Hydrangea beyond macrophylla
The big leaf hydrangeas have brought some amazing mophead blooms to our gardens like H. macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’ or H. macrophylla Endless SummerTM. But as a gardener nothing is more frustrating than a hard winter which kills all the blooms for the spring. You are left with a season of beautiful big leaves and no blooms to complete the show.
There is much more to hydrangeas than macrophylla. The genus offers amazing blooms but you will not have to worry about a hard winter destroying your season of color. Hydrangea arborescens and H. quercifolia bloom on new wood thus the buds will not be killed by hard winters as on H. macrophylla.
Displaying a 14”-wide lace-cap bloom, H. arborescens ‘Haas’ Halo’ makes a stunning combination in mixed borders and massed foundation plantings. A native selection from local horticulturist Rick Ray with massive flowers and sturdy stems to support those large blooms, it also does well in our hot and humid summers.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’ is a selection of our native oak leaf hydrangea discovered by the famous plantman, Michael Dirr. The 6-inch long, creamy white flowers open in summer and mature to red. Like all H. quercifolia, ‘Amethyst’ has stunning burgundy fall foliage with exfoliating cinnamon-brown bark for stunning winter interest. This hydrangea is about more than just bloom.
While Hydrangea serrata Tiny Tuff StuffTM blooms on old wood it has been selected for its bud hardiness. The buds should survive winter and produce elegant lace-cap flowers on delicately arching stems from June through October. This diminutive selection can be grown on the patio or in a mixed border. See it tucked in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden on campus.
Grow all the various species of hydrangea to ensure you have blooms next summer. You can purchase these hydrangeas and many more at the 2015 Scott Arboretum Plant Sale (September 12 to 13.) See our complete offering in the Plant Sale Handbook.