The best small hydrangeas for gardens where space is limited

The best small hydrangeas for gardens where space is limited

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If you have a small garden and you were looking for something beautiful that produces luscious and large blooms, hydrangeas might just be the perfect solution. But then there is the question of which hydrangea to choose. Hydrangeas can get quite large depending on the variety. Climbing hydrangeas get the largest of all and can be groomed into the shape of trees reaching upwards of twenty-five feet in height. So if you have a small garden it’s best to pick smaller hydrangeas which we talk about below.

Hydrangeas for small gardens

If you have a small garden you can choose almost all varieties of hydrangeas depending on the level of light exposure you have in your yard. Steer clear of climbing hydrangeas. But beyond that, if you simply grow your hydrangeas in pots or you keep them well pruned, you can pick dwarf varieties or traditional varieties of almost any type. The more important consideration is again, the amount of light exposure you have and what the weather looks like in your garden.

Cold climate hydrangeas

If you live in an area that has a colder climate, you need to find a hydrangea that can easily withstand the colder weather. The smooth hydrangeas, also called snowball hydrangeas, are perfect for these regions. The smooth hydrangeas will produce clusters of white flowers that bloom from the middle of summer all the way through Autumn. As the older flower starts to fade they become green in color.
Smooth hydrangea

If you live in an area that has a colder climate, you need to find a hydrangea that can easily withstand the colder weather. The smooth hydrangeas, also called snowball hydrangeas, are perfect for these regions. The smooth hydrangeas will produce clusters of white flowers that bloom from the middle of summer all the way through Autumn. As the older flower starts to fade they become green in color.

Growing smooth hydrangeas

Smooth hydrangeas thrive in partial shade. They are not very drought tolerant so it is important that if you put them in a spot that has afternoon sun because there are no other options, you need to water it during dry spells and give it a great layer of mulch on the soil to keep it moist. It’s a very strong plant that will thrive in severe zones of climate fluctuations as long as it is planted in organic matter that remains moist.

The hydrangeas will provide blossoms on new growth so if it has to be pruned it is best to do it in wintertime or the beginning of Spring. In order to keep it dense and compact, especially if you want to keep it smaller in shape, you can cut it back to approximately six or eight every year.

Standout varieties

Hydrangea arborescens AnnabelleProduces extra large clusters with white flowers no more than 5 ft tall.
Hydrangea arborescens White DomeProvides fluffy clusters of flowers that are creamy white and will grow up to six feet tall.

Hydrangeas that are easy to care for

The Oakleaf hydrangea is one of the easiest hydrangeas to care for. It also has beautiful white, summertime flowers as well as a peeling bark that is attracted to the eye, and of course the textured foliage that changes color as the seasons transition to fall. The oak leaf hydrangeas can get up to eight feet tall which is great if you need a backdrop for your garden or some summertime privacy.

Growing the Oakleaf hydrangea

Growing the Oakleaf hydrangea
Growing the Oakleaf hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangeas prefer spots that have shade and partial shade. They need moist, well-drained soil and they will handle slight bouts of drought a little bit more effectively than other plants but they still need water. It is always best to include a lot of organic matter in your soil if you wanted to perform well.

When it comes to pruning be cognizant of the fact that the Oakleaf hydrangea will bloom on last years branches so you need to prune right after your flowers have faded at the end of summer. The bark will take on new textures and colors as the plant mature so many Gardners simply avoid pruning entirely so that they can enjoy everything that plants have to offer all year round.

Standout varieties

Alice hydrangeaThe Alice hydrangea provides extra-large blooms and gives great color in the fall. It can reach up to 10 ft tall.
Little honey hydrangeaThe little honey hydrangea has golden-yellow foliage and in the summertime, you will have white flowers. This is a smaller shrub that reaches about 4 ft tall.
Snowflake hydrangeaThe snowflake hydrangea provides double white flowers and can reach up to eight feet tall.

Hydrangeas for color all season long

Some people want the color in their garden to last all season rather than sporadically. It’s true that most of the hydrangeas you find will produce colors for just a few months out of the year but there are some new breeds that offer blooms and color all year round including the Endless Summer varieties.

Growing a reblooming hydrangea

Hydrangea Endless Summer is unique because it can produce blooms on new and old growth alike. This is what allows it to rebloom all summer long rather than just bloom the once.

The reblooming hydrangeas like the Endless Summer or the Let’s Dance will give you beautiful flowers every few weeks throughout the summer and the fall. These particular plants require a spot that is exposed to morning sunlight as well as afternoon shade. Like all hydrangea varieties, they need moist, well-drained soil. These are not very drought tolerant plants so you will need to make sure to water them excessively if you live in an area that is undergoing a dry spell. With these varieties, you can change the color of the flowers by changing the acidity of your soil. Highly acidic soil will make the flowers take on bluer colors while a highly alkaline soil will take on pinker colors.

These flowers are produced on last year’s branches as well as this year’s stems so you can pretty much prune them at any time throughout the year and it won’t significantly impact the flowering cycle. In order to encourage better blooms, it is recommended that you cut the flower heads off as they start to fade, a process known as deadheading. This will encourage energy to reach out to new blooms rather than continue to feed dying blooms.

Standout varieties

In order to provide for winter care with your Endless Summer, you need to stop any fertilizer application from August. This will give your plant time to acclimate for winter weather. Feeding in the later months will encourage new growth which will get damaged in winter as it will not have had enough time to mature which is why feeding after July is best avoided.
Endless Summer Hydrangea – Bloom Struck
Endless SummerThis variety of mophead hydrangea will produce pink or blue clusters. It typically grows about 5 feet tall.
Endless Summer Blushing BrideThis variety gives you white flowers that are flushed with a tinge of light pink and we’ll reach up to five feet tall.
Let’s Dance moonlightThis variety offers rich blue or pink flowers and can reach up to five feet tall.

Hydrangeas for Shade: Mopheads and Lacecaps

Mophead Hydrangea Care

Growing Mopheads and Lacecaps

Mophead hydrangeas are known as the quintessential hydrangea with the large puffy balls of flowers and it’s old-fashioned elegance. If you have dried or cut flowers they are probably mop head or lacecap hydrangeas. These plants are beautiful in their color, and the flower color can be controlled with the acidity.

Mophead hydrangeas prefer morning sunlight and afternoon shade. They need to be well water during periods of drought because they do not do well without moist soil. They are also very susceptible to Winter damage. A late spring frost can kill new growth before it even has a chance to bloom. If you want to change the color of the flowers you can make your soil more acidic to get blue shades and make your soil more alkaline to get pink shades.

If you’re going to prune the mop head, you should only do it right after it finishes flowering at the end of summer because by the very end of summer the plant has already started to make the blooms for next year and it only blooms once a year, so choosing to prune at any other time runs the risk of destroying the new growth.

The lacecap hydrangeas have tiny blooms that are ringed by larger blooms taking on a star-like shape. Just like Mop Heads, they have flowers that develop on the growth from last year. Also like Mop Heads, the lace cap varieties need well-drained soil, they prefer morning sun with afternoon shade, and they need to be watered regularly. The same alkalinity remains true to hear such that you can change the color of the blooms based on the alkalinity or acidity of your soil.

The lacecap hydrangeas have tiny blooms that are ringed by larger blooms taking on a star-like shape. Just like Mop Heads, they have flowers that develop on the growth from last year. Also like Mop Heads, the lace cap varieties need well-drained soil, they prefer morning sun with afternoon shade, and they need to be watered regularly. The same alkalinity remains true to hear such that you can change the color of the blooms based on the alkalinity or acidity of your soil.

Standout varieties

Big DaddyThis variety of mophead hydrangea will produce large clusters of pink or blue flowers.
Buttons n bowsThis variety has clusters of pink or lavender shaded flowers that are aged and white and only reaches about 4 feet tall.
Color fantasyThis variety offers beautiful rich red flowers with dark green foliage and only grows about 3 ft tall.
Bits of laceThis plant gives pale pink flowers and will only grow about 5 feet tall
Lady in RedThis variety has red flowers along with beautiful purple red colors in the fall and burgundy stems.
Lemon waveThis variety of lacecap hydrangea has foliage that is edged in cream, yellow, and white.
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