Anyone who has tried to make their blue-flowering
Hydrangea shorter knows that this is fruitless task. Hydrangeas replace their height in one summer, and a plant that’s been cut down has fewer flowers that season. It’s difficult to keep taller plants small because you are fighting their genetics. Hydrangea lovers needn’t despair, however, because that tall plant can be relocated, and there are many new varieties that stay short.
From dwarf mopheads (
Hydrangea macrophylla), to lacecaps ( Hydrangea serrata), panicle ( Hydrangea paniculata), and smooth ( Hydrangea arborescens) varieties, there is a short hydrangea for every garden. Here are a few that we’re especially excited about.
For those who love a rich blue mophead, but need a plant that stays under 3 feet tall, look no further than CityLine Rio. This Hydrangea is very bud-hardy on Cape Cod, and when planted in afternoon shade the flowers last from July into October.
The following photos have been provided for our use by Spring Meadow Nursery.
Another H. macrophylla that stays short is Wee Bit Grumpy. Bright pink flowers in alkaline soils will be a rich purple in our native Cape Cod acidic soils. Wee Bit Grumpy grows to two feet tall and three feet wide.
Wee Bit Giddy is a mophead that grows 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This variety will be pink in alkaline soil and purple/blue in acidic conditions. Like the other mopheads in this post, these form flower buds in July and August that will bloom the following summer, so never cut the canes down in fall or spring. The only pruning that you should do on mopheads and lacecaps is to cut off deadwood after the plant breaks dormancy in the spring.
The lacecaps known as Tuff Stuff and Tiny Tuff Stuff are shorter varieties that are very bud-hardy and long-flowering. Tuff Stuff grows 2 to 3 feet tall, and Tiny Tuff Stuff tops out between 18 and 24 inches. Prune by removing deadwood only. These flowers will be blue in acid soil, pink in alkaline growing conditions.
If you have an area that’s in full sun, you should consider growing one of the Hydrangea paniculata varieties. Also called panicle hydrangeas, these plants do well in sun and flower on new growth, so pruning them in the fall or early spring won’t affect their flowering. Fire Light Tidbit will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. As the flowers mature they turn a lovely pink color. Panicle Hydrangeas do not turn blue, no matter how acidic the soil.
Wee White is often referred to as the first dwarf ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea. This one will grow between 1 and 3 feet tall and wide, which is half the size of ‘Annabelle.’ The flowers are white, aging to a slight pink. There is no way to turn these flowers blue, but this shrub grows well in full sun or part-sun, and flowers on new growth.
Another of the smooth hydrangeas ( Hydrangea arborescens) that stays small is Invincebelle Mini Mauvette. The flowers are a lovely lavender-pink and the shrub only grows to 3 feet tall. Smooth hydrangea flowers are also perfect for cutting, so plant enough for your landscape and bouquets for bringing indoors.