Ask a Question forum: Hydrangeas

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Name: Tracy Redmond
Marrero Louisiana (Zone 8a)
Stbtracy1970
May 12, 2018 7:54 AM CST
How large can a Hydrangea get?
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
May 12, 2018 6:32 PM CST
Hi Tracy and welcome to NGA!

It depends on what species of Hydrangea you have. Hydrangea macrophylla, which is the most common one can get as tall as 10 feet high and wide.
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Name: Rick Webb
southeast Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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ILPARW
May 12, 2018 7:06 PM CST
My greatest passion in horticulture is with naturalistic landscapes with eastern North American native species. I have seen lots of the 'Grandiflora' and 'Annabelle' cultivars of the Smooth Hydrangea (H. arborescens) that both have all sterile florets in rounded or mophead flower clusters. In recent years I have been so happy to finally find a few of the straight mother species of the Wild Smooth Hydrangea that has mostly the smaller, fertile florets, with an outer ring of the showy sterile florets, which can be called a "lacecap" type, which is good for pollinators. Here is a photo I took of one full-grown specimen in southeast PA. I just planted a specimen on the side of my front yard.
Thumb of 2018-05-13/ILPARW/34b508

Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
luis_pr
May 15, 2018 12:46 PM CST
Old specimens can get large so rejuvenation pruning should be done to keep their size in check. Review the ones that you are interested in by checking the estimated height/width in the plant label or the information on web pages.

At 10 years of age -that is the guesstimate given on plant labels-:

* H. macrophyllas (mopheads and laceaps) get 3 to 6 feet; H. serratas are smaller than the upper limit of macrophyllas. These guys can have blooms that start white, or shades of blue/purple/pink. Some versions can rebloom (they bloom on old wood in the early Spring here and then bloom again on new wood in the Summer months). Blue/purple/pink blooms will shade colors based on your soil pH and aluminum levels.

* H. quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangeas) can get 4 to 10 feet. They have unique foliage that is shaped like oak leaves and which looks plain awesome in the Fall. Their blooms are panicle shaped.

* H. paniculatas can get 4-10 feet too. Paniculatas are sold in stand or tree form. Some specimens can actually get high as trees in the northeast. There is lots of wiggle room to choose from. Their blooms are usually panicle shaped. The blooms typically start green or white. Most of these guys are large (think: Pee Gee) but in the last few years, new introductions included compact versions of the originals. So Vanilla Strawberry has a compact Strawberry Sundae; Limelight has Little Lime; Quickfire has Little Quickfire; etc. Some of these may have issues blooming in warm summers/locations.

* H. arborescens can get 4-6' tall at 10 years, even more in older specimens and quite less with newly introduced selections from Proven Winners this year. H. arborescens can spread via suckers so you may need to pull them out in Spring if the plant starts "growing wider by developing suckers around the original shrub. The blooms typically start green, white or pink (the pink varieties do not change color based on soil pH and aluminum levels). Some of the unusual/rare H. arborescens versions can have issues in warm areas.

If looking for small macrophyllas, check out the Let's Dance Series from Monrovia and Proven Winners. Most or all hydrangeas of that series are rebloomers and are advertised as being quite short.

Hydrangeas in the South will enjoy a long growing season and their height/width may be on the higher end when the plant label gives you a range of feet. So if they say 2-3', assume it will be closer to 3 feet in the South. As you get even further South, some shrubs in protected locations may actually keep their foliage during mild winters and leaf out while still having last year's leaves. I have some oakleaf hydrangeas that do that. One is a tall shrub that gets 8-10' (Snow Queen) and the other is a compact shrub that gets 3' at 5 years old (Pee Wee). So on mild winters, they are evergreen and on regular winters they are deciduous.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 17, 2018 3:06 PM (+)]
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