Hooray for Hydrangeas


Hydrangeas perform well in the St. Louis area and the variety to choose from can be overwhelming. Most newer varieties of hydrangea bloom on both old and new wood, so pruning can be done whenever it’s convenient. Hydrangeas range in height from Bobo and the Let’s Dance series (2-3 ft. tall) to Limelight and Pinky Winky ( 6-8 ft. tall). With the wide selection of colors and heights, there’s sure to be a hydrangea that will suit your garden. The smaller varieties are even great in pots. These can be brought up close to the house, mulched and over wintered just fine. Hopefully this information will simplify your selection and narrow your choices.

Hydrangea ‘The Big Easy’- 2-3 ft.hydrangea lets_dance_big_easy-
Bigleaf Hydranageas

  •  Ball-shaped mophead or lacecap type flowers, sometimes called florist ‘s hydrangea
  • Includes Endless Summer, the Cityline and Let’s Dance series.
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on old wood, so do not prune
 Hydrangea ‘Pinky Winky’ -6-8 ft.hydrangea pinky winky Panicle or Peegee Hydrangea

  • Cone-shaped or conical flowers.
  • Can tolerate more sun than other types of hydrangeas
  •  Includes Limelight, Little Lime, Bobo, and Pinky Winky.
  • Blooms on new wood, so prune late winter/early spring
 Hydrngea’ Invincible Spirit’ – 4-5 ft.hydrangea invincible spirit Smooth or Annabelle Hydrangea

  • An old fashion favorite that is still popular
  • Includes the Incrediball and Invincibelle series of hydrangeas
  • Blooms on new wood so prune in late winter/early spring
 Hydrangea ‘Gatsby Star’ – 6-8 ftgatsby_star_hydrangea  Oakleaf Hydrangea

  • Attractive, large oakleaf- shaped leaves turn shades of red and maroon in fall
  • Exfoliating bark makes for winter interest
  • Includes the Gatsby series of hydrangeas
  • Blooms on old wood , so do not prune


Flower Color- Blue Verses Pink
All hydrangeas undergo some color change as their flowers mature, but only the bigleaf or mophead varieties can be manipulated from blue to pink or from pink to blue. Blue flowers are the result of a low ph or acidic soil, whereas pink flowers occur in high ph or basic soils. Hydrangeas in our area tend towards pink. Getting them to bloom blue requires soil amendment. We prefer Espoma’s Organic Soil Acidifier, which with time, will safely and effectively produce bluish flowers. You must apply the acidic feed on a regular basis, once a month during the active growing season, to maintain blue blossoms.

General Growing Tips

  • Plant hydrangeas in moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Contrary to popular knowledge, most hydrangeas benefit from some morning or late afternoon sun.
  • The panicle hydrangeas, like Bobo and  Limelight can tolerate the most sun but should be well mulched to maintain moisture and a cooler root environment.
  • Hydrangeas have shallow roots, so they dry out quickly. Watch carefully during periods of high temperatures and/or drought.
  • 2-3 inches of mulch benefits all hydrangeas when the summer approaches.
  • For easy to understand pruning instructions pruning instructions go here.
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