and as simple as ever to grow. Photographs by Andrea Jones.
Hydrangeas are a popular choice to grow in the garden and acclaimed for their attractive pretty colour varieties and large mopheads. Our list includes hydrangea varieties that are simple to grow.
Hydrangea Paniculata 'Kyushu'
A compact hyrdrangea cultivar with shiny leaves and lacy, conical hats of sterile and fertile florets. A good hydrangea choice for pots and ideal for small gardens. Upright in habit.
1.5m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-9b.
Hydrangea Paniculata 'Unique'
A large, strong-growing hydrangea shrub. The flower heads are massive, rounded cones of mostly sterile florets, creamy-white flushing purple-pink, then green. Good autumn leaf colour.
2.4m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-10b.
Hydrangea Arborenscens 'Annabelle'
One of the most popular hydrangeas with soft-green leaves and very large, meringue-like heads of creamy-white flowers. Hard prune in late winter. Lax in habit.
1.5m. RHS H6, USDA 4a-9b.
Hydrangea Quercifolia 'Tennessee clone'
Large, irregular hydrangea flower heads of mostly sterile, cream-flushed green florets, which are full and undulating. Dark-green foliage, which turns bronze in autumn. Upright but arching in habit.
1.5m. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9a.
Soft, velvety, dark-green leaves and large, lacecap flower heads of purple, fertile flowers and pale, lilac-mauve sterile florets. A hydrangea best protected from wind and frost, and in light shade.
3m. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Westfalen’
A small compact hydrangea cultivar with shining green leaves and large mophead blooms varying between crimson-purple and rich, violet-blue. A good choice for smaller gardens. 1.2m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Veitchii’
Small, bushy lacecap hydrangea with blueish fertile flowers and large, white, sterile florets that turn pink as they age. Very hardy and a good choice for alkaline soils.
1.2m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pee Wee’
A large hydrangea shrub with big, compact heads of sterile and fertile florets, opening white then flushing pink. Supposedly smaller flowers than Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ but still spectacular.
1.8m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-10b.
Hydrangea paniculata Pinky-Winky (= ‘Dvppinky’)
Rounded hydrangea shrub carrying elongated white heads of sterile florets that turn pink from the base while those at the top are still white.
1.2m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 3a-8b.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Le Vasterival’
An unusual hydrangea cultivar with open cones of white, fertile flowers overlaid with large, starry-white sterile florets, which eventually fade to deep pink. Reliable and showy.
1.8m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-8b.
Unusual hydrangea with nettle-like leaves and heads of tiny, white to purple-blue, fertile florets in late spring and early summer. Best in light shade and protected from wind and late frosts.
90cm. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’
The most popular and widely planted hydrangea cultivar with large, conical heads of sterile florets. Soft, lime-green flowers, becoming white, eventually green flushed pink. Upright and vigorous.
1.8m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 3a-9b.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’
Strong, upright stems bearing large heads of mostly white, sterile florets, turning coral pink by autumn. Spectacular and showy; ideal at the back of a perennial border.
1.5m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 3a-10b.
Hydrangea involucrata ‘Hortensis’
Lovely, low-growing hydrangea shrub with branched stems and soft-green leaves. Loose heads of pinkish, fertile florets and double creamy-pink, sterile florets are spectacular in late summer.
75cm. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Fuji-no-taki’
A dainty lacecap hydrangea with white, double, fertile and sterile florets – the outer ones carried on long stalks creating a sparkling firework effect. Upright and compact.
90cm. RHS H5, USDA 5a-8b.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Greenspire’
Upright stems carry lacy cones of tiny, fertile flowers studded with large, sterile ones, green at first then becoming pink. A more open, airy hydrangea shrub than most.
1.5m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’
Quite unlike other mophead hydrangeas, ‘Ayesha’ has domed heads of thick, sepal, lilac-like flowers varying from mauve-pink to sky blue. Delicately fragrant and excellent for cutting.
1.2m. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea quercifolia Snow Queen (= ‘Flemygea’)
Upright heads of large, creamy-white, sterile florets, turning pink as they age. Dark-green leaves turn bronze-red in autumn. Upright in habit.
1.5m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 5a-10b.
Hydrangea quercifolia Snowflake (= ‘Brido’)
This hydrangea has arching branches carry large, conical heads of double, sterile florets, opening creamy-white, blushing pink. Dark-green leaves. Upright but lax in habit.
1.5m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zorro’ Vigorous
Purple-black upright stems with widely spaced, dark-green leaves. Flattened lacecap flower heads carry ultramarine, sterile florets. This hydrangea is lighter in habit and more open.
1.8m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 5a-8b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Quadricolor’
An attractive hydrangea shrub with variegated foliage; the leaves edged with pale-green, white and soft yellow. Sparkling lacecap heads are pale lilac-pink or ice blue; dainty against the leaves.
1.5m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillère’
The finest white hydrangea mophead with flamboyant heads of large florets with serrated edges to the sepals. The tiny ‘eyes’ vary from pink to blue.
1.8m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea paniculata Vanille Fraise (= ‘renhy’)
A popular hydrangea cultivar with large flower heads of sterile florets, which are creamy-white turning pink. Loose and spreading, it can be spoiled by rain.
1.2m. RHS H5, USDA 4a-8b.
Hydrangea involucrata ‘Multiplex’
A recent introduction from Japan with large, hairy, dark-green leaves and domed heads of pink to purple-blue, fertile flowers surrounded by double, white-pink, sterile florets. 90cm. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Rotschwanz’
Sometimes sold as ‘Red Star’ or ‘Redstart’. A striking lacecap hydrangea with dark-green leaves flushed red. The starry, sterile florets are crimson or red-purple.
1.5m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Jogasaki’
Unusual lacecap with dainty, double florets carried around a cluster of fertile florets. Varying from pink to blue, blooms are three-dimensional and less formal than most Hortensias. 1.5m. RHS H5, USDA 6a-9b.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blaumeise’
Large, vigorous lacecap hydrangea with deep-green foliage. The bold flower heads are dominated by dense rings of large, sterile florets that vary from lilac-purple to deep blue.
1.8m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.
Hydrangea paniculata Bobo (= ‘Ilvobo’)
New, neat and compact hydrangea cultivar ideal for containers and small gardens. Large, rounded conical heads of creamy-white, sterile florets that become pink, then flush green.
90cm. USDA 3a-8b.
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