Learn the 8 different types of hydrangeas here. Very detailed.
Hydrangeas are a super popular gardening flower.
However, what you may not know is that there are several types.
Table of Contents
- Bigleaf Hydrangeas
- Lacecap Hydrangeas
- Mophead Hydrangeas
- Mountain Hydrangeas
- Smooth Hydrangea
- Panicle Hydrangea
- Oakleaf Hydrangea
- Climbing Hydrangea
This is definitely the most common type of hydrangea that you will see anywhere. It is still a very beautiful plant that has become popular with many enthusiasts. It is commonly seen in people’s gardens as a way to add a bit of color to their beds. The scientific name for this plant is Hydrangea macrophylla.
Interestingly, there are other names that this plant is known by in different parts of the world. You may have heard this plant referred to as the garden hydrangea or the florist’s hydrangea in the past. Some even call it the French hydrangea due to its prevalence in that country. Regardless of the name you choose, this is certainly a widely used plant that is a staple in many gardens.
You can further differentiate these bigleaf hydrangeas into three distinct categories. The differences between these three types mostly have to do with the way they look in regards to the leaves. All three of the different styles are very popular and commonly seen. You might even have some of these variations in your garden right now.
These pretty little hydrangeas are also known by their scientific name, Hydrangea macrophylla normalis. The interesting aspect of these variations of the hydrangea is how their blooms work. They have little buds in the center of the flower that are quite fertile. Eventually, this bud will bloom out to create a huge flower.
They’re sought after for how pretty they are but that does not make them any rarer than their fellow bigleaf hydrangeas. Using these flowers to help a certain part of your garden stand out is highly recommended. They have a lot of immediate visual appeal. Huge blooms draw the attention of the eye in a desirable way and the vibrancy of their color is also quite nice.
Another interesting fact about the flowers on these lacecap hydrangeas is that they are actually sterile. They only exist to gain the attention of the different pollinator insects in the wild. Butterflies and bees are both very attracted to these flowers so you will have plenty of beneficial insects in your garden when you have a few lacecap hydrangeas around.
It can definitely be said that these mophead hydrangeas are what people most often think of when someone brings up this line of plants. They would be the most common variation of the most common type of bigleaf hydrangea. This doesn’t mean that the flower is plain, though, because this plant definitely holds plenty of beauty inside of it. So many people plant these mophead hydrangeas every year in their gardens and they are something everyone looks forward to seeing in bloom.
For the most part, these flowers come in blue, purple, and pink variations. They are very easily recognizable due to their bright colors and thick leaves. The actual flowers themselves are even somewhat heart-shaped, giving them a bit of a romantic connotation. These plants can grow pretty big, too, as they can be six inches long and five inches wide.
There are instances where a mophead hydrangea can grow beyond these measurements. It is just most common to see them stick within those measurements with their growth patterns. They usually do not grow too far out from their leaf stems so they may appear to be sort of bunched up, depending on the circumstances.
If you are looking to add some of these mophead hydrangeas to your garden, then it is important to note that they are sensitive to the cold. Generally speaking, they can be fairly durable during the warm months. The flowers themselves are just particularly fickle when it comes to dealing with colder temperatures. These flowers may not survive the winter months so be aware of this frailty before making your planting decisions.
The third and final type of bigleaf hydrangea is known as the mountain hydrangea. This little plant is definitely a beautiful variation of the bigleaf hydrangea and it is characterized by having smaller flowers than usual. These plants may have smaller flowers than the other variations but they have some major advantages over the two other types of bigleaf hydrangeas. The most important difference is that this plant is much hardier than its cousins.
You can get mountain hydrangeas to survive in harsher and colder climates than you would with the other variations. This makes them ideal for use in colder parts of the world where temperatures are going to dip low on a regular basis. Their extremely durable nature will allow them to survive even harsh winters so you can definitely count on enjoying these plants as long as you continue to take care of them. The ease with which you can care for this type of hydrangea makes it a very popular option, and it is definitely something you would enjoy having in your garden.
The scientific name for this type of bigleaf hydrangea is Hydrangea macrophylla ssp. serrata. Overall, these are quite a bit less common than the other types of bigleaf hydrangeas. The reason for this is because of the popularity of the other two variations due to their larger leaves and remarkable vibrancy. Despite this, the mountain hydrangea remains a popular option for people to use in their gardens.
Important Information about Bigleaf Hydrangeas
Now that you know about the different styles of bigleaf hydrangeas, it’s important to learn a little bit of information about what makes these plants unique. Firstly, these plants are named bigleaf hydrangeas for a reason. They are remarkable for their larger leaves that are seen as very beautiful, making them desirable for use in different gardens. These leaves are all fairly thick and can grow up to six inches long and five inches wide.
Most of the bigleaf hydrangeas you will be caring for in your garden will prefer to have a bit of shade. You do not want to go overboard with the shade, though, as this could prevent it from budding as much as it normally would. These plants usually bloom between the months of June and July, making them the perfect choice for adding color and excitement to a summer garden. For the best results in raising them, it is ideal to keep their soil moist while also remembering to drain it well.
You need to be vigilant about watering your hydrangeas. They can be prone to wilting if there is a drought. Luckily, it isn’t too difficult to keep up with watering these plants. Simply check their soil from time to time and you will be in a good position to keep them healthy all summer long. The mountain hydrangeas are a bit hardier than the other two types but you should still try to take care of the plant as diligently as the others for the best results.
A slightly uncommon fact about these hydrangeas is that you can change the color by altering certain conditions in the soil. The overall acidity of the soil is what will determine the color of your hydrangea. You can alter the pH balance of the soil you are using to force it into being a certain color. This is actually an easy process and you will be able to pick between growing blue, purple, and pink hydrangeas.
The next major type of hydrangea to discuss is the smooth hydrangea. They have an overall wild look to them, which has lead to them being commonly referred to as the wild hydrangea. This type of hydrangea is actually native to the United States of America and you can see it growing wild in some places within the country. For the most part, you are still more likely to see this plant as a part of someone’s garden.
The scientific name for this type of hydrangea is Hydrangea arborescens. As you might expect, the word is actually derived from the word arbor due to it having some similarities to trees. These similarities have to do with the way it branches out and also the size of the plant. It is undeniably very pretty and is quite distinct from the bigleaf variety discussed above.
When looking at the characteristics of the smooth hydrangea, it is most apparent that this is a huge plant. It can grow up to six feet tall in many cases; because of this, people often decide to plant it as a hedge-style piece. They work perfectly alongside different bushes and shrubbery to add a little color to your property. Their height makes them well-suited to standing alongside certain trees as well so there are a variety of utilities you can find for them in your garden spaces.
Important Information about the Smooth Hydrangea
Hot weather will not be a big issue for these variations of the hydrangea. They are very resistant to even the hottest of climates, making them an ideal solution for adding color to your landscape when you live in a doggedly hot environment. You should still do your best to care for them well but it won’t take a lot of babying these plants in order for them to thrive. It is a great plant for people who want to have a beautiful piece in their garden that they know will survive the dry heat.
Taking care of your smooth hydrangea will not be too difficult of a task. It is incredibly hardy so you will not have to worry about being too particular with it. It can be exposed to full sunlight without any worries and it also enjoys partial shade from time to time. Plenty of sun can actually help it to grow large in many ways but the occasional shade will be a good counter-balance to give it a break from the harshness of the sun.
Smooth hydrangeas bloom between the months of June and September. This is a much longer period of time than some hydrangeas might take to bloom but this is dependent on several factors. It can be difficult to accurately predict when your plant will start to bloom but you can use this time frame as a general guideline. The flowers themselves are usually going to be white.
These white flowers are a lot smaller than the flowers of the bigleaf hydrangeas but they are still very pretty. They can wind up changing colors over time and they may appear as green when they first start blooming. After maturing for a little while, most of these flowers will turn white. Their white color will help them to stand out in your garden and will certainly bring a visual appeal all its own.
The next type of hydrangea to examine is the uniquely beautiful panicle hydrangea. One of the simplest ways to identify this plant visually is to look out for the cone-shaped blooms that it has. The flower heads definitely stand out with their cone-like appearance and it is also interesting how large these blooms can be. They can wind up being as long as eighteen inches in some cases.
Most of the flowers, also referred to as panicles, will at least be six inches long. The color of these flowers will typically be white when they first bloom. Once the plant has had some time to mature, the flowers will begin to turn pink in many situations. Sometimes the flowers may remain white for a longer period of time but it can be difficult to predict whether this will happen or not.
These plants look so different than other hydrangeas because of the cone-shaped panicles. Other hydrangeas have more bulbous-looking flowers so it would not be surprising for certain individuals to not think this would be in the hydrangea family at first glance. They are definitely unique and many people hold them as prized parts of their gardens.
Typically, the leaves on this type of hydrangea can be six inches long and four inches wide. There are some similarities visually to the mophead hydrangea but the leaves are overall much rougher and thinner on this plant. The color of green on the leaves of this plant is really very pretty as it is somewhere in between light and dark green. The flower blooms definitely stand out well in contrast to the green of these leaves.
Important Information on Panicle Hydrangeas
You should be happy to hear that this plant is very resistant to cold temperatures. It is native to both China and Japan so it has grown used to a wide range of temperatures. If you live in a place that is prone to cold snaps, this plant will be a great choice for your garden. It can survive sudden coldness and will remain beautiful in appearance.
Flowering usually occurs between July and September. Once the flowers do come out they will last for a very long time. This is great as you will be able to enjoy the visually stunning appeal of this plant in bloom for many months. As an added benefit, this plant is able to handle direct sunlight and you should ensure that it gets at least several hours of sun daily.
These types of hydrangeas are popularly used as large shrubs and can even be paired with trees. They will work nicely to add some color to your yard, especially if the flowers have turned to a shade of pink. The flowers are so pretty that lots of people even decide to make use of them in floral displays. There are certainly many uses for this incredible plant.
When you look at an oakleaf hydrangea, it is easy to see why so many people cherish it as a favorite plant. It has a very clean-looking flower style that is appealing in a completely different way than the other types of hydrangeas. Aside from the way the flowers look, this plant sticks out for having markedly different leaves than the other hydrangeas you will come across.
The leaves on an oakleaf hydrangea are really reminiscent of oak tree leaves. Its scientific name is Hydrangea quercifolia, based on the old Latin word for oak tree. The shape is certainly very similar to that of an oak tree and this plant will even turn to a different color during the fall, similarly to what happens to the leaves of a tree. It is an astounding plant that can be a pleasure to place in your yard.
This plant is native to the United States of America, just as the smooth hydrangea that was examined above. The flower heads on this plant bear a small similarity to the panicle hydrangea as they are cone-shaped. They can grow in two different ways as either a single blossom or a double blossom. They maintain their similarities to the panicle hydrangea by blooming as white flowers and eventually becoming pink as they mature.
You will find that this style of hydrangea is one of the most popular for many reasons. Its flowers will bloom fairly early in the summer and can last all the way through until close to the fall. Once the autumn season has begun, you will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the leaves turning into different colors. These colors could be red or might even have an orange hue but either way, they will look quite stunning.
Important Information about the Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hardiness is one of the key features that people enjoy about owning an oakleaf hydrangea. They can stand up to a variety of different conditions without being harmed. Dry weather is not a big issue for these plants so you can feel safe planting them in places well known for having dry heat. They are also quite capable of withstanding wintry weather so you can plant them in colder environments as well.
The big difference to recognize with these plants is that they do prefer drier soil. When you water this plant, it is absolutely imperative that you drain it well. If you let the soil stay soggy, this plant will be prone to becoming over-watered, leading to issues with the plant continuing to thrive. It should not be too difficult of a task to remember to drain the soil after watering.
The final type of hydrangea to take note of is the climbing hydrangea. As the name would imply, this variation of the hydrangea is popularly used to grow on climbing planters. Some people even attempt to grow these on small pillars or on the side of a structure using a sort of lattice. This plant grows on a vine, making it perfect for this sort of gardening.
It received the scientific name Hydrangea animola ssp. petiolaris and is definitely one of the types of hydrangeas that stands out the most. It is the only variety of hydrangea that grows on a vine. When given the proper conditions, this plant has been known to grow as high as eighty feet into the air. It is certainly remarkable that this plant has that capability and it is something that you could use to create some unique landscaping looks.
The flowers on this plant are similar to the lacecap hydrangeas of the bigleaf variety. They will be white flowers that smell really nice. A lot of people like having them in their gardens simply because of how fragrant they are. You will be able to experience the blooming of these flowers anywhere between June and late July, generally speaking.
This plant is originally native to Asia. For this reason, some people refer to this as the Japanese hydrangea vine. You might be disappointed by this plant if you want to see instant results. It does not grow quickly at all and can even take several years to show significant signs of growth.
Important Information about the Climbing Hydrangea
You need to understand that growing this variety of hydrangea is going to take a long commitment. It will not be something you will see great results from in the first few seasons. If you are able to exercise the proper patience, you will be rewarded with a beautiful and fragrant plant that has some very unique utilities.
Being that these plants grow on a vine, they will need strong support in order to grow upwards. The vines themselves are fairly heavy and will be too thick for a weak structure to support properly. Be sure that you use something appropriate that will allow the plant to grow upwards without worries. Getting recommendations from an experienced gardener could help but, generally, it should not be difficult to find a strong surface for the plant to thrive on.
You should also make sure that the plant has access to ample sunlight. The climbing hydrangea can deal with shady environments but it will do much better with partial sunlight or even full sunlight. Complete shade would be bad for the plant and you will not see good results if you try to grow it in that sort of environment.
If you want to make use of an alternative method, some people have grown these plants as shrubs. It is a bit different and isn’t the usual way to make use of a climbing hydrangea but they can reach heights of between three and four feet with this method. Whatever method you decide to use, these are gorgeous plants that will make your property look fantastic.