limelight hydrangeas for front of house

treasureforu(NC 7)June 29, 2009

My husband and I have a new house that is about 10 years old. It currently has hollys planted in the beds running across the front of the house. We want to replace those and are thinking about using hydrangeas instead. My husband is wanting limelights. Does anyone else have hydrangeas planted instead of the tradtional bushes in front of most homes? I was wondering if it will look ok? We were thinking about putting miniature azaleous in front of the hydrangeas. They are low growing and flower in spring. Any ideas on how are plans sound? And is this a good time of year to plant the hydrangeas?

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Hydrangeas will lose all the leaves in winter - even for zone 7 - that's the problem for using hydrangeas as a foundation plant...I think the plant looks great in a woodland garden design...or a southern garden design with evergreen azaleas, rhodies as the backbone - and the hydrangeas - as a group or a big specimen as an that garden, you will have the azaleas, rhodies do the blooms in April/May - hyrangeas in mid June till mid-sept (with blushing bride - you can even push it even into Oct)...when I move to my house, I pulled all the formal landscape plants out - no hollies, no boxwoods - get all the hardy azaleas, rhodies, mountain laurels, japanese andromedas as the bone then a whole garden full of hydrangeas (of different types - ES, blushing bride, annabelles)...and other woodland garden plants...with the winter bulbs, I get blooms from March to November...I am trying to push the limit of some Camelias and see if I can get any blooms in Dec or really depends on your design and taste...but in general, based on what i see with my biz clients, hydrangea as foundation plants is not a good idea...jmho.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 4:36PM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

I had some hydrangeas--don't recall the exact name-- in front of my last house along with the traditional evergreen shrubs, and I was happy with them. In my new house, I put in a row of Annabelle hydrangeas in the front of the house on one side of the door, without evergreens altogether.

There are many houses in my neighborhood that use hydrangeas instead of or along with evergreens like holly, boxwood, etc., so I had a chance to see what it looks like before I did it myself, and I like the way it looks.

Think about are whether you'll be happy with the way the hydrangeas look in winter. I don't know what they look like in NC; at my house they look like plain old sticks, which doesn't bother me, but is a very different look than evergreens.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 4:38PM
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I think you'll be happier with an evergreen. I tried hydrangeas in the front and yanked 'em for various reasons. It did look awful bare in the winter.

I spent 25 years pruning large mountain laurel, yews, etc. I replaced them with Ilex compacta...a dwarf inkberry that has a roundish shape. After 3 years, they look like they're maxxed out at 4 feet high. I did put Little Lamb hydrangeas in front of those for summer color...which I will be pruning hard each year to keep them short. Gave some thought to boxwood, but very happy with my decision.

Providing a link to a pic. I didn't totally abandon hydrangeas in the front...those are ES on the left.

Good Luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ilex Compacta

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:36PM
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treasureforu(NC 7)

Thank you for your input! I was not sold on the idea of using hydrangeas as the main shrub. My husband likes it but I bet he has no idea they lose their leaves in winter. I don't really like boxwoods and things. I think that I will push to do the azaleas and maybe one hydrangea on the edge of the bed. I bet that I can find something fairly low growing to put in front of the azaleas so that I can get blooms most of the summer. I love mums and a couple of those would help with fall. I just wasn't sure why I never saw hydrangeas by themselves in front of someones house, now I know about the leaves. Thanks again!

lsimms - I love your house and gardens. All of it is gorgeous. Thanks for adding the picture. Our house is a lot smaller but this is our last home so we downsized and love it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:36PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

IMO, using all evergreens in front of the house is outdated. Mixing evergreen with deciduous shrubs is the way to go now.

While I don't think hydrangeas would look fantastic as your main deciduous shrub, it would probably look quite nice to mix in a couple here and there.

The folks on the shrub forum can give you great shrub suggestions for your zone and growing conditions.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 9:35AM
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