Helping flowers bounce back from winter’s bite

White flowering hydrangea paniculata flower in drops after rain. Green bush of hydrangea flower in autumn garden or home backyard. Green nature background. Home gardening and cottagecore concept.

Hydrangeas are a staple in many Arkansas gardens, but after the winter we had, we may not see many blooms this summer on some types. Luckily, all hydrangeas are not created equally.

There are actually 23 species of hydrangeas; four species are commonly available, and some are more cold-tolerant than others.

White panicles start upright but eventually lean outward and downward from the plant due to their weight. Foliage turns maroon to red in fall.

There are varieties that bloom on new growth and those that bloom on old wood: those that will take full sun and those that need partial shade. There are bush forms and climbing forms.

All hydrangeas need well-drained soil and will benefit from water during dry periods, but water is most critical for bigleaf and smooth types.

Flowers/FoliageRounded mophead or flatter lacecap forms.
Blooms on old wood.
Large, oak-shaped leaves and panicles of white flowers in early summer, which fade to dusty rose and then tan. Blooms on old wood.Smooth hydrangeas have round, white flowers that bloom on new growth.
Some produce large, pink flowers.
Flowers are born in large panicles, mainly in white and are produced on the new growth.
HardinessMost sensitive to winter damage, expect few if any blooms this summer.Most oakleaf hydrangeas were not damaged by winter weather.Tolerates harsh winters well.Winter rarely affects ability to bloom.
NeedsMorning sun and afternoon shade or dappled sunlight, and ample moisture. Requires several fertilizer applications during growing season.Protection from afternoon sun. Fertilize when fully leafed out, again in June.Ample moisture. Protection from afternoon sun. One fertilizer application when new growth begins.Will grow in full sun to partial shade, and are quite drought-tolerant, once established.
Fertilize when fully leafed out, again in June.
PruningAs soon as the flowers begin to fade in the summer.As soon as the flowers begin to fade in the summer.In late February to early March before new growth begins.In late February to early March before new growth begins.
VarietiesEndless Summer,
Nikko Blue
Alice, Snow Queen, Pee WeeAnnabelle, Incrediball, InvincibelleLimelite, Bobo, Fire Light
Flower of French Hydrangea or Bigleaf Hydrangea (hortensia) Nikko Blue (Hydrangea macrophylla), Greece, Halkidiki, Arnaia