I live in Kentucky and love hydrangeas. Can I grow them in my zone? Which would be best and best location in the yard? Near the house or under a tree or in bed out in the open? Thanks
They prefer and do best in afternoon shade, Gina1962. An east exposure is best although my roof extends north enough to where I can grow them there too.
The cement under the house can leech minerals and make the soil alkaline so plant them a few feet away from the foundation if you decide on that setting.
If your soil is alkaline (nearby local nurseries can usually tell you or you can get a soil pH test kit) then you may need to ammend the soil in Spring and perhaps once-twice more to prevent the leaves from turning yellow, except for the leaf veins.
If planted under trees, just consult with someone to determine if the tree's root will grow near the surface and compete with the hydrangea's roots.
I cannot plant them in the open here because the leaves fry under our rough summer sun but, in the northeast, they can do just fine because the sun is weaker in the summer months. They also do well in full shade where the shade is "bright shade".
Macrophyllas, usually called mopheads or lacecaps, will do fine -usually- through Zone 6 but there are a few sensitive ones that are only hardy thru Zone 7 so it pays to look at the plant label or info on web pages to confirm.
These come in reblooming and non-reblooming versions. Invisible flower buds develop in July-August and open in the Spring. Then the rebloomers bloom again several more times depending the length of the growing season. Deadheading the blooms of the rebloomers encourages new bloomage faster.
Oakleaf hydrangeas (their leaves look like oak leaves) are also hardy but I always mention not to place them where their root will get wet feet. If they do, they can catch root rot and die quickly.
Paniculatas and arborescens also do well. They are very, very hardy. Paniculatas tend to produce panicle shaped white blooms and the shrub is hardy to Zone 3 or so. Arborescens produced usually mophead blooms (white or pink aft first) but sometimes a lacecap bloom and is hardy to Zone 4 or so.