Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 12: Hydrangeas with High Marks

October 25, 2017

There’s a million kinds out there—some good—some not. We highlight a handful of proven performers

Ahhhh, beautiful hydrangeas. Has there ever been a more beloved shrub? Arguably not, and plant breeders capitalize on this affection by producing a plethora of new varieties each year. So, how do you know which ones are best? We’ll weed through all the various species—from oakleafs, to mopheads, to panicles—and call out cultivars that are truly magnificent. ‘Blue Enchantress’ and ‘Gatsby’s Moon’ are just a couple that you may want to add to your shopping list this year. 

Expert: Sarah Partyka, owner of The Farmer’s Daughter nursery in South Kingston, Rhode Island.

Expert Sarah Partyka lives in the heart of hydrangea-land: coastal New England. If she was only allowed to have one variety in her garden, she’d pick ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 3 to 9) every time.

 Gatsby Moon® oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Brother Edward', Zones 5 to 9) is a new favorite of Danielle, not just for its enormous blooms but also it’s amazing fall foliage color.

Steve can’t grow much (so he claims) but one exception is Invincibelle® Spirit smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA1', Zones 3 to 9), a variety that requires little care to look awesome.

Late frosts can cause mophead hydrangeas to not flower during a given year, but in the case of Blue Enchantress® hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Monmar', Zones 5 to 9) even if the flowers fail to show up, the incredible black stems and bright green foliage are interesting enough.

Quick Fire® hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Bulk', Zones 3 to 9) is tough-as-nails, flowers earlier than most other panicle-types, and has eye-catching burgundy stems to boot.

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