Hydrangeas in Kentucky

Hydrangeas in Kentucky

How to Choose Hydrangeas: The Best 4 for Central Kentucky

There’s just something about hydrangeas that seems elegant and indulgent. Their large, soft blooms are creamy white or saturated in pink, chartreuse, purple or blue and seem to be right off a sultry, Southern plantation. For some reason, we always picture them around a porch.

But hydrangeas are something of a contradiction. They’re old-fashioned and still decidedly fresh and modern. They appear delicate but new varieties especially are vigorous rebloomers and generally worry-free. They’re hardy in the landscape but can sometimes wilt almost as soon as you cut them to bring them inside (read on for a trick to avoid this).

Personally, their dual nature and Pinterest-pretty good looks are some of the things we like best about hydrangeas. So let’s look at the four types of hydrangeas that you can grow in your landscape and how to choose:

Everblooming Bigleaf (H. macrophylla)

These are long-time favorites you’ve likely seen in gardens growing up. They come in two flower head shapes, rounded mophead and flat lacecap and a variety of colors. These guys can be vulnerable to late spring frosts, so it may be best to plant them in areas shielded from the harsh winds and exposure.

Planting

Plant in partial sun to shade and if you prefer the blue blooms, simply work a bit of aluminum sulfate into the soil. Just follow package directions.

Watering

1-2 inches of water per week. Overwatering can delay or prevent blooms.

Types We Love

Our mophead favorites?  Rebloomers like Endless Summer, Bloomstruck, Blushing Bride, Let’s Dance Blue Jangles and Mini Penny. Our loveliest lacecap rebloomers? Let’s Dance, Starlight and Tuff Stuff.

 

Panicle (H. paniculata)

If the frost warning worries of the Everblooming Bigleaf aren’t your style, Panicle hydrangeas are the darlings of the Midwest, hardy to zone 3 (far north of central Indiana) and very cold tolerant. Flowers bloom white or chartreuse in midsummer, eventually turning pink or tan.

 

Planting

Give these beauties some room to breathe when you plant because they will grow to 6-8 feet tall and wide. They also bloom best in full sun. And because of their large footprint and vase-shaped blooms, panicle hydrangeas look great as a garden’s focal point.

Watering

1-2 inches of water per week. Overwatering can delay or prevent blooms.

Types We Love

Limelight, Little Lime, Strawberry Sundae, Quick Fire and Little Quick Fire

Smooth (H. arborescens)

This is what we see in our minds when we think of the soft, dollop blossoms of the hydrangea, especially the Annabelle hydrangea whose flower heads can get so large that they droop. You can help them along by propping the heads (some can get up to a foot across) with stakes or short wire fences.

Planting

Plant in sun to part shade for round, white flowers.

Watering

1-2 inches of water per week. Overwatering can delay or prevent blooms.

Types We Love

Annabelle, Incrediball

Oakleaf (H. quercifolia)

The Oakleaf is very easy to grow in warm climates, but we’ve also had good luck with this low-care hydrangea option right here at home. They’re well worth the garden space with white vase-shaped flowers on leggy stems that show off an interesting peeling bark and red leaves in fall.

Planting

The Oakleaf isn’t picky, it’ll grow in sun or shade. Give them room to stretch their legs or opt for a dwarf variety for smaller spaces.

Watering

1-2 inches of water per week. Overwatering can delay or prevent blooms.