Hydrangeas put on a late summer show!

August 20th, 2015

Sometimes on the Front Range we struggle with figuring out a plant palette that can survive our harsh environment but adds interest to our landscapes. This can be especially true in situations other than full sun. One genus of plants that has really started to see a lot of improved variteis that can be a show stopper in your landscape is Hydrangea. Generally speaking there are two different species of Hydrangea that thrive on the Front Range: smooth hydrangea and panicle hydrangea.  Both these species of Hydrangea would prefer at least partial shade on the Front Range to perform the best. There are many varieties of Hydrangeas available today with new varieties emerging each year. For a long blooming shrub in Colorado in partial shade, you can't get much more impressive than Hydrangeas. Here is what you need to know:

Smooth hydrangea is a herbaceous shrub in our climate. This means that the shrub will likely die back to the ground each year. However Hydrangeas bloom on new growth, so this dieback does not affect performance at all. The roots of smooth hydrangea are extremely cold hardy, making it a great choice for our area. Smooth hydrangea spend the first few months of the growing season rapidly producing vegetative growth, by late July they generally have reached around 3 feet and will start to bloom. The blooms on smooth hydrangea are produced at the end of new growth and are generally aranged in a globe shaped ranging from 6 to 18" in diameter. Some of the varities available in this species are: Annabell (white), Incrediball (white, larger inflorescence), Invincibelle Spirit (pink), and Bella Anna (pink).

Panicle hydrangea is a woody shrub in our climate, which means it will get significantly larger than smooth hydrangea (though there are some dwarf varieties available). Panicle hydrangeas tend to start blooming about a month or so after smooth hydrangea. This species will benefit from some protection in the winter to help prevent dieback. Blooms are produced in a cone shaped inflorescence on this species generally from August until the first frost. If you have a larger partially shaded area to fill panicle hydrangea might fit your needs better than smooth hydrangea. Some of the varieties available are: Late panicle (white), PeeGee (large white), Limelight (white changing to chartreuse), Bobo (dwarf, white changing to pink), Little Lamb (small white flowers), Quick Fire (early bloomer, white changing to pink/red), Vanilla Strawberry (White, pink, and strawberry red).

This only a brief overview of some of hydrangeas that are available. For more information or help picking the perfect plant stop in and talk with one of our experts today!