Help me plan which hydrangeas to put in certain spots?

1dahlia4me(7a (NoVA))May 4, 2011

Hello! Newbie here. We recently moved to a house (our first with an actual yard) that has no landscaping. I'm planning to put hydrangeas in some spots in the shady, west-facing front yard -- not ideal, I know. I've bought a couple quickfires and fuji waterfalls but I'm open to buying more hydrangeas. :) Note: this is a natural-looking, informal, semi-woodsy setting, so I prefer lacecaps to mopheads here (though I do like the look of a nice Annabelle too). I think white flowers would probably look most appropriate and show up best in the shade.

So here are the locations.

1. Front of the house, near the house. Partial shade with some afternoon sun. This one should be smallish so it doesn't block the windows of the split-level house. House is yellow, for color consideration. I was planning to put a quickfire here but it seems it will get too big. This will share a bed with some hostas, maybe a couple yellow rhododendrons for early color, possibly some zinnias and/or salvia.

2. South edge of a stand of trees to one side of the front yard. This is partial shade with some afternoon sun. Medium size is fine here. Planning some fuji waterfalls and one or two quickfires for this area.

3. In the middle of the stand of trees mentioned in #2. This is the shadiest of the locations, but the trees are high and upright so I'm hoping there's enough sun for a shade-loving hydrangea. Would love something really big with white flowers here. Veitchii??

Couple more preferences: Hardy, long bloom season, and strong enough not to flop.

Please excuse all the criteria and overthinking ... been waiting a long time for a yard to plan out. :)

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Paniculatas (like Quickfire) can tolerate a lot of sun, so would be suitable for those locations that offer morning shade and afternoon sun (hotter and more intense). Any of the macrophyllas would prefer the opposite - morning sun and afternoon shade or all day dappled or filtered shade. Same with the Annabelles.

Annabelles tend to be floppy :-) H. paniculata 'Little Lamb' is a more compact form so you may want to consider this for in front of the windows. And I'd think about including an oakleaf (H. quercifolia) as well. These will tolerate a good deal of sun also, white flowers and have great foliage, including wonderful fall color. And they come in dwarf varieties as well ('Pee Wee', 'Syke's Dwarf', 'Little Honey').

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 9:42AM
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1dahlia4me(7a (NoVA))

Thanks for the response! I like the oakleafs except we have so many oak trees I want a little variety in leaf shape. :)

I started browsing the more purple varieties, especially purplish lacecaps ... now I'm drooling over purple tiers, lilacina, Midoriboshi-Temari. Or maybe a blue billow. I'd better not find a hydrangea sale or I'm in trouble.

Incidentally, I was looking up how to test soil pH (figured you just buy a kit at the home improvement store, but googled it anyway) and found the following helpful link. Ha.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Test the Soil's Acidity

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:21AM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

I too got a split home with no landscaping 3 years ago, and it's been a pleasure getting out and mucking about, adding new things (going from 0 to 18 hydrangeas - haha).

Some initial recommendations and observations of mine are:

- you are in zone 7, so you can overwinter almost any type of hydrangea with little or no bloom impairment - use sites like "hydrangeasplus" for reference on sun tolerance of over 100 different cultivars
- paniculatas (quickfire, limelight, etc) are said to need at least 5 hrs of direct sun to bloom well
- most of mine (all types) seem to like at least 5 total hours of sun; anything less results in growth and bloom impairment.
- "west wall" is the worst location by far for most, because it can get deep shade 'til at least noon-ish; I tried an Endless Summer here and it didn't grow a full leaf back until the end of May!
- arborescens (annabelle/bella anna) can tolerate all-day sun, as can similar-behaving macs like "dooley"
- "florist hydrangeas" ($10 in 4" pots on holidays) can get 4-6' big and should do well in zone 7, but may need to be placed outside in progressively sunnier locations until they can take intense natural sunlight/heat
- dwarf varieties (not exceeding 2-4' big) are available in about all types of hydrangea. For macs, I recommend the Forever&Ever and Endless Summer lines, which bloom on new wood and come in different colors. Proven Winners Cityline - different colors, old wood only. Lemon Daddy is a mac that grows 4x4' and offers near-yellow leaves and lavender blooms. Paniculata and oakleaf also have dwarves that look similar to the full sizes.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:34AM
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