Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: macrophylla (mak-roh-FIL-uh) (Info)
» View all varieties of Hydrangeas
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Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Spacing:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pink

Pale Green

Light Blue

Medium Blue

Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Mobile, Alabama

Rainsville, Alabama

Nogales, Arizona

Alameda, California

Albany, California

Cazadero, California

Elk Grove, California (2 reports)

Laguna Niguel, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Sunnyvale, California

Floral City, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Brunswick, Georgia

Quitman, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Owensboro, Kentucky

Echo, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Slidell, Louisiana

Crofton, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland

Somerset, Massachusetts

Carleton, Michigan

Saucier, Mississippi

Jersey City, New Jersey

Staten Island, New York

Graham, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Nakina, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Mount Orab, Ohio

Westerville, Ohio

Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Andersonville, Tennessee

Maynardville, Tennessee

Thompsons Station, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Madisonville, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Urbanna, Virginia

Kirkland, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:

8
positives
2
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Neutral

On Apr 6, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species varies a lot in hardiness. Also, the species and most cultivars bloom only on old wood. This means that here in Z6a, where without winter protection there is much winter dieback, blooming is diminished or (in some years) absent. Most florist cultivars will not survive our winters.

You can maximize bloom by pruning out deadwood only. Be patient and wait until the buds swell in late spring to tell what's dead and what's still alive.

I much prefer 'Endless Summer' or one of the other new cultivars that bloom on both old and new wood. They bloom much more, and more reliably.

Flower color depends on cultivar and on soil pH---bluer on more acidic soils, pinker where pH is higher. If you use a chemical to modify soil acidity, use iron sulf... read more

Negative

On Jan 20, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I love this species as a florist plant in a pot, but it is way over-used in the Mid-Atlantic and South landscapes. The mutated flower heads of all sterile flowers are not useful for pollinators. Because it branches all over the ground, it is hard to prune, and if they aren't pruned strongly sometime, they get so messy and full of dead twigs and stems. Except for some new cultivars, one can only prune them just when the flowers turn brownish in late summer; otherwise there will be no blooming the next season.

Positive

On Jan 16, 2010, lilyb from Brunswick, GA wrote:

Great flower for this area, zone 8B. But, hydrangeas in this area bloom great one year and not as good the next. Expect
for the old fashion white big leave adn oak leaves. They seem to do good every year. Yes, they do wilt in the sun, even in the shade sometime in the July and August sun. But, they recover will by late afternoon.

Positive

On Apr 29, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Such a beautiful flower. Actually native to Japan and Korea despite its common name "French hydrangea". It used to be planted in castle courtyards in feudal Japan.

Growing it here can be a risk. I am in a hot, humid climate and I have to have it growing on the eastern side of my house in partial shade that way it can be protected from the hot afternoon sun. It will wilt during the day if not protected...which doesn't kill the plant but doesn't make it attractive either.

Positive

On Dec 19, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Blooms June, July and August on previour year's growth. In many winters can die to the ground but will come back with lush new growth but there will be now blossoms, the following summer. The ones sold as potted plants are a delicate variety, will not produce flowers if planted outdoors. each bloom is around 7-8" in diameter, and has large ovate leaves.

Positive

On Jul 20, 2004, Mophead from Aylesford
Canada wrote:

I live in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia and I grow a variety of hydrangea. I have had especially good success with 'Annabelle' which blooms profusely in mostly shade and with a great deal of competition from maple and poplar roots.

Positive

On Jun 20, 2004, Mondz from quezon city
Philippines wrote:

Since I live in a tropical climate (hot and humid), I've learned that it's best to keep hydrangeas well clear of noon and afternoon sun. Partial shade won't help in the baking hot sun, since the leaves and flowerheads would droop and dry up unless you keep a sprinkler trained on it. Plant it by an east-facing wall for best results. Watch out for spider mites since they tend to discolor the leaves and stunt leaf growth.

Additional comment: I've noticed that my hydrangeas bloom faster when i remove the older foliage (bottom leaves). Looks better too as the stems don't get weighted down too much. Keeps a check on stubborn mites also.

Positive

On May 31, 2004, easterfront from Raymond, WA wrote:

the hydrangea is very well known in the state of washington. in the northwester part of the state hydrangea's a plentiful.
people have them growing all over in western washington.

Positive

On Feb 24, 2004, ButterflyDust from Riverside, CA wrote:

Very beautiful hydrangea. This particular plant is darker blue to lavender in color on the larger out flowers, with tiny blue cluster of flowers with five petals in the center. The large dark green leaves alone make the plant wonderful to have.

Will bloom indoors in any light, but prefers medium light. Outside prefers morning sun and afternoon shade.

Positive

On Oct 25, 2002, whitebear from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Hydrangeas are beautiful if one can accept their faults. I have heared time and time again, the things that turn them different colors upon blooming, none of them work for me but I am more than happy with the surprise Bouquet I recieve every spring. A special note, if you havent cut them back by October, leave them alone or trim minimally (second nub) or you may not get blooms in spring.

Neutral

On Mar 9, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Deciduous shrub with large serrated leaves. Large ball-shaped flowers are pH-sensitive, with dark purple or blue flowers in acidic soil, white or dull green in neutral earth, and pink in alkaline soil. Flowering is best in areas with mild winters, since the plant blooms on previous years growth.