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Common Name:

Bigleaf Hydrangea

Scientific Name:

Hydrangea macrophylla

Family Name:

Saxifragaceae (Hydrangeaceae)


Bigleaf Hydrangea is a popular old-fashioned deciduous small to medium size shrub with many sparsely branched stems suckering from ground level. Large showy flower heads of two types, hortensia (florist's type, hemisphere of showy sterile flowers) or lacecap (ring of showy sterile flowers around a center of less showy fertile flowers), in colors ranging from blue to pink are the major asset. Plants are particularly useful along woodland edges or other partly shady sites. Some of the small size cultivars with very large flower clusters are used as potted house plants or for table arrangements.

Plant Habit or Use:

Groundcover, shrub, small shrub, medium shrub, interiorscape


partial sun

Flower Color:

Pink to blue, spent flowers on hortensia types can be mildly showy.

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Capsules, mostly on the lacecap types, not particularly showy.


3 ft to 5 ft


5 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Flower color is affected by the soil pH of the site via the aluminum concentration; acid tends to have blue flowers, while pink is often on higher pH sites, but this is not always tree.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.