Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Types

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Here you will find an overview of the most beautiful hydrangea species and varieties: From ‘Endless Summer’ to ‘Annabell’ and Co. we present our favorites.

The genus of hydrangeas ( Hydrangea ) includes a large number of different species. They all have their natural origin on the continents of America or Asia. All relevant species are deciduous shrubs, which means that they are leafy in summer and shed their leaves in winter. The star among the hydrangeas is the species Hydrangea macrophylla , which originally comes from Japan – also better known as the farmer’s hydrangea. Their characteristic inflorescences are either spherical, but can also be flat like a plate and less heavily peppered with the large ornamental flowers. Incidentally, these are only sterile pseudo-flowers.

Those flowers, which are actually responsible for the seed reproduction of hydrangeas, are much smaller. They are easy to recognize in the center of the plate hydrangeas. Other types of hydrangea can also develop panicle-shaped inflorescences. The height of hydrangeas is just as variable as the shape of the flower. Some types of woody shrubs can also climb lofty heights in the garden. The height varies from 1.5 m to a maximum of 10 m.

In the following we provide an overview of the most important species and their best varieties within the hydrangea genus. Starting with the popular farmer’s hydrangea to the exotic Japanese tea hydrangea, we present the most beautiful species and their varieties.

Peasant Hydrangeas – Hydrangea macrophylla

The farm hydrangea is a beloved star in the home garden. The color spectrum of the decorative pseudo-flowers ranges from white to pink to red. With targeted aluminum fertilization and the right pH value, you can color the hydrangea pink and red varieties of hydrangea blue thanks to the dye delphinidin. A bit of a problem, however, is that this species already creates its flowers in sensitive buds for the next year in the previous autumn. This makes cutting the hydrangea more difficult and requires special wintering measures. With some new varieties, however, this no longer plays a role – some of them are remontant. This means that they bloom again and again in the course of the year and that also on the fresh wood. Some specialized companies also offer the farmer’s hydrangea as a high stem that is difficult to cultivate.

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

Farmer’s hydrangeas like the ‘Endless Summer’ have a particularly wide range of colors [Photo: krolya25 / Shutterstock.com]

Ball-shaped varieties of the farmer’s hydrangea

As the name suggests, these farm hydrangeas have ball-shaped inflorescences. The ‘Endless Summer’ variety is particularly popular among the ball-shaped farmer’s hydrangeas.

  • ‘Endless Summer’: Particularly vigorous, remontant variety that also blooms on new wood; Shape cutting possible without any problems, but not required; available in pink and blue
  • ‘Kanmara’: variety series with particularly large, ball-shaped inflorescences; striking dark green foliage; extremely suitable as a container plant; Flowers in delicate watercolor tones; available in the colors rosé, champagne, lilac, pink, rose and white
  • ‘Magical’: variety series with very diverse flower shapes; lively change of color of the flowers; greening flowers with the blooming; available in the colors white, pink, red and blue / purple
  • ‘Forever & Ever’: variety series with an interesting spectrum of colors in the flower; remontant variety that also blooms on new wood; rather smaller but numerous, umbel-shaped inflorescences; available in white, pink, red and blue
  • ‘You and Me Romance’: variety with a rather flat-headed inflorescence; very large pseudo-flowers; Mock flowers are filled with several petals; available in the colors pink and light blue

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

Hydrangeas come in many different colors [Photo: Marina Andrejchenko / Shutterstock.com]

Plate-shaped varieties of the farmer’s hydrangea

The plate-shaped inflorescences of these farmer hydrangea varieties are a very special eye-catcher.

  • ‘Hanabi’: double pseudo-flowers; pure white star-like flowers; slowly growing; bad winter hardiness
  • ‘Pirates Gold’: Few marginal pseudo-flowers; the yellow-green leaf variegation is more striking; available in pink
  • ‘Tiffany’: Large marginal pseudo-flowers; the small, fertile flowers trickle little; rich in inflorescences; available in pink and blue

Tip: All hydrangea species need fresh, slightly acidic soil with a pH value between 5.5 and 6 in order to absorb nutrients well and develop healthily. These conditions can easily be created with a special bog soil like our Plantura organic acid soil. Although it is peat-reduced, the organic soil creates optimal growth conditions for all hydrangea species as well as rhododendrons and azaleas.

Panicle hydrangeas – Hydrangea paniculata

As the name suggests, the species Hydrangea paniculata is a hydrangea with panicle-shaped inflorescences. Since they develop their flowers on fresh, annual wood, they can be cut back either in autumn or in spring before budding. A strong shape cut is not a problem. It even favors a more compact and highly branched habit of this hydrangea species. The basic color of the panicle hydrangea is white to cream. However, as the flowering period increases, an interesting color change towards pink or even a strong red can occur, depending on the variety.

  • ‘Grandiflora’: particularly large panicles; Play of colors with continuous flowering from green (bud stage) to white to pink in the withering stage; vigorous
  • ‘Limelight’: large panicles; long-lasting green bud stage, then white to light yellow flowers; Inflorescences can be dried well
  • ‘Little Lime’: Undemanding but flowering variety; compact growth; Play of colors in delicate tones from lime green to white to pale pink
  • ‘Phantom’: panicles very large but compressed in length; compact growth; regular pruning required
  • ‘Wim’s Red’: panicles of flowers very long and airy and loose; white flowers change color to strong red as they fade; expansive growth habit requires a lot of space

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

The hydrangea ‘Grandiflora’ has particularly large panicle-shaped flowers [Photo: JRJfin / Shutterstock.com]

Snowball Hydrangeas – Hydrangea arborescens

Snowball hydrangeas stand out in every garden because of their huge round inflorescences, which they develop in abundance. They are very robust and extremely hardy. However, the representatives of the species native to North America tend to let the shoots hang under the weight of the large inflorescences. Supporting the shoots can be useful.

The reproduction of hydrangeas depends on the species. Snowball hydrangeas can easily be propagated by dividing them, as they form subterranean runners. The ‘Annabell’ variety is particularly popular among the snowball hydrangeas.

  • ‘Annabell’: Creamy white and turns green as it fades; very large umbel-shaped inflorescences; flexible with regard to the lighting conditions at the location; vigorous pruning recommended in spring
  • ‘Grandiflora’: white flowers; vigorous; support of the shoots required; very hardy
  • ‘Hayes Starbust’: the flower stays beautiful for a long time in the faded green stage; filigree, star-shaped pseudo-flowers; also strong in growth and hardy

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

The ‘Annabell’ variety has particularly beautiful white flowers [Photo: YukoF / Shutterstock.com]

Oak leaf hydrangea – Hydrangea quercifolia

The characteristic oak-shaped lobed leaves are a special feature of this hydrangea species. The flowers have a panicle-like structure. In autumn, both the striking foliage and the inflorescences impress with their attractive colors. Just like Hydrangea macrophylla , the oak-leaf hydrangea develops its flowers as early as autumn. Generous pruning would therefore endanger the coming bloom.

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

The characteristic leaves make the oak leaf hydrangea something very special [Photo: Gerry Bishop / Shutterstock.com]

Velvet hydrangea – Hydrangea sargentiana

The velvet hydrangea owes its name to its thick, elongated and velvety leaves. The woody shrub is very vigorous and should therefore have a generous space in the garden. Here, too, the following applies: Be careful when cutting, because the bloom can be endangered. In an exposed location, winter protection measures can be useful, because the velvet hydrangea can be sensitive to frost. The inflorescences are plate-shaped with large, sterile, marginal pseudo-flowers.

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

The name of the velvet hydrangea comes from its soft leaves [Photo: haraldmuc / Shutterstock.com]

Climbing hydrangea – Hydrangea petiolaris

The climbing hydrangea has a unique position in the hydrangea genus with its climbing habit. Its white flowers are also plate-shaped with marginal, conspicuous pseudo-flowers. The foliage is similar to that of the Hydrangea macrophylla . A shape cut is not required. However, it is beneficial if weak or dead shoots are regularly removed. This species also forms the flower buds in the previous autumn, so that protection from cold temperatures – especially at the time of budding – can be useful. You can find out more about how to cut climbing hydrangeas here.

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

Climbing hydrangeas are a special highlight in the garden [Photo: JNaether / Shutterstock.com]

Japanese tea hydrangea – Hydrangea serrata

This own hydrangea species is often confused with the plate-shaped flowering varieties of the Hydrangea macrophylla . In fact, they have a lot in common, which is based on the identical geographical origin of both species. However, the plate-shaped inflorescences of the Japanese tea hydrangea are much smaller. And also in terms of height it is below the Hydrangea macrophylla . The compact growing species scores with an early start of flowering and more pronounced winter hardiness. That makes them think, because the Japanese tea hydrangea also creates the buds for the following flowering in autumn. A pruning is therefore not advisable, especially since it has a small, well-branching habit anyway. Its flowers can also take on the colors white, pink and red and can be turned into blue or purple by using aluminum fertilizers and the appropriate pH value.

Hydrangea Types: The Most Beautiful Hydrangea Types For Magnificent Flowers

Japanese tea hydrangeas are often confused with plate-shaped flowering farm hydrangeas [Photo: High Mountain / Shutterstock.com]

Once you have decided on one of the many hydrangea varieties, the next step is to plant the hydrangea. You can find all the important information about this in this article.

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