Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea, Mophead 'Altona'

Hydrangea macrophylla

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: macrophylla (mak-roh-FIL-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Altona
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36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Magenta (Pink-Purple)


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Topeka, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 3, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Information from both "Hydrangeas for American Gardens," by Michael A. Dirr (2004) and "Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas" C.J. and D.M. Van Gelderen (2004 - Timber Press).

Conflicts arise between the two texts as to exact size, one claiming it grows to 3.5 feet, the other saying it grows 4' to 6' tall. This is a free- flowering shrub with dark pink to a vivid deep blue flower, with serrate sepals. Leaves are also serrate and are dark green. Stems are heavily spotted or stained purple-black.. Flowers last for 4 to 5 months; red, blue, and green sepaled during the autumn. Great for drying.
Should be hardy to zone 6.


On Jan 21, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Purply-blue flowers become bright red as the weather cools to autumn.