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

Cool climate gardeners, don't fret! Zone 3 hydrangeas do exist. Here are the hardiest varieties to grow for beautiful blooming shrubs.

'Invincibelle' hydrangea shrub in bloom
(Image credit: skhoward / Getty Images)

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 beautiful varieties. Finding the best hydrangea by zone doesn't have to be hard either. At least not with this list of the hardiest zone 3 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 to 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 in June to 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 to 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 four to six hours of sun a day. Hydrangeas in cool climates may benefit from an extra heap of mulch around the plant crown through winter.

Darcy Larum