The popularity of hydrangeas continues to skyrocket as hardier, showier varieties are developed every year. Their versatility in sun to shade and bold blooms make them must-have shrubs for every garden. To make your buying decision easier, let’s narrow down the diverse selection to the top five hydrangeas, according to Ronda, “the hydrangea expert” at Wedel’s Garden Center. Ronda was not able to pick one favorite, so these are not in any particular order.
Little Lime Hydrangea is a prolific, reliable bloomer that is quite hardy. While maintaining its short stature of 3-5’ tall and wide, it really packs a visual punch in the garden. In summer, lime green blooms open on strong stems – no drooping here. As it ages, rich pink coloring emerges to prolong the show through fall.
Little Lime hydrangea is small enough to grow in containers and also stands out as a bold mass planting. Its bright bloom coloration makes it an excellent choice for cut flower gardens and can be used fresh or dried. This reliable performer blooms on new wood, so a quick trim in late winter or early spring will encourage fresh growth and an abundance of buds. Like most hardy hydrangeas, it does best in full sun or part shade. Little Lime was selected as the 2016 landscape plant of the year.
Fire Light Hydrangea is the easy-to-grow, reliable panicle hydrangea, that is loved for its huge, full flower heads and sturdy, strong stems. Blooms emerge creamy-white and age to a vivid red for lots of summer color. It makes a great cut flower, fresh or dried, and can be used as a hedge, specimen, or incorporated into flower gardens and foundation plantings.
Exceptionally hardy – low maintenance and easy to grow – it’s the perfect plant for “black thumbs.” Fire Light has been selected as the 2019 hydrangea of the Year.
Incrediball Blush Hydrangeas are beloved for their stout stems and massive blooms. This hydrangea combines the rock-solid reliability of the classic “Annabelle” hydrangea with the improved stem strength, bodacious blooms, and enormous flowers of the Incrediball series. Enjoy these fabulous silvery-pink blooms every year. This species of hydrangea is native to North America.
Double Delights Wedding Gown Hydrangea This exceptional hybrid features fully double blooms, notably strong stems, a well-mounded form. and lush dark green foliage. You’ll enjoy the blooms spring through fall. Each flower cluster transforms into an exquisite, pristine white bridal bouquet as a stunning outer ring of large blooms first unfolds, followed by lovely smaller inner blooms.
Summer Crush Hydrangea With a profusion of big raspberry red or neon purple blooms, Summer Crush brings floral quality blooms to your garden or patio container. Not only is it drop-dead gorgeous, but it is compact so you get a neat, tidy look throughout the summer. Fill a patio container with Summer Crush for a stunning look all season long. Summer Crush will make your outdoor living space the talk of the neighborhood.
Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea The enormous flower heads are a blend of vanilla and strawberry, held upright on red stems. Flowers emerge creamy white in mid-summer, change to pink as the night temperatures drop and finally turn strawberry red. New blooms emerge as older blooms change color, giving the plant a multicolored effect in late summer and early fall. The red coloring lasts at least 3-4 weeks. Plants grow upright, and then cascade later in the season. Excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.
OOPS – that’s six hydrangeas you absolutely need so far! But wait – we didn’t mention Twist-n-Shout Hydrangea yet, and we LOVE Tiny Tuff Stuff Hydrangea and… now you can see what the hardest part about hydrangeas is – choosing the ones you like best!
By Terri Schwartz of Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center