14 Beautiful Hydrangea Varieties

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In containers or in the ground, few plants give gardeners the same bang for their buck as the hydrangea. Lacecap, oak leaf, and large-leafed hydrangeas bring diverse texture and form to the summer landscape. Gardeners who crave colors from the cool side of the wheel including pink, purple, white, and blue, will delight in the mix of hydrangea hues that are available, sometimes even on a single shrub. Get out your garden journal, and make note of these 14 stellar hydrangea types. 

  • 01 of 14

    Incrediball Hydrangea

    Incrediball Hydrangea
    Photo: Through the Greenhouse Glass

    If sometimes plant breeders are guilty of hyperbole in their plant name selections, this is not the case with "Incrediball." In spite of the huge, densely packed 12-inch flowers the shrub produces in abundance, the flowers on this white hydrangea will not flop in the mud thanks to sturdy stems. One potted plant will make a gorgeous anchor in your summer border, or you can plant several for a showy hedge. 

  • 02 of 14

    Nikko Blue Hydrangea

    Nikko Blue Hydrangea
    Photo: Ron Evans/Getty Images

    Keep your soil on the acidic side if you want to achieve the bluest blooms possible from your "Nikko" hydrangea bush. This mophead variety blooms earlier than most, usually beginning in June and endures for two months. Provide winter protection in zone 5, as flowers are produced on old wood. 

  • 03 of 14

    Limelight Hydrangea

    Limelight Hydrangea
    Photo: Leonora Enking/Flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

    Green flowers are the little black dresses of the gardening world: they flatter all situations. The chartreuse flowers of "Limelight" hydrangeas age to a mellow pink as the season progresses. Plants bloom on new wood, making this a very hardy selection in cold areas. This fast grower can reach a height of 10 feet, so in smaller spaces look for its dwarf cousin "Little Lime." 

  • 04 of 14

    Cityline Mars Hydrangea

    Cityline Mars Picotee Hydrangea
    Photo: Donald Hamilton/Getty Images

    A picotee petal adds a little bling to your hydrangea collection. The dwarf plant maxes out at two to three feet in size, making it the perfect addition to your patio garden. Like other Hydrangea macrophylla varieties, soil pH affects bloom color. "Cityline Mars" shrubs may even sport multiple colors on the same bush the season following installation as the plants adjust to your unique soil chemistry.

    The specimen pictured is situated in a garden with a neutral pH, which results in a purple shade hovering just between blue and pink. Maintaining such a narrow pH range is easier to do with container culture than in the ground. 

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Zinfin Doll Hydrangea

    Zinfin Doll Hydrangea
    Photo: Through the Greenhouse Glass

    The strawberries and cream coloration of "Zinfin Doll" hydrangea will not fade in full sun. This six-foot shrub is hardy to zone 3, attracting butterflies all summer long. Although classified as a panicle hydrangea, the full blooms of "Zinfin Doll" are lush like those of a mophead hydrangea. No special pH alterations are necessary to achieve the color change from white to pink; it occurs naturally as a consequence of aging. 

  • 06 of 14

    Climbing Hydrangea

    Climbing Hydrangea
    Photo: Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

    Anyone who inherits a climbing hydrangea specimen as pictured is lucky. Hydrangea petiolaris is notoriously slow to get growing. However, once this self-clinging vine gets established, it may climb and sprawl 40 feet or more onto fences, structures, and trees. For added interest, look for the variegated climbing hydrangea "Miranda," which features creamy yellow leaf margins in addition to 10-inch flower heads. 

  • 07 of 14

    Gatsby Pink Hydrangea

    Gatsby Pink Hydrangea
    Photo: Through the Greenhouse Glass

    Gardeners who cherish North American native plants should not miss the showy oakleaf hydrangea "Gatsby Pink." A season-long spectacle of color, flowers start white and change to pink, then foliage joins the display with a brilliant red autumn showing. Because the plants bloom on old wood, panicle hydrangeas like "Gatsby Pink" require a garden in zone 5 or warmer to prevent winter damage that affects future growth. 

  • 08 of 14

    BloomStruck Hydrangea

    Bloomstruck Hydrangea
    Photo: National Garden Bureau

    Hydrangeas in the Endless Summer series defy harsh winters by blooming on both new and old wood. "BloomStruck" is the fourth introduction in the series, sporting deep purple or rose blossoms on four-foot plants. Confused about the effect soil pH has on bloom color? Look for the Color Me Pink or Color Me Blue garden lime and sulphur kits to take the guesswork out of your hydrangea flower color. 

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Blue Deckle Hydrangea

    Blue Deckle Hydrangea
    Photo: Cora Niele/Getty Images

    Hydrangea serrata "Blue Deckle" is a dwarf lacecap type that will thrive in the dappled sunlight of tall deciduous trees in zone 6 and warmer gardens. This late-blooming type that peaks in July and August has more in store for you when autumn arrives, as the brilliant red and purple leaves that follow blooming rival any fall foliage display sought by leaf peepers. 

  • 10 of 14

    Eldorado Hydrangea

    El Dorado Hydrangea
    Photo: Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    If your garden is saturated with blue and pink, maybe it is time to spice up the landscape with a little red shrub like "Eldorado" hydrangea. This medium-sized mop head hydrangea blooms in the fall in acidic or neutral soil

  • 11 of 14

    You and Me Together Hydrangea

    You and Me Together Hydrangea
    Photo: Photos Lamontagne/Getty Images

    "You and Me Together" is a double-flowered form that gives you a much more dense flower head than your typical macrophylla varieties. Pair with others in the You and Me series for a rich floral display

  • 12 of 14

    Madame Emile Mouillere Hydrangea

    Madame Mouillere Hydrangea
    Photo: Gilles Le Scanff/Joelle Caroline Mayer/Getty Images

    Madame Mouillere is more than just a very hardy and reliable little mophead hydrangea for gardeners in zones 5 through 10. Although its blooms appear white, it fades to a pale, ethereal blue, or dusky pink as the summer progresses. Look for a tinge of blue or pink in the blooms' eye to get a preview of the color progression. 

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Miss Saori Hydrangea

    Miss Saori Hydrangea
    Photo: National Garden Bureau

    "Miss Saori" made her debut at the 2014 Chelsea Garden Show, where it was declared the Chelsea Plant of the Year. The sterile flowers appear in June, followed by burgundy fall foliage. Creamy double flowers have picotee rose margins, contributing texture and color to the garden not found in any other hydrangea. The three-foot plants are compact and controlled in their growth, making them an ideal specimen plant for the middle of the flower border.

  • 14 of 14

    Unique Hydrangea

    Hydrangea paniculata Unique
    Photo: Ruth Brown/Getty Images

    "Unique" is a particularly hardy panicle hydrangea that adapts well to training as a tree form. Remove all lower branches to form a central leader, which becomes the trunk of the tree. Plants flower on new wood and grow up to 10 feet tall.