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Native alternative(s) for Hydrangea macrophylla:
Hydrangea arborescens Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
Verbena canadensis Verbena canadensis
Hydrangea serrata Hydrangea serrata
Hydrangea macrophylla has some other problems:
White-Tailed Deer

Bigleaf Hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla

Phonetic Spelling
hy-DRAN-jee-ah mak-roh-FIL-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Hydrangea macrophylla is a shade-loving shrub that can produce ball-shaped flower clusters ("Mopheads") or flat clusters of small flowers surrounded by a ring of more prominent flowers ("Lacecaps"). Colors range from white to pink, blue, or purple flowers, depending on the soil's acidity. Blue flowers develop with acidic soil (a pH of 5.0 to 5.5) and pink flowers from alkaline soil pH (6.0 to 6.5). Aluminum sulfate can be added to acidify the soil, and lime to produce a more alkaline soil. It is tolerant of both clay and sandy soil and has some salt tolerance. It is susceptible to damage by deer.

This hydrangea tolerates sun if the soil is kept consistently moist, but performs best in areas with afternoon shade. It blooms during the late spring and summer on the previous year's growth ("old wood")

It is generally pest and disease-free but can suffer leaf spot. bacterial wilt and powdery mildew under some conditions;

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Hydrangea.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Hydrangeas in the Garden Davidson County Demo Garden Sun to Shade Garden Flower Bonanza Garden Hydrangeas in the Garden Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'All Summer Beauty'
  • 'Alpengluhen bigleaf hydrangea'
  • 'Ayesha'
  • 'Bloomstruck'
  • 'Blue Billow'
  • 'Blue Wave'
  • 'Blushing Bride'
  • 'Cardinal Red'
  • 'Cityline'
  • 'Dooley'
  • 'Endless Summer'
  • 'Everlasting Amethyst'
  • Fuji Waterfall
    Glossy dark green leaves, large lace cap bloom with double sepals.
  • 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
    Abundant 8-inch flower heads start white, turn to deep pink, and eventually fade to reddish-pink
  • 'Goliath'
  • 'Lacecap'
  • 'LA Dreamin'
  • 'Lady in Red'
  • 'Lemon Daddy' Flowers
    Yellow leaves
  • 'Libelle'
  • 'Mariesii'
  • 'Mariesii Perfecta'
  • 'Mariesii Variegata'
    6' x 6' with striking white leaf margins
  • 'Masja'
  • 'Mathilda Gutges'
  • 'Merrit's Beauty'
  • 'Monrey'
  • 'Nantucket Blue'
  • 'Nigra'
  • 'Nikko Blue'
  • 'Penny Mac'
  • 'Pia'
  • 'Pink Elf'
  • 'Sister Theresa'
  • 'Teller White'
  • 'Todi'
  • 'TwistNShout'
'All Summer Beauty', 'Alpengluhen bigleaf hydrangea', 'Ayesha', 'Bloomstruck', 'Blue Billow', 'Blue Wave', 'Blushing Bride', 'Cardinal Red', 'Cityline', 'Dooley', 'Endless Summer', 'Everlasting Amethyst', Fuji Waterfall, 'Glowing Embers', 'Goliath', 'Lacecap', 'LA Dreamin', 'Lady in Red', 'Lemon Daddy', 'Libelle', 'Mariesii', 'Mariesii Perfecta', 'Mariesii Variegata', 'Masja', 'Mathilda Gutges', 'Merrit's Beauty', 'Monrey', 'Nantucket Blue', 'Nigra', 'Nikko Blue', 'Penny Mac', 'Pia', 'Pink Elf', 'Sister Theresa', 'Teller White', 'Todi', 'TwistNShout'
Tags:
#purple#white#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#partial shade#blue#white flowers#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#partial sun#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade shrub#blue flowers#cut flowers#salt tolerant#tsc#cottage garden#dappled shade#moist soil#ncemgva2018#cpp#well-drained soil#summer flowers#mountains#rounded#coastal areas#acidic soil tolerant#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#dried arrangements#problem for cats#tsc-s#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'All Summer Beauty'
  • 'Alpengluhen bigleaf hydrangea'
  • 'Ayesha'
  • 'Bloomstruck'
  • 'Blue Billow'
  • 'Blue Wave'
  • 'Blushing Bride'
  • 'Cardinal Red'
  • 'Cityline'
  • 'Dooley'
  • 'Endless Summer'
  • 'Everlasting Amethyst'
  • Fuji Waterfall
    Glossy dark green leaves, large lace cap bloom with double sepals.
  • 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
    Abundant 8-inch flower heads start white, turn to deep pink, and eventually fade to reddish-pink
  • 'Goliath'
  • 'Lacecap'
  • 'LA Dreamin'
  • 'Lady in Red'
  • 'Lemon Daddy' Flowers
    Yellow leaves
  • 'Libelle'
  • 'Mariesii'
  • 'Mariesii Perfecta'
  • 'Mariesii Variegata'
    6' x 6' with striking white leaf margins
  • 'Masja'
  • 'Mathilda Gutges'
  • 'Merrit's Beauty'
  • 'Monrey'
  • 'Nantucket Blue'
  • 'Nigra'
  • 'Nikko Blue'
  • 'Penny Mac'
  • 'Pia'
  • 'Pink Elf'
  • 'Sister Theresa'
  • 'Teller White'
  • 'Todi'
  • 'TwistNShout'
'All Summer Beauty', 'Alpengluhen bigleaf hydrangea', 'Ayesha', 'Bloomstruck', 'Blue Billow', 'Blue Wave', 'Blushing Bride', 'Cardinal Red', 'Cityline', 'Dooley', 'Endless Summer', 'Everlasting Amethyst', Fuji Waterfall, 'Glowing Embers', 'Goliath', 'Lacecap', 'LA Dreamin', 'Lady in Red', 'Lemon Daddy', 'Libelle', 'Mariesii', 'Mariesii Perfecta', 'Mariesii Variegata', 'Masja', 'Mathilda Gutges', 'Merrit's Beauty', 'Monrey', 'Nantucket Blue', 'Nigra', 'Nikko Blue', 'Penny Mac', 'Pia', 'Pink Elf', 'Sister Theresa', 'Teller White', 'Todi', 'TwistNShout'
Tags:
#purple#white#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#partial shade#blue#white flowers#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#partial sun#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade shrub#blue flowers#cut flowers#salt tolerant#tsc#cottage garden#dappled shade#moist soil#ncemgva2018#cpp#well-drained soil#summer flowers#mountains#rounded#coastal areas#acidic soil tolerant#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#dried arrangements#problem for cats#tsc-s#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hydrangea
    Species:
    macrophylla
    Family:
    Hydrangeaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Leaf Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia;
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    cup-like capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Cyme
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers in a terminal, round or umbrella-shaped cluster of white, pink, or blue; 4- 5-parted, the sterile flowers (around the margin or the entire cluster) are much enlarged. Large flat-topped corymb with numerous flowers; borne on previous season's growth. Some varieties have a more mop-head shaped bloom. Flowers 2" diameter, toothed or entire; pink, white, blue or purple; color can depend on the soil pH.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Fleshy
    Glossy
    Rough
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite, simple, stalked, toothed, and sometimes lobed, lustrous medium to dark green above, underside glabrous or may have short hairs, stout petiole about 1" long.; Obovate to elliptic or broadly ovate, 4-8" long, 3-6" wide, short acuminate tip, coarsely serrate.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    Tan colored, large leaf scars
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Emerge from ground; rarely branch.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Hydrangin, a cyanogenic glycoside.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Leaves