Hydrangeas are among the easiest flowering plants for a backyard garden but look out! They do grow into large shrubs, often taller than the gardener and certainly wider. Those with smaller gardens can now enjoy the romantic look of easy-care hydrangeas by planting smaller varieties. There are lots of attractive dwarf hydrangea varieties available that will grow happily in a pot or small area. Read on for information about dwarf hydrangea plants.
Dwarf Hydrangea Bushes
Who doesn’t love bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla)? These are plants with tricks, as the flowers will turn from blue to pink if the acidity of the soil changes. These are shrubs with round clusters of flowers bigger than your fist. The leaves are not the only thing big about them.
The plants themselves grow 6 feet (2 m.) tall and wide. For smaller spaces, you can get the same frilly elegance with ‘Paraplu’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Paraplu’), a smaller version of bigleaf with the same strikingly lovely pink flowers that won’t get above 3 feet (1 m.) tall.
‘Paraplu’ is not the only choice there is with dwarf bigleaf hydrangeas. Another great dwarf cultivar is ‘Cityline Rio’ hydrangea, also maxing out at 3 feet (1 m.) tall but offering blue flowers with green “eyes” at the centers.
If you want that “color magic” in your dwarf hydrangea bushes, you might consider ‘Mini Penny’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mini Penny’). Like the standard size bigleaf, ‘Mini Penny’ can be pink or blue depending on the acidity of the soil.
Other Dwarf Hydrangea Varieties
If your favorite hydrangea is not a bigleaf but instead the popular panicle hydrangea like ‘Limelight,’ you can get the same look with dwarf hydrangea plants such as ‘Little Lime’ (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’). Like ‘Limelight,’ the blooms start a pale green then develop into a deep red in autumn.
Oakleaf hydrangea fans may prefer ‘Pee Wee’ (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’). This mini oakleaf grows 4 feet tall and 3 feet (around a meter) wide.
Dwarf hydrangea varieties are plentiful, each echoing the beauty and style of their larger counterparts. You can find types of dwarf hydrangeas that thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, so few gardeners will have to do without. Planting small hydrangeas in the landscape is a great way for small space gardeners to still enjoy these beautiful shrubs.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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