Rethinking doing rhododendrons, hydrangea's may be better?

disneynut1977(5b, Sunset zone 42)August 16, 2009

I originally asked about rhodo's in the Rhody forum for this area, but now I'm wondering if hydrangea's would be a better choice?

I have a strip against half the back of my house that I just cleaned up. It's about 20' long x 2 1/2' deep. This area in the spring before leafout, gets about 3-3 1/2 hours direct-dappled sun, after leaf out, it only gets about 1.5 -2hrs direct sun than the rest dappled to shade. I have a full size maple not too far from my house that shades this area. The bed is OK on moisture being right next to the house. I know I would have to water the first year, but I think after that they would be ok (I do have 1 of my waterbarrels and my outside faucet on this side, so getting water to them is not an issue). Just a bit away from the house it can get wet, but no actual standing water.

I have 2 Big Daddy's in the front of my house that are doing wonderful, except sometimes it does get a little hot and the flower heads droop/wilt someday's(this area gets more sun, about 2 more hrs, 1 of those being around noon, than shaded by my house). So I thought maybe the back would be perfect for some more hydrangea's. I would really like to get some Lacecap's. Those are my favorite. I love my big flowers head's on the BD's, but there's something so delicate about the lacecap's. So since I really don't know anything about different lacecap's, what would be good for the area in zone5? Which color is not much of a biggie. I would prefer not to have white though. I know white would pop out more in the shade, but I do want some color. I don't want 1 that will get over about 4 ft, I don't mind having to prune if the hydrangea respond's well to pruning. I actually like to prune, it's very relaxing to me :)

If this is the wrong place for this, please don't hesitate to say so, I won't take any offense. I wasn't sure since there is no hydrangea trade forum's and I thought there would be more hydrangea people on here compared to the plant exchange. If anybody has some rooted cuttings of lacecaps that would work, please check my trade page out and let me know. I know I do need to have rooted cuttings as I don't think I could root them myself. I would like to put 4 lacecaps back there. They don't have to be all the same either.

Thanks for your help


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Melissa, if the spot get only 2 hrs less sun than the spots where your BDs have no trouble to set blooms, then I think you are ok...the sun exposure is on the low side, even for hyrangeas, if you want reliable blooms...that said, i think your location will be alright...since it close to the house, the soil maybe more alkaline than you think..hydrangeas are more tolerant to alkaline soil than Rhodies would...there are many lacecaps you can chose...I am partial to the mopheads but i have clients would only have lacecaps...fuji waterfall, blue bird, blue billow are the common ones...the more recent introductions like lady in red, twist-n-shout (1st rebloomer for a lacecap), and lemon wave...I dont have cuttings for these, but you probably can find these plants in local nurseries or online suppliers ( would be another place for hydrangea online shopping..


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
disneynut1977(5b, Sunset zone 42)

Thanks for the suggestion's on the Lacecaps. I will look then up. I think they would be ok back there too. I didn't think about hydrangea's, until I really started to notice that my BD's would droop around noon time on the hot days, so I thought the back would be perfect for more hydrangea's.

I still have the other side of my deck on the back of my house that's empty too. All cleaned up and the same size, but it does get more sun, still part sun, but more afternoon sun. I could put some rhodie's there I guess if I still want them also.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have many hydrangeas and some rhododendrons. Both plants would do great in that location. I am partial to reblooming hydrangeas in our zone 5. I have to take drastic measures of winter protection to ensure a good amount of flowers on my no reblooming hydrangeas. I did buy two of the Twist n Shout from the Endless Summer collection this year. Along with 2 of the Let's Dance Starlight Lacecap reblooming hydrangeas. So far I think the Starlight wins. But if you would like a mophead I think the Blue Heaven from the Forever and Ever collection is the most reliable. How many seasons have you had the Big Daddys?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ostrich(3a AB)

Melissa1977, since you are in zone 5a and more lacecaps are really just hardy to zone 6, I think that you will have to baby them every winter in order to keep them alive and to protect the buds.

To be honest with you, hydrangeasnohio, I am not so sure about the reblooming power of these newer macrophyllas even in zone 5b. So for zone 5a, I think they probably need to be protected still.

Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

good catch ostrich, I didn't even chk with the zone info for Melissa..most of the common lacecaps will not tolerate the cold winter in zone 5a...twist-n-shout listed for zone 4..lady in red will need winter protection for zone 5...a new lacecap from Proven Winners is coming up next season..Blue Bunny...I have some folks asking for that one..listed for zone 5, blooms on new wood (so reliable bloomer), stays blue regardless of soil pH, appears to need heavy shade conditions, compact size...maybe that one Melissa should keep an eye on next spring (if she can wait for one winter for that spot) bird, blue billow, lemon wave will not do in zone for twist-n-shout, i'll chk with folks have this plant earlier this season and see if it really reblooms.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
disneynut1977(5b, Sunset zone 42)

Oh, I can wait. Blue Bunny sounds perfect for this strip. I'll have to keep my eye out for them and maybe only be able to pick up 2. Being new, I would think the price will be high. In the mean time, I can try to get my rhodie's all set before late fall on the other side.


My BD's have only been through 1 winter with me. I bought them as large 3yr plants, planted in fall and MOUNDED leaves ontop for winter protection. They are only about 2ft tall and even if I get alot of dieback each year and they don't get any taller that's fine with me. I have I think a 6-7 blooms on each plant and I would say the blooms are 8-9inches wide. The blooms are lasting for quite a bit too. Even though they are rated zone 6, so far I am very happy with them.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the response I thought BD's were for zone 5 also. I have seen them in many places around here. Thanks good to know. Good Luck!!!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How are those limelight hedges looking? (pic)
I know a lot of us were planting limelight hedges this...
DEEP blue
When I was growing up my grandmother had big vigorous...
Hydrangea Blooms
A young macrophylla bloom. Post your pics!
Zinfin Doll hydrangea
Hi, This is a new hydrangea or at least new to me....
Propogating Hydrangea
Hi, My neighbors have just put up a 6 foot high fence...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™