|What kind of Hydrangea would do well planted next to the North side of my home? I have about 1 foot of top soil and sand and gravel after that.|
|In Michigan, the easiest hydrangeas to grow are those that bloom on new wood such as Hydrangea arborescens (Smoothleaf Hydrangea). This is a fast-growing shrub that reaches 3- to 5-feet tall and wide. White flowers appear in late June through September on new wood. These flowers are great for drying, and the plant can be cut to the ground in late fall or early spring. The best-loved of this species is ?Annabelle,? with spectacular white flowers. It grows very well in all Michigan hardiness zones from 3 through 6, and is not fussy about soil and only requires watering during dry periods. It can be grown in full sun to part shade.
There is a a new cultivar of ?Annabelle,? with pink blooms called ?Invincibelle Spirit?? by Proven Winners?. ?Invincibelle Spirit? is extremely hardy and easy to grow, it will bloom year after year without any special pampering.
Hydrangea paniculata (panicle hydrangea) is another great type for Michigan, since it also blooms on new wood and has growing conditions similar to Hydrangea arborescens. It is a fast-growing shrub that reaches 6 to 15 feet, depending on the variety. Its flowers appear on panicles 6 to 12 inches long.
The key to success with these hydrangeas is careful site selection?one that is protected from the western sun and winds, provides good winter protection, and has fertile, somewhat moist, well-drained soil.
Enjoy your new hydrangea!