There are four basic types of Hydrangeas and you can see all of them blooming in Muskogee area gardens.
Paniculata Hydrangeas have cone shaped flower heads and grow to 8-feet tall and wide. They need a few hours of daily sun and are winter hardy practically everywhere. They can be pruned at any time of the year without concern for next year's flowers.
Paniculata Grandiflora acquired the nickname of PG and now most Paniculata nursery stock is called PeeGee whether or not it is Grandiflora.
The typical white flowers of PeeGee turn pink as they mature, making the shrub look like a completely different plant by the end of the season.
Other sun tolerant Paniculata names to look for: Big Ben, Limelight, Starlight, Webb, Florabunda, Pink Diamond, Silver Dollar, Tardiva, Chantilly Lace, True Unique, White Lady, The Swan,
Hydrangea Quercifolia includes the popular Oakleaf Hydrangea. This American native can take the heat. Afternoon shade encourages the leaves to turn vivid colors in the fall.
Snow Queen and Alice are the Oakleafs we see most often. Quercifolia varieties Snowflake and Harmony are considered doubles. They grow in part sun and can take dry soil but not wet roots.
Harmony is ideal for morning sun and afternoon shade under a tree. Its bulky flower heads are called Sheep's Head because of their shape and tendency to hang on the branch.
Sikes Dwarf and PeeWee are Oakleaf 4-foot tall and wide selections for small garden spaces.
Hydrangea Arborescens includes Annabelle with her 10-inch flower heads. These can be grown as a hedge and are very forgiving of severe pruning in the fall since they bloom on new growth. Plant in a location that has dappled sun all day or morning sun with afternoon shade.
Arborescens flower heads can droop so plant them in groups where they can support each others' flowers. Or put a wire fence around the plant at the beginning of the season. As the plant leafs out the fence is covered while providing support for the flowers.
Hydrangea Macrophylla, the pink or blue mophead is treasured for its spring and early summer bloom. (Prune only after blooming.)
Soil composition determines whether Macrophylla will have pink or blue flowers. For blue flowers, add aluminum a high potassium fertilizer that is low in phosphorous such as 25-5-30.
To change blue flowers to pink add dolomitic lime several times a year to raise the pH to 6.0. Apply a high phosphorous fertilizer (phosphorous is the middle number in a fertilizer).
Hydrangeas planted near a foundation or sidewalk will tend to be pink since lime will leach out of the concrete and into the soil.
Hydrangea Macrophyllas that continue to bloom after the initial spring flowering include Endless Summer and Blushing Bride. Macrophylla varieties include: Lemon Zest (bright green leaves), Penny Mac, Amethyst, Harlequin (petals are pink with white edge), Forever Pink, Dooley (pink and blue flowers on the same plant), Frillibet (frilly-edged petals), Nikko Blue and Ravel.
A new series of dwarf Macrophyllas, called City Line, stay short (1 to 3-feet) and compact. Varieties include names such as Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Venice. Prune before Aug budset.
Mophead Hydrangeas make buds in the fall so severe pruning or freezing weather can damage buds. Endless Summer is remontant, meaning that it also makes flower buds in the spring.
The Hydrangeas commonly called Lace Cap Hydrangeas have a cluster of sterile blooms in the center with open fertile flowers around the outside edge.
Hydrangea anomala subsp Petiolaris is a vining hydrangea to plant at the base of a tree or on a north-facing wall where it will climb over 25-feet and bloom late spring. It can also be grown as a shade blooming ground cover.
Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight' has heart shaped leaves mottled with silvery highlights. Moonlight is a clinging vine for shade that is related to Hydrangea.
When deciding on a location for Hydrangeas, find a place that is close to a source of water and where it will be protected from afternoon sun.
Hydrangeas need to be planted in amended soil for good drainage. Dig a hole about the size of a bushel basket and add finely shredded tree bark, peat moss and compost to the soil you put back into the planting hole.
The Hydrangea Society closest to Oklahoma is MidSouth-Memphis. Membership is $10 a year and includes an informative quarterly newsletter and free admission to their annual members only tour in June. Contact Linda Lanier at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, Linda Orton, president at email@example.com, or 901-383-4433.