Oakleaf hydrangea
Oakleaf hydrangeas also are natives with hand-sized, pointed leaves and flowers that are cone-shaped instead of round.
George Weigel

Gardeners usually think of hydrangeas as those rounded shrubs with the softball-sized blue flowers in early summer. However, the “bigleaf” or “mophead” type is the most common in a versatile family of shrubs.

Choices are available that grow anywhere from full sun to full shade and that bloom into fall – not just in June.

Hydrangea Varieties:

  • Oakleaf: A U.S. native hydrangea that blooms white or pink in early summer. The flowers are cone-shaped instead of round, and the large, hand-sized leaves turn burgundy in fall.
  • Panicle: This type prefers sunnier spots and has large, cone-shaped flowers that morph from white to pink to rusty-rose over three months in late summer to early fall.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'
Panicle hydrangeas have large, cone-shaped flowers that morph from white to rosy-pink in late summer to fall.
George Weigel
  • Smooth: Also native to the United States, smooth hydrangeas produce big, white, round flowers that bloom in summer. They’re extremely cold-hardy and grow in sun or shade, including dry-shade settings under big trees.
  • Mountain: These look and grow much like bigleaf hydrangeas, but their flower buds are cold-hardier, making them a good choice for cold-climate gardeners whose bigleaf hydrangeas often don’t flower because winter cold killed them.
Forever & Ever™ Blue Heaven Hydrangea
Common hydrangeas are best known – and loved – for their big, round, blue flowers.
George Weigel

Hydrangea Tips

  • Bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas change flower color depending on soil acidity. In acidic soil (pH of 6 or below), they bloom blue. In alkaline soil, they bloom pink.
  • Prune early-summer bloomers, such as bigleaf, mountain and oakleaf hydrangeas, immediately after they finish flowering in early summer. Prune summer-blooming smooth and panicle types at the end of winter before new growth begins.
  • Some new varieties of bigleaf hydrangeas are rebloomers, meaning they flower in June and again late summer into fall.
  • Fertilize hydrangeas in early spring and early fall with an organic-rich, balanced, granular fertilizer.