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Hydrangea macrophylla is often confused with:
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
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'
Hydrangea serrata Hydrangea serrata
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Hydrangea macrophylla has some other problems:
White-Tailed Deer

Lacecap Hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla

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

Bigleaf hydrangea is a woody, deciduous, perennial shrub in the hydrangea family (Hydrangeaceae) and is native to Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Depending upon the cultivar, of which there are many, the plant produces ball-shaped flower clusters ("mop-heads") or flat clusters of small flowers surrounded by a ring of more prominent flowers ("lacecaps"). 

Bigleaf hydrangea performs best in areas with dappled sunlight, partial shade, or deep shade. Protect it from afternoon sun. It is tolerant of both clay and sandy soil and has some salt tolerance. Plant it in a site with good drainage; occasionally wet soil is okay. Colors range from white to pink, blue, or purple flowers, depending on the soil's acidity. Blue flowers develop with acidic soil and pink flowers from alkaline soil. Aluminum sulfate can be added to acidify the soil, and lime to produce a more alkaline soil. It blooms during the late spring and summer on the previous year's growth, often described as "old wood." Some cultivars, classified as reblooming, bloom again, later in the summer, on new growth. Do any pruning before August 1. Propagate this shrub by layering or stem cutting. 

This plant rapidly grows into a multi-stemmed shrub with a rounded habit and is generally 3 to 6 feet tall and wide at maturity. It has many uses in the landscape. Mass plant it in a woodland or naturalized area, a foundation planting, hedge, or as a privacy screen. A single specimen can accent a patio or be grown in a container. It is a good addition to Asian, children’s, cottage, cutting, or shade gardens. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: It can suffer leaf spot, bacterial wilt, and powdery mildew under some conditions. It is susceptible to damage by deer.

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:
Collector’s Garden Foundation Planting: Back of House Flower Bonanza Garden Hydrangeas in the Garden Davidson County Extension Demonstration Garden Sun to Shade Garden Paths & Walkways Coastal Foundation Garden Border Landscape Pinewild County Club, Moore County
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'All Summer Beauty'
    blue to pink mop-head. Rebloomer.
  • 'Ayesha'
    Pale pink (or blue) mop-head, with spoon-like petals. Lightly fragrant.
  • Blue Wave® AKA 'Mariesii Perfecta'
    Blue (to pink) lace-cap.
  • 'Blushing Bride'
    Mop-head type with semi-double flowers that emerge white and mature to blush pink or blue.
  • 'Cardinal Red'
    Mop-head type with deep pink flowers that fade to red.
  • Cityline® Paris AKA 'Paris Rapa'
    Compact plant with deep pinkish red, mop-head blooms.
  • 'Dooley'
    Blue (or pink) mop-head.
  • Endless Summer Bloomstruck® AKA 'PIIHM-II'
    blue to pink mop-head. Stems and leaf veins reddish. Rebloomer.
  • Endless Summer® The Original AKA 'Bailmer'
    Blue (to pink) mop-head. Reblooming.
  • Everlasting® Amethyst AKA 'Hokomathyst'
    Mop-head type with dark pink (or purple) flowers that age to green.
  • 'Fuji Waterfall'
    Lacecap type with double, white flowers.
  • 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
    Abundant, 8-inch, mop-head-type flower heads, reddish pink to crimson.
  • 'Goliath'
    Large pink (or purplish) mop-head type. Flowers have coarsely serrate margins.
  • 'Jogasaki'
    Lacecap type with double, blue or pink flowers with long pedicels..
  • L.A. Dreamin'® AKA 'Lindsey Anne'
    Mop-head type with blue, pink, and lavender flowers, often all at once.
  • 'Lady in Red'
    Lacecap type with deep pinkish red (or blue) flowers. Stems and leaf veins reddish.
  • 'Lemon Daddy' Flowers
    Chartreuse green leaves. Mop-head type with blue or pink flowers.
  • 'Libelle'
  • 'Mariesii'
  • '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'
  • 'Shakira'
  • 'Sister Theresa'
  • Stargazer® AKA 'Kompeito'
    Lace-cap type with double pink or blue flowers. Rebloomer.
  • 'Teller White'
  • 'Todi'
  • 'TwistNShout'
'All Summer Beauty', 'Ayesha', Blue Wave® AKA 'Mariesii Perfecta', 'Blushing Bride', 'Cardinal Red', Cityline® Paris AKA 'Paris Rapa', 'Dooley', Endless Summer Bloomstruck® AKA 'PIIHM-II', Endless Summer® The Original AKA 'Bailmer', Everlasting® Amethyst AKA 'Hokomathyst', 'Fuji Waterfall', 'Glowing Embers', 'Goliath', 'Jogasaki', L.A. Dreamin'® AKA 'Lindsey Anne', 'Lady in Red', 'Lemon Daddy', 'Libelle', 'Mariesii', 'Mariesii Variegata', 'Masja', 'Mathilda Gutges', 'Merrit's Beauty', 'Monrey', 'Nantucket Blue', 'Nigra', 'Nikko Blue', 'Penny Mac', 'Pia', 'Pink Elf', 'Shakira', 'Sister Theresa', Stargazer® AKA 'Kompeito', 'Teller White', 'Todi', 'TwistNShout'
Tags:
#purple#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#white flowers#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#shade shrub#blue flowers#salt tolerant#shade garden#tsc#cottage garden#dappled shade#moist soil#ncemgva2018#well-drained soil#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#mountains#rounded#cutting garden#acidic soils tolerant#alkaline soils tolerant#fantz#dried arrangements#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#tsc-s#problem for dogs#problem for children#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#coastal plant#landscape plant sleuths course#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'All Summer Beauty'
    blue to pink mop-head. Rebloomer.
  • 'Ayesha'
    Pale pink (or blue) mop-head, with spoon-like petals. Lightly fragrant.
  • Blue Wave® AKA 'Mariesii Perfecta'
    Blue (to pink) lace-cap.
  • 'Blushing Bride'
    Mop-head type with semi-double flowers that emerge white and mature to blush pink or blue.
  • 'Cardinal Red'
    Mop-head type with deep pink flowers that fade to red.
  • Cityline® Paris AKA 'Paris Rapa'
    Compact plant with deep pinkish red, mop-head blooms.
  • 'Dooley'
    Blue (or pink) mop-head.
  • Endless Summer Bloomstruck® AKA 'PIIHM-II'
    blue to pink mop-head. Stems and leaf veins reddish. Rebloomer.
  • Endless Summer® The Original AKA 'Bailmer'
    Blue (to pink) mop-head. Reblooming.
  • Everlasting® Amethyst AKA 'Hokomathyst'
    Mop-head type with dark pink (or purple) flowers that age to green.
  • 'Fuji Waterfall'
    Lacecap type with double, white flowers.
  • 'Glowing Embers' Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'
    Abundant, 8-inch, mop-head-type flower heads, reddish pink to crimson.
  • 'Goliath'
    Large pink (or purplish) mop-head type. Flowers have coarsely serrate margins.
  • 'Jogasaki'
    Lacecap type with double, blue or pink flowers with long pedicels..
  • L.A. Dreamin'® AKA 'Lindsey Anne'
    Mop-head type with blue, pink, and lavender flowers, often all at once.
  • 'Lady in Red'
    Lacecap type with deep pinkish red (or blue) flowers. Stems and leaf veins reddish.
  • 'Lemon Daddy' Flowers
    Chartreuse green leaves. Mop-head type with blue or pink flowers.
  • 'Libelle'
  • 'Mariesii'
  • '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'
  • 'Shakira'
  • 'Sister Theresa'
  • Stargazer® AKA 'Kompeito'
    Lace-cap type with double pink or blue flowers. Rebloomer.
  • 'Teller White'
  • 'Todi'
  • 'TwistNShout'
'All Summer Beauty', 'Ayesha', Blue Wave® AKA 'Mariesii Perfecta', 'Blushing Bride', 'Cardinal Red', Cityline® Paris AKA 'Paris Rapa', 'Dooley', Endless Summer Bloomstruck® AKA 'PIIHM-II', Endless Summer® The Original AKA 'Bailmer', Everlasting® Amethyst AKA 'Hokomathyst', 'Fuji Waterfall', 'Glowing Embers', 'Goliath', 'Jogasaki', L.A. Dreamin'® AKA 'Lindsey Anne', 'Lady in Red', 'Lemon Daddy', 'Libelle', 'Mariesii', 'Mariesii Variegata', 'Masja', 'Mathilda Gutges', 'Merrit's Beauty', 'Monrey', 'Nantucket Blue', 'Nigra', 'Nikko Blue', 'Penny Mac', 'Pia', 'Pink Elf', 'Shakira', 'Sister Theresa', Stargazer® AKA 'Kompeito', 'Teller White', 'Todi', 'TwistNShout'
Tags:
#purple#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#white flowers#shrub#purple flowers#pink flowers#shade shrub#blue flowers#salt tolerant#shade garden#tsc#cottage garden#dappled shade#moist soil#ncemgva2018#well-drained soil#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#mountains#rounded#cutting garden#acidic soils tolerant#alkaline soils tolerant#fantz#dried arrangements#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#tsc-s#problem for dogs#problem for children#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#coastal plant#landscape plant sleuths course#cpp
  • 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:
    Perennial
    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, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • 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:
    Consuming large quantities can lead to nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and sweating.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    hydracyanosides (cyanogenic glycosides).
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Leaves