Serratas & Paniculatas: Need sun or Tolerate sun?

kmickleson(z9 CA)February 5, 2011

My hydrangea catalogue has symbols indicating various degrees/types of sun like: full sun, mostly sun, partial sun, morning sun. Many descriptions will say 'give partial sun and it will do beautifully'....

I feel pretty confident about growing the macrophyllas in plain old shade, but having not grown either serratas or paniculatas yet (and even some unusual M's), I'm unclear if I can place them under my shady summer apple tree or other total shade areas and still have nice blooming. An old lacecap under the tree's edge stretches towards light, but still blooms well.

There are places there I'd love to plant one or more of these choices:

m. Fuji Waterfall

m. Lady In Red

m. Jogasaki

m. Wayne's White

p. Limelight

p. Phantom

p. Pee Wee

q. Pee Wee

s. Blue Billow

s. Blue Deckle

s. Diadem

s. Miyama Yae Murasaki

s. Shirofuji

So, I'd appreciate any feedback on what I 'can get by with' in the 'full shade' world with these varieties which appear to either 'need' or 'tolerate' sun. I could have my apple tree pruned out to maybe give more dappled shade, but it's a hassle if it's not necessary. I'm in CA in the SF Bay Area, Marin County.

Thanks so much.


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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The leaves will benefit from full shade but you will get more blooms with more sun. The best approach will be to let the shrubs get morning sun and afternoon shade (say starting around 11am-12pm). A shaded location with indirect light can also result in lots of blooms. The following Macs are recommended for shade by Glyn Church: Immaculata, Marecal Foch, Parzifal, Sister Therese (only macrophyllas).

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Hydrangeas are woodland understory plants in their native habitats - you will find most of them in situations that receive at least filtered or dappled shade. Full or heavy shade is not ideal as it can affect the amount of blooms as it can with pretty much any flowering plant. In general, any species of hydrangea will be happily located where it receives some morning sun and then shade through the afternoon or all day dappled/filtered shade.

A full sun location for macs, serratas and arborescens tends to be pretty stressful and you may encounter daily wilting in summer even with daily watering. Paniculatas and quercifolia are probably the most sun tolerant species but in very hot climates, I'd still provide some afternoon shade.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 9:31PM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

Thanks, Luis and Pam--I never got notification of Luis' response so just now saw it. Thanks to both of you for your comments.

I chuckle when everyone says hydrangeas do best with 'morning sun'--if you live on a property with little of that commodity, but is shady (bright or less bright) most other places after winter, you're kinda limited. Just got an order of several from Oregon, very nice plants. Have them all situated but for my lone serrata try, a Shirofuji, which of course says 'does best with morning sun'. And I have no morning sun real estate left. Oh well, I'll put it in a container and punt. I'll also have my ancient apple tree, under which I've placed an m. Fuji Waterfall and m. Jogasaki, pruned to make for 'dappled' :)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 10:09PM
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