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All Time Favorite Hydrangeas

By blythe June 11, 2021


There aren’t many people that don’t like hydrangeas. I recently sat down with Martha Stewart to talk about unique hydrangeas, article here. I loved thinking about the many variations of these gorgeous blooms so decided to put together a list of my all time favorite hydrangeas!

See if you can spot some of these in your neighborhood!

Blythe’s All Time Favorite Hydrangeas

Note that all of these selections should be fairly easy to grow in their respective regions and require partial sun to full sun, but don’t thrive in hot conditions.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’

An improvement on the classic annabelle hydrangea, this Smooth Hydrangea has big puffy white blooms early in the season that then fade to green for the later summer. The Incrediball doesn’t flop like other smooth hydrangea and is a more reliable bloomer in cold regions because it blooms on new growth

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

This is a climbing hydrangea. While it doesn’t have the same kind of showy flowers as more classic versions, it’s very coool because it will climb up a wall or a fence. Once it gets going it doesn’t need support because it has aerial roots that will cling to a wall. Be careful because, like ivy, these roots can be left behind when the vine is removed. Like all hydrangeas the Climbing hydrangea vine is deciduous and loses its leaves in the fall.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’

The big leaf hydrangea that started it all!! This variety was discovered by a 5th grade teacher in Minnesota and has changed how hydrangeas bloom in our gardens. Previously all big leafed hydrangeas (the colored ones) bloomed only on last year’s growth. This meant that if the plant died back to the ground, as is possible in a super cold winter, there wouldn’t be blooms until very late in the season, if at all. This variety blooms reliably on NEW growth and will produce flowers even in after a hard winter. The flowers range from pink to blue depending on the soil type (this is a WHOLE other discussion for a later date!) and sometimes both colors appear on one plant.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pee Gee’

This is a very old fashioned variety and the best for a tree form - although many nurseries are selling faster growing options! It has wonderful dense flowers that fade to pink in the fall.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

I think this is one of the most effective plants in the industry. It’s large and can be a wonderful mass along a border. It blooms reliably in many different soil types and fades to green after blooming. The spent blooms are wonderful to bring inside and hold up through the winter.

Hydrangea Cityline Series

This is a whole line of colored hydrangeas produced by Proven Winners. ‘Venice’ is probably my favorite and has wonderful blue blooms. It is dwarf and compact and great for smaller gardens. It requires no pruning and blooms on old wood so is quite easy to keep!

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Glowing Embers’

Although the books will say this is a red hydrangea, I’ve always found it to bloom a very deep, saturated purple even in distrubed post-construction soils. This color is a total show stopper and not something I’ve seen readily from other varieties.

Hydrangea quericifolia ‘Snowflake’

The first time I saw this plant was at the New York Botanical Gardens and it was a complete beauty. The double “flowers” (they are actually sepals) are densely held in big clusters and the texture of the blooms is incredible. The leaves of the plant are very different from other hydrangeas and have a distinct Oaklike appearance. The biggest downside to this variety is it’s lack of availability. I’ve been able to find it in a few mail order places (such as Forest Farm) but never of size in my local nurseries.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Twist and Shout’

Lacecaps are interesting because they have two kinds of flowers in one flower head - little ones and larger ones creating a “lacey” feel to the bloom. This is a pastel lacecap variety of the Endless Summer collection that blooms twice a season.

Do you have an all time favorite hydrangeas? Share with us below!

About Blythe Yost

CEO & Co-Founder of Tilly, Landscape Architect.

Blythe Yost has been practicing landscape architecture for over 15 years. Prior to founding Tilly, she was the principal and founder of two high-end landscape companies based in New York, whose projects include everything from contemporary courtyards in Brooklyn to multi-acre estates in Greenwich, Connecticut. Today Blythe still oversees these companies. Yost graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a focus on horticulture. She currently lives in New York with her husband who is a New York City Fire Fighter and her two boys.

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