Hydrangea are vibrant, eye-catching trees for the shade to partial-shade landscape. They can have pink, white or blue flowers depending upon the acidity of the soil. Four classes of hydrangeas exist: big leaf, oak leaf, panicle and smooth. Mophead and lacecap are the two styles of flowers. Hydrangeas vary in size, but they are generally too big for small spaces. Dwarf or pewee sizes are now available for containers and smaller gardening areas; they carry the same characteristics and amazing blooms that the bigger plants have, scaled down into a diminutive package.
Oakleaf, named for its large, lobed leaves in the shape of an oak's leaf, are native to the U.S. The flowers can come in double- or single-petal styles. The new smaller cultivars fit into spaces about 4 to 6 feet wide. Sikes Dwarf is a white hydrangea that stays compact even in the shade. Pewee is an oakleaf hydrangea that is perfect for small spaces and blooms heavily all summer. Oakleaf hydrangeas reward the grower with a spectacular colour show in fall.
Big Leaf Hydrangeas
Big leaf hydrangeas can grow to 5 or 6 feet in just a few years and require extensive pruning. Compact big leaf hydrangeas need no pruning. They mostly sport the giant mophead type of flower bit the stems are sturdy enough to support them. The flowers differ in the colours and tones, as well as the colour of the centre eye and the maturing colour. 'Venice' is an allover true blue and 'Raga' is a faded blue with a green eye. 'Paris Rapa' matures to a deep fuchsia pink, while 'Ramars' turns a deep green as it ages. Probably more dwarf cultivars of macrophylla exist than the other hydrangea styles.
The panicle hydrangeas also come in a dwarf size. Little Lamb is a white flowering hydrangea with the smallest flower petals of any hydrangea. The petals are less than 2 inches long as opposed to the 4 to 6 inch that is standard for hydrangeas. It is late blooming in midsummer and lasts until autumn. The flowers start out white and blush pink as they age. Little Lime, a dwarf form of Limelite, has a yellowish-green flower. Both dwarfs are actually suitable for full-sun areas and are drought tolerant. Both hydrangeas can get 6 to 8 feet tall but are still considered dwarf varieties due to the ease of pruning them down and their compact nature.
Smooth-leaved hydrangea are native to the United States. Not a lot of dwarfs of this type exist due to the huge flowers. 'Pia' does a good job of fitting the dwarf size with the multiflora blooms that arboresens is known for. It gets only 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide with massive pink flowers. The flowers remain pink regardless of the acidity of the soil.
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