Zone 3 Hydrangea Varieties – Tips On Growing Hydrangeas In Zone 3

Image by Nicola Gordon

By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

First discovered in 1730, by King George III’s royal botanist, John Bartram, hydrangeas became an instant classic. Their popularity quickly spread throughout Europe and then to North America. In the Victorian language of flowers, hydrangeas represented heartfelt emotions and gratitude. Today, hydrangeas are just as popular and widely grown as ever. Even those of us who live in cooler climates can enjoy plenty of varieties of beautiful hydrangeas. Continue reading to learn about zone 3 hardy hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas for Zone 3 Gardens

Panicle or Pee Gee hydrangeas, offer the most variety in hydrangeas for zone 3. Blooming on new wood from July-September, panicle hydrangeas are the most cold hardy and sun tolerant of zone 3 hydrangea varieties. Some zone 3 hydrangea varieties in this family include:

  • Bobo
  • Firelight
  • Limelight
  • Little Lime
  • Little Lamb
  • Pinky Winky
  • Quick Fire
  • Little Quick Fire
  • Ziinfin Doll
  • Tardiva
  • Unique
  • Pink Diamond
  • White Moth
  • Preacox

Annabelle hydrangeas are also hardy to zone 3. These hydrangeas are much loved for their huge ball-shaped flowers that bloom on new wood from June- September. Weighed down by these enormous flowers, Annabelle hydrangeas tend to have a weeping habit. Zone 3 hardy hydrangeas in the Annabelle family include the Invincibelle series and Incrediball series.

Caring for Hydrangeas in Cold Climates

Blooming on new wood, panicle and Annabelle hydrangeas can be pruned in late winter-early spring. It’s not necessary to prune back panicle or Annabelle hydrangeas each year; they will bloom fine without annual maintenance. It does keep them healthy and looking nice, though, so remove spent blooms and any dead wood from the plants.

Hydrangeas are shallow rooting plants. In full sun, they may need watering. Mulch around their root zones to help retain moisture.

Panicle hydrangeas are the most sun tolerant zone 3 hardy hydrangeas. They do well in six or more hours of sun. Annabelle hydrangeas prefer light shade, with about 4-6 hours of sun a day.

Hydrangeas in cool climates may benefit from an extra heap of mulch around the plant crown through winter.

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