Endless Summer Hydrangeas For Northern Gardens

Hydrangea macrophylla
Image via Wikipedia

If you live in a very cold climate as I do, one hydrangea that should flourish in your yard would be the Endless Summer (Hydrangea macrophylla) variety. It is loved for it’s profuse blue flowers, but acidic soil is needed for the blue color.

The tricky part is knowing whether the flowers will bloom as pink or blue.  That will depend on the acidity of your soil. If your soil has a low ph level (5.2-5.5) your flowers will be blue, but any higher and you may get a pink and blue combination or all pink blooms. The soil where I live in New Hampshire is naturally acidic, so my Endless Summer hydrangeas bloom blue.

Not every type of hydrangea shrub will like the cold winters of New England, so be sure to do your research before buying and make sure you are investing in a plant that will not die over it’s first winter in a northern garden.

The Endless Summer shrub will bloom from new growth (as well as old) in the Spring, so while the shrub sits buried under 2 feet of snow for months you won’t have to worry if the stems break. It will come back. They thrive in planting zones 4-9 so they can take the heat too!

blue hydrangea 100
My Endless Summer Hydrangea bush

The Petiolaris is a Climbing Hydrangea

Hydrangea petiolaris photo by Bruger:Sten
Image via Wikipedia

I am unfamiliar with the climbing form of hydrangea, or at least I was before I researched it for this blog post.  I will be moving soon into a house of my own where I plan to do lots of gardening so I need to know what is available for my area of the country.  I live in growing zone 5 so my plants have to be able to withstand cold and lots of snow cover.  Always check before you buy plants online to make sure they are suitable for your area.

The petiolaris, or climbing hydrangea plant, can be used as a ground cover as well as a climber.  The blooms are white and lacey looking and show up around the month of June and the leaves are heart-shaped and green.  If you want this flowering vine to climb, then plant it near a sturdy structure that will be able to bear the weight of the full grown bush which can be up to 50 feet in height… yikes!  That is big, so think long term when planting this one.  It likes shade or semi-shaded areas which is good to know since my new yard will be surrounded by trees and I’m assuming will be quite shady most of the day.

I like the idea of planting it to cover an unsightly tree stump (I have a tall one in my new yard) or some other part of the yard that isn’t very nice looking.  According to what I’ve read, it takes a year or two to get established and then it takes off and grows like crazy.

Scroll down this page at Dave’s Garden site and read what people who are growing this plant have to say.

Check with local nurseries to purchase.

The Cold Hardy Panicle Hydrangea

Panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata)
Image via Wikipedia

Hydrangeas are pretty hardy but if you want a larger one that will thrive in zone 4, choose the Panicle Hydrangea. The flowers on this species is a bit of a different.  I am used to the round, puffy flowers that grow on my shrub, which is of the Mophead variety,  but the Panicle hydrangea has flowers that grow to a long pointed shape – or panicle.

As you can see in the picture I have added from Wikipedia, the Panicle hydrangea also grows to be quite large. In fact if can be 15 feet tall so consider it to be more like a small, flowering tree.  The flowers can be a foot long or more!   The Oakleaf hydrangea grows similar looking flowers that are very long.  You can tell the difference between these two by the leaves on the Oakleaf that are shaped like…. oak leaves!

The flowers can be white or pink, but no blue on these larger varieties (as far as I know), but beautiful just the same.  This species – the Panicle – will tolerate lots of sun.  As it grows, trim out the lower branches and create a little tree of blooms.