Mophead (Hydrangea Macrophylla)
Mophead hydrangeas, also sometimes called Bigleaf, grow in full sun to part shade. They come in shades of blue, purple or red. There are a number of reblooming hydrangeas that will give you color all season. They start blooming in early summer and bloom just about through frost. These shrubs do best in moist, well-drained soil.
As long as they get a minimum of 1” of water once a week (twice a week when it’s hot) you should be fine. Cutting faded blooms will encourage the shrub to keep producing flowers. For most of the shrubs in these series, soil pH will affect color. If you’re like most and you want blue, then you’re in luck. To get blue hydrangeas you need acidic soil (Connecticut is typically acidic). If your blooms aren’t blue enough, or you’re looking for pink, there are various soil amendments that will do the trick.
My Favorite Varieties:
Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ bears mophead clusters of pink or blue flowers (pH dependent) and grows 5 feet tall. Prefers mostly sun. (Above, Image Courtesy of Prides Corner Farms)
If you’re looking for a slightly smaller variety try Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Onyx Peacock’. Large, prolific pink, blue or purple flowers (pH dependent) are born on sturdy black stems. Yes, you read correctly. Black stems! Blooms on old and new wood so you don’t have to worry about pruning. This is a standout hydrangea that will have your friends talking! Prefers mostly sun. 4′ tall 1.5′-2′ wide. (Right, Image Courtesy of Concept Plants)
Big Easy is a strong bloomer and a rebloomer offering it’s massive flowers on both old and new wood, again taking the effort out of pruning. Like all the rest of the mopheads here, bloom color is pH dependent. Acidic for blue, alkaline for pink. Prefers mostly sun. 2′-3′ tall and wide.
The flowers of Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Let’s Dance Rythmic Blue’ are truly amazing. The most vibrant blue hydrangea on the market, the blooms are held on sturdy stems and have full rich color blue or pink hues (pH dependent). Compact habit and good wilt-resistance, this hydrangea grows 2-3′ tall and 3′-4′ wide. Mostly sun to part shade. (Below, Image Courtesy of Great Garden Plants)
Lacecap (Hydrangea Macrophylla)
You’ll notice that Lacecap hydrangeas also belong to the species Hydrangea Macrophylla. The primary difference between a lacecap and a mophead is the flowers. Mopheads have large, round pom-pom like flowers. Lacecaps have tight, compact buds in the center of the flower surrounded by larger, showier petals along the outside. This look gives them their lace-like appearance – leading to the name “Lacecap.”
My Favorite Varieties:
Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Double Delights Wedding Gown’ is simply stunning. Deep green foliage and pure-white lacecap flowers that bloom earlier than almost any other macrophylla type Hydrangea. These flowers continue profusely until October. Unlike most macrophyllas, this stunner prefers shady spots. Like many newer varieties, Double Delights Wedding Gown blooms on old and new wood, so it takes the guesswork out of pruning. Prefers partial to mostly shade. 3-4′ tall, 4-5′ wide. (Below, Image Courtesy of Monrovia)
Another stunner is Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Abracadabra Star.’ This hydrangea features a stunning lacecap flower in July with large flowers that start off blue (pH dependent) and white before maturing to a rich blue. Velvety black stems are sturdy to hold up these distinctive flowers. Prefers full to part sun. 3-4′ Tall, 4-5′ Wide (Below, Image Courtesy of Proven Winners)
Part 2 – Smooth and Mountain
Part 3 – Panicle, Oakleaf and Climbing