Hydrangeas are gorgeous shrubs that add colour, beauty, and excitement to your landscape. We are fortunate to have quite a few varieties that thrive in cold weather climates, brightening our summer gardens. With the proper care, these hardy varieties will elevate your landscape.
Hardy Varieties of Hydrangeas
With our brutal winters, it’s vital to select hydrangea varieties that are hardy to our region and can withstand the cold! Here are some of our favourite varieties.
Annabelle hydrangeas are a North American classic, with large puffs of flowers that delight all summer. This variety, in particular, has very heavy bloom heads that do best with support. Planting them next to a fence or planting shrubs close together are great options for more support.
For an all-green variety, Limelight hydrangeas are a gorgeous option with large, football-shaped panicles of green-white florets. This variety will flower every year, unphased by the cold of winter—truly inspirational!
Pinky Winky hydrangeas are a stunning variety with panicles that turn pink at the base when summer turns to fall, but the panicles keep growing with new, white florets. The result is a two-toned, elongated panicle that is spectacular to behold.
For a pink variety that has slightly smaller bloom heads, Zinfin Doll hydrangeas are a lovely option with dark pink and white panicles. Their blooms are about ⅔ the size of Pinky Winky’s but appear around the same time; planting these two close together is a great option to add dimension to an all-pink garden.
Hydrangea Care Guide
Most hydrangeas require similar, if not the same, care. Of course, we recommend researching specific varieties, but these are general guidelines that will provide your hydrangea with excellent care.
Soil Composition: Hydrangeas are generally quite tolerant to many soil types, but fertile soil is the best! A layer of organically rich compost or fertilizer for flowering shrubs will give your hydrangeas all they need. You may have heard that you can change the colour of your hydrangea blooms; unfortunately, that characteristic is only with Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), which are not hardy in the Edmonton region.
The Right Light: For these hardy hydrangeas, full sun in the morning with partial shade in the afternoon is the perfect amount of light for these gorgeous plants, totalling about 4-6 hours of sun per day. Too much shade will reduce flower output; if they get full sun all day, ensure they have enough water during the hottest part of the summer.
Watering Routines: Ensure that your hydrangeas have consistent water through the summer season. It is best to water deeply a couple of times a week rather than shallow watering daily. You can cut back on your watering if you have a lot of rain since the plants won’t do well in soggy soil.
Effective Pruning: The right time to prune your hydrangea depends entirely on the variety, so double-check before you pull out the shears! You will want to prune shrubs that bloom on new growth in the late winter, and shrubs that bloom on old growth right after the blooms have faded.
Each of the hardy hydrangea varieties mentioned above grows on new wood and excels with an aggressive pruning in late winter or early spring. You can also deadhead the blooms as they fade to ensure your plant is directing its energy to new growth, which will prolong your bloom season.
To hard prune your hydrangeas, remove any damaged branches and cut them down to the main stem. You can shape as you go to ensure your shrub maintains its rounded shape. Limelight, Zinfin Doll, and Pinky Winky varieties will thrive with hard pruning, reducing them to ⅓ of their total mass. Leave the larger stems, and prune the smaller wood all the way to the ground. It might seem counterintuitive, but reducing the plant by this much results in healthy growth and gorgeous flowers! For Annabelle hydrangeas, you will get fewer but larger blooms if you cut them down to 12 inches.
If you’re looking for hydrangeas near you, visit either of our garden centres in St. Albert or Sherwood Park. If you would like to incorporate hydrangeas into your landscape, contact Salisbury Landscaping; our professional team would be more than happy to discuss your next project!