- Caring For Hardy Hydrangeas: Learn About Zone 7 Hydrangea Planting
- Hydrangeas for Zone 7
- Zone 7 Hydrangea Planting
- 5 Tips for Growing Gorgeous Hydrangeas
- Welcome To The Blog That Gives You The Plant Grower’s Perspective!
- Hydrangeas For Full Sun Locations
- Hydrangea Paniculata Varieties
- Hardy Hydrangea
Caring For Hardy Hydrangeas: Learn About Zone 7 Hydrangea Planting
Gardeners have no shortage of choices when it comes to choosing hydrangea for zone 7, where the climate is well suited for a huge variety of hardy hydrangeas. Here is a list of just a few zone 7 hydrangeas, along with a few of their most significant characteristics.
Hydrangeas for Zone 7
When choosing zone 7 hydrangeas for the landscape, consider the following varieties:
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), zones 5-9, common cultivars include:
- ‘PeeWee,’ dwarf variety, white blooms fading to pink, foliage turns red and purple in autumn
- ‘Snow Queen,’ deep pink blooms, foliage turns dark red to bronze in autumn
- ‘Harmony,’ white blooms
- ‘Alice,’ rich pink blooms, foliage turns burgundy in autumn
Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), zones 6-9, two flower types: Mophead and Lacecaps, cultivars and bloom colors include:
- ‘Endless summer,’ bright pink or blue blooms (Mophead cultivar)
- ‘Pia,’ pink blooms (Mophead cultivar)
- ‘Penny-Mac,’ blue or pink flowers depending on soil pH (Mophead cultivar)
- ‘Fuji Waterfall,’ double white blooms, fading to pink or blue (Mophead cultivar)
- ‘Beaute Vendomoise,’ large, pale pink or blue blooms (Lacecap cultivar)
- ‘Blue Wave,’ deep pink or blue blooms (Lacecap cultivar)
- ‘Lilacina,’ pink or blue flowers (Lacecap cultivar)
- ‘Veitchii,’ white blooms fading to pink or pastel blue (Lacecap cultivar)
Smooth hydrangea/wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), zones 3-9, cultivars include:
- ‘Annabelle,’ white blooms
- ‘Hayes Starburst,’ white blooms
- ‘Hills of Snow’/’Grandiflora,’ white blooms
PeeGee hydrangea/Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), zones 3-8, cultivars include:
- ‘Brussels Lace,’ mottled pink blooms
- ‘Chantilly Lace,’ white blooms fading to pink
- ‘Tardiva,’ white blooms turning purplish-pink
Serrated hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata), zones 6-9, cultivars include:
- ‘Blue Bird,’ pink or blue flowers, depending on soil pH
- ‘Beni-Gaku,’ white flowers turning purple and red with age
- ‘Preziosa,’ pink flowers turn bright red
- ‘Grayswood,’ white flowers turning pale pink, then burgundy
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris), zones 4-7, showy creamy white to white flowers
Hydrangea aspera, zones 7-10, white, pink or purple flowers
Evergreen climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea seemanni), zones 7-10, white flowers
Zone 7 Hydrangea Planting
While their care is pretty straightforward, when growing hydrangea bushes in zone 7 gardens, there are a few things to keep in mind for successful, vigorous plant growth.
Hydrangeas require rich, well-drained soil. Plant hydrangea where the shrub is exposed to morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in warmer climates within zone 7. Autumn is the best time for hydrangea planting.
Water hydrangeas regularly, but beware of overwatering.
Watch for pests such as spider mites, aphidsand scale. Spray pests with insecticidal soap spray.
Apply 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.) of mulch in late autumn to protect the roots during the coming winter.
5 Tips for Growing Gorgeous Hydrangeas
Help With Hydrangeas
Photo by Nina Bramhall
They’re a summertime staple in yards across the country: big orbs of blue on the outstretched arms of leafy shrubs. These so-called mopheads (a type of H. macrophylla) were imported from Japan, China, and Europe in the 19th century. But there are also delicate lacecaps that have flat heads dotted with color and ringed with four-petaled florets, and panicle hydrangeas with white cone-shaped flowers. There are also easy-care species native to the U.S., such as the shade-tolerant oakleaf hydrangea and cold-hardy smooth hydrangea.
Need a little help coaxing your own hydrangeas to perform better? Growing hydrangeas doesn’t have to be hard. We’ve got answers to the most common queries about growing these garden favorites. We’ll tell you how to care for hydrangeas, how to help them bloom, and the best places to plant them in the Q&A below.
Shown: Many H. macrophylla varieties can produce pink to deep blue blooms (even on the same plant), depending on the soil’s pH.
My Hydrangeas Just Don’t Bloom
Photo by Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries
Q: Often my hydrangeas just don’t bloom. Am I doing something wrong?
A: Take a good look at how they’re sited. Hydrangeas generally need some sun and like some shade. In the South, nurseries grow them under pines or shade houses to filter sunlight. “For most hydrangeas, the farther north they are, the more sun they can stand,” says horticulturist Michael Dirr. “In the South, they can get away with just three hours of sun.” Hydrangeas in Southern gardens should be planted in locations with morning sun and afternoon shade; in the North they can do well in full sun as long as they get plenty of water and aren’t subjected to dry winter winds. Temperature is as much an issue as sun, particularly for mopheads, which are susceptible to drooping from heat stress. They love a coastal setting, where breezes dissipate the heat, and thrive in the salty air. If full sun exposure and high heat are issues, you might try another old-time favorite, peegee hydrangea (H. paniculata ‘Grandiflora’), which can withstand those conditions. If, on the other hand, your yard is short on sun, try oakleaf hydrangea, which prefers partial shade.
Another issue that can affect bloom is a late-spring or early-fall cold snap; the buds on bigleaf hydrangea (H. macrophylla) are particularly vulnerable because they flower on the previous year’s growth. If unpredictable frosts are a problem where you live, consider two cold-hardy types: smooth hydrangea, which is native from New York to Florida and as far west as Arkansas; and peegee hydrangea, which is also the most drought tolerant. A popular native, H. arborescens is prized as a reliable bloomer in cold climates.
Last, consider how and when you prune. If you’re cutting off more than just dead branches or spent blossoms in fall or early spring, you’re removing the old wood, which carries the new season’s buds for H. macrophylla “And I always use half the amount of fertilizer recommended on the label,” says Dirr. “That way you’ll be encouraging blooms and not more leafy growth.”
Shown: Usually seen as the classic white ‘Annabelle,’ this pink ‘Bella Anna’ (shown) is a brand-new hybrid that reblooms all summer.
Photo by Webb Chappell
Q: That raises the question: Should I be pruning at all?
A: If your hydrangeas are sited correctly, with enough room to grow, the only pruning required is to remove dead wood—be sure to take it off at the base of the plant if the whole branch is dead—and spent flowers. In Dirr’s experience, all hydrangeas benefit from regular dead-heading to encourage more blooms. Left unpruned, they will produce fewer flowers because of a growth-inhibiting chemical released by the terminal bud at the tip of the stem. Don’t prune past August, though, because any new growth is susceptible to an early-fall freeze.
“Whether to prune hydrangeas is often debated, but studies have shown that dead-heading spent flowers definitely encourages more and bigger blooms,” say horticulturalist Michael Dirr.
Shown: TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook clips large flowers from a mature peegee. These tree-like shrubs reach up to 25 feet tall, with white to pink conical-shaped, mid-to-late-summer blooms.
Photo by Blickwinkel/Alamy
Q: What’s the story with reblooming hydrangeas?
A: One way to guard against the vagaries of mistakenly cutting off buds or losing them to a cold snap is to grow some of the newer reblooming hybrids. These have become staples at home centers since their first introduction, in 2004. Some to consider are ‘Endless Summer,’ a blue mophead, and ‘Twist and Shout,’ a pink to blue lacecap (go to Endless Summer Collection for stores). ‘Let’s Dance Moonlight’ is a new reblooming pink mophead (go to Monrovia for stores). These hybrids bloom throughout the summer on both the current and past year’s growth, so they will produce blooms on the new growth even if the old growth is nipped in the bud by cold temperatures.
Shown: The big blue ‘Endless Summer’ hybrid mophead (shown) reblooms all season.
Photo by Courtesy of Monrovia
Q: Is it okay to transplant my hydrangeas now?
A: It’s easy to move hydrangeas. Just prune mature shrubs down to a manageable size, and dig up as large a root ball as you can handle. Place it in a new hole, backfill, add a slow-release fertilizer, water well, and top dress with 2 inches of organic compost. Though you can move a hydrangea anytime, it’s best to do so when it’s dormant, in early spring or late fall. For oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas, dormancy is key.
Shown: Oakleaf varieties produce spectacular fall color and late-summer white to pink blooms.
Multiply Your Plants
Photo by Rob Walls/Alamy
Hydrangeas respond well to several propagation techniques, including layering and dividing. But Dirr’s method for rooting softwood cuttings in summer will yield a bunch of new plants in about four weeks.
To do it, locate a stem of softwood between the hard, woody growth at the bottom of the plant and the fleshy green tip by bending it; softwood should snap cleanly. Cut a softwood shoot that has several leaves. Trim it into 5-inch-long pieces that each have a leaf toward the top. Remove extra leaves; Dirr goes a step further and cuts the remaining leaf in half to minimize evaporation (and the need for watering). Dip the other end in powdered rooting hormone; plant the cuttings in trays filled with a soilless mix and perlite. Cover with a plastic bag, and stash in a shady location, misting regularly to keep the leaf hydrated. After four weeks, tug on it to check for roots; once roots are developed, transplant to a bigger pot and feed with a slow-release fertilizer. By next spring, cuttings will be ready to go in the ground.
If you want a garden that explodes with color, you can’t miss with hydrangeas. These carefree shrubs open their big, beautiful flowers every summer, adding pops of pink, blue, lavender, and snowy-white to the landscape.
Susanne Hudson is a gardener and interior designer in Douglasville, Georgia, who grows more than 200 of these spectacular shrubs around her restored Greek Revival home. Here are a few things to do before you plant hydrangeas in your yard:
- Choose the right location. Hydrangeas like moist, well-drained soil, and most need partial shade, especially in hot climates. (Avoid deep shade, though, or you won’t get many flowers, and don’t plant directly under trees, where the roots would compete for water and nutrients). In general, hydrangeas can take more sun in northern climates than in southern parts of the U.S. Read the tag on your plant to be sure you’re giving it what it requires.
- Plant after your last spring frost. Many hydrangeas bloom on the previous year’s growth, so a late freeze will kill new flower buds. Or grow re-blooming hydrangeas, like those in the ‘Endless Summer‘ collection. Proven Winners ‘Incrediball’ is another good choice. These plants bloom on the current year’s growth. Gardeners who don’t get hit by a cold snap will get two flushes of flowers each season.
- Dig a hole at least twice as big as the plant’s root ball. You may need to loosen hard or compacted soil with compost, aged manure, perlite, or other soil amendments.
- Water thoroughly after planting, and mulch to retain moisture.
- Many hydrangeas don’t need fertilizing, because the nutrients in the soil are sufficient. However, you can use a slow release fertilizer or a 10-10-10, applied in early spring and again in early fall.
Hydrangeas For Your Region
If you live and garden in the Northern U.S., try Hydrangea paniculatas, which are the most cold hardy hydrangeas. ‘Limelight,’ ‘Pinky Winky,’ and ‘Grandiflora,’ also known as ‘PeeGee,’ are great choices for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7. Some gardeners can grow ‘Annabelle,’ H. arborescens, as far north as zone 3.
In the Southeast, try oakleaf hydrangeas, H. quercifolia, one of two hydrangea species that are native to the U.S. Oakleaf hydrangeas are best suited for moist woodland gardens, or the edge of woodlands. Their foliage takes on shades of deep mahogany, green, and rust in autumn, and the peeling bark is attractive.
Smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens, is the other native American species. It’s rated for USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9 and grows from New York to Florida, and west to Iowa and Louisiana.
Gardeners in zones 4 to 7 can also grow climbing hydrangea, H. anomala petiolaris. This is a clinging vine that grows slowly, but eventually reaches 80 feet in height, if grown onto a structure. (Warning: it’s difficult to pull these plants down, if you decide to remove them, and they leave marks. Use them only where you want them to remain.)
Southern gardeners can grow the old-fashioned mopheads, H. macrophylla, also called the bigleaf, French, garden or florist’s hydrangea. Mopheads are rated to USDA cold hardiness zone 6.
Gardeners in zone 10 can try hydrangeas in containers. Grow them in the shade or in cool sunrooms.
Susanne Hudson’s Tips For Hydrangeas:
- Grow hydrangeas in pots for your porch or deck. Use a big container and lots of dirt, so you won’t have to water often.
- If your garden gets a lot of sun, don’t despair. There are hydrangeas for both sun and shade.
- The pH of your soil determines whether you get pink or blue flowers on many hydrangeas, You can change some hydrangea blooms from blue to pink by adding dolomitic lime to your soil, or from pink to blue by using aluminum sulfate. Susanne doesn’t tinker with the soil. “I leave the color to Mother Nature, and it turns out great.”
- Want to add winter interest to your potted hydrangeas? Add a small evergreen to the container.
- Add a few old farm tools, like rusty hoes or rakes, to your pots. Look for them at yard sales, or use whatever you have. Susanne substitutes metal poles for the original wooden handles, so the wood won’t rot, and sticks the tools into the pots upside down. Voila—you’ve got a vintage-look “tool bouquet.”
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Hydrangeas For Full Sun Locations
When a person thinks of where to place hydrangeas in a landscape, they tend to think of a shady or part shade location. Well now we have a solution if you want to grow beautiful hydrangeas in full sun, with panicle hydrangeas. Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) grow best in full sun to light shade. Panicle hydrangeas grow from three feet to ten feet tall, but it depends on what variety you choose. These hydrangeas are extremely cold hardy with planting zones ranging from zones three to eight. They grow in moist, but well drained soil and bloom on new wood. The flowers will bloom in a conical shape that adds a different look to a landscape or garden. Here is a description of some popular varieties of panicle hydrangeas.
Hydrangea Paniculata Varieties
Limelight Hydrangea is an astonishing hydrangea with bright lime-green flowers. The flower color is unusual and because it blooms in late summer it adds a nice feature in the landscape during that time. It covers itself with huge flower heads measuring from six to twelve inches. Trim the flower heads in early spring when new growth begins. The leaves turn shades of yellow in fall, and flower heads turn a light pink. Limelight hydrangeas will grow six to eight feet wide by six to eight feet tall. The hardiness zone is 3 to 8.
Pinky Winky Hydrangea is a newer hydrangea varieity and has very unique, large bi-colored, white and pink flowers that look nice against the dark green foliage of the plant. Unlike the Pee Gee Hydrangea it has sturdy red stems that hold the large, twelve to sixteen inch blooms upright on the plant and doesn’t droop. As the flower heads on Pinky Winky continue to grow throughout the season the older flowers turn dark pink and the new flowers continue to emerge white. This plant is an outstanding plant for summer and fall landscape features. Pinky Winky blooms on new wood. You can’t go wrong with this superior shrub. It’s an excellent choice for a specimen plant, or in creating an massive flowering hedge. Also it’s fantastic to use in groups and mass plantings and shrub borders. Pinky Winky hydrangeas grow five to six feet wide by six to eight feet wide. The hardiness zone is 3 to 8.
Quick Fire hydrangea best noted for it’s early bloom time, begins blooming about 4 weeks earlier that other hydrangea varieties and extends from early summer into fall. Quick Fire hydrangea blooms late in the spring and has large, cone-shaped flower heads that turn from white to rich deep pink much earlier than other panicle hydrangeas The flower buds are produced on new wood and will bloom even after harsh unforgiving. Great plant for using as a fresh cut or dried flower. Perfect for use in groupings or masses, shrub borders, hedges, and screens. Quick Fire hydrangeas grow six to eight feet wide and six to eight feet tall. The hardiness zone is zone 3 to 9.
Little Lime hydrangea has all the appeal and color of a Limelight but in a dwarf version. Little Lime sets flowers in lat summer and produces large, tightly packed, green blooms. Flowers are developed on new growth and will reliably appear each year. Little Lime Hydrangea is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Little Lime grows three to five feet tall and wide. The hardiness zone is 3 to 8.
This is a list of what I think are the most popular full sun panicle hydrangeas but there are alot more varieties of panicle hydrangeas to pick from.
Everyone knows that hydrangea are hot, hot, hot. But have you ever thought about where breeding is taking hydrangeas? For a better part of the United States the answer may be improved hardiness and more reliable flowering. French Hydrangea -Hydrangea macrophylla is notorious its hit and miss flowering. This mysterious lack of flowers lies in the flower buds. The flower buds are formed in early autumn and are over-wintered. If the buds are damaged by an early autumn frost, low winter temperatures, a late spring frost or by an untimely pruning, the plant will not flower. As the gardening public (and garden centers operators) begin to understand that French hydrangeas are not reliable bloomers, they’re going to be looking for a hydrangea that is hardy and reliable.
Hardy hydrangea – Hydrangea paniculata may just be the plant everyone’s been looking for. It’s a very hardy plant (USDA zone 4) and forms its buds in early summer just before it blooms in mid-summer. The flowers which appear in July or August make great cut flowers or can be easily dried to create lovely arrangements. Growing this hydrangea couldn’t be easier. Plant it in full sun and watch it grow. It’s adaptable to a wide range of soils and has no serious pests. For extra large flowers, plants can be cut back very hard in early spring.
Limelight Without a doubt the best looking plant in my garden right now is Limelight Hydrangea. When I first saw this plant in the Netherlands, my initial reaction was “Cool a hydrangea with soft green flowers, … but wouldn’t pink be ever better. After getting the plant back to the U.S., watching the plant grow, and watching people’s reaction to the plant, I began to realize that this was one very special plant. After growing the plant for six years I’ve come to realize that this plant is one in a million.
Limelight has it all! Not only is it drop dead gorgeous, it is also a performer. Gardeners from Orlando to Manitoba have sent me emails telling me how well this plant delivers. A landscaper from Chicago told me that he uses the plant in every design he creates. He said that nearly all of his landscapes are in new neighborhoods with few trees. Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) reblooming or not, cannot take the heat and sun. They simply collapse under these conditions. Limelight on the other hand thrives. It takes sun or shade, sand or clay soils. In the North or in the South it has proven itself to be a winner.
Besides its unique flowers and its superb adaptability, there are several other things that make this plant a Proven Winner. It has very strong stems that hold up its massive flowers even after a heavy rain. The old standard variety – Pee Gee Hydrangea, deserves to be thrown on the compost heap because it is notorious for collapsing under its own weight. Also, if you watch Limelight closely you will notice it keeps sending up fresh new flowers. It blooms continuously from mid-summer until frost. This results in a unique autumn floral display – while the older flowers change from green to white to pink to burgundy, new green flowers are added to the color mix. In the autumn this wide range of flower colors is simply breathtaking. Want to create something really incredible? A friend of mine has a 50 yard long hedge of Limelight (photo below left) running along side his driveway. People whizzing past his house at 55 mph literally slam on their breaks when they see it.
Limelight was developed by world renowned plantsman Pieter Zwijnenburg. Pieter and his wife Anja own a nursery in Boskoop, Netherlands. Pieter received the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s Gold Medal Award for this very special plant.
Pinky Winky (photo above right) is the creation of Dr. Johan Van Huylenbroeek. What makes Pinky Winky so special and unique is its white and pink two-toned flower heads that appear in mid-summer. The large, 16 inch long flower heads (panicles) emerge white and the flowers at the base of the panicle quickly turn pink. The flowering is indeterminate, meaning they continue to push new white flowers from the tip of the panicle while the older flowers transform to rich pink. As an added bonus the flower heads are held upright on strong stems and don’t droop. The plant also exhibits dark green foliage which makes for a nice backdrop for its beautiful flowers. Like all paniculata hydrangeas Pinky Winky blooms regardless of climate, soil, pH or pruning. Use it as a specimen plant or to create a spectacular flowering hedge. Yes – Pinky Winky is a strange name for such a beautiful plant but it’s a name you can’t forget. I ask Johan about the name and he told me it was derived from a character on a children’s television program called Teletubbies! Despite the name, Pinky Winky Hydrangea will find a wide following with adults. It is distinct, beautiful and easy to grow.
Little Lamb Hydrangea (photos below) is a sweet compact hardy Hydrangea from Jelena DeBelder of Belgium. Little Lamb is unique because it’s flower petals are the smallest of any Hydrangea. These diminutive little flowers are held in tight but delicate little flower heads that look like little dancing lambs floating above this compact shrub. This special shrub blooms in mid-summer and last into autumn. The pure white blooms light up a garden and blend wonderfully with all other colors. Use The Little Lamb in bouquets either fresh or dried to make a unique floral design. This is an easy to grow plant with reliable flowering and flower color regardless of soil pH or winter temperatures. The blooms are well distributed making a very nice plant and display.
Quick Fire (photos below) is a blaze of color and a Hydrangea breakthrough, in that it blooms months earlier than older varieties, extending the bloom time and beauty from early summer through autumn. Not only does this variety bloom early, its blooms change from white to a rich pinkish-red before other varieties even start to flower. A remarkable plant that is changing the way we garden.This is a very hardy selection that blooms reliably every year, no matter where you live or how you prune. Absolutely no fussing or guessing like with other Hydrangea.
By Tim Wood All rights reserved © Spring Meadow Nursery
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