Late summer-to fall blooming hydrangea shrubs are loved for their large and extravagant blooms. The woody-stemmed panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) thrive and prosper in full and part sun. When planting, make sure to allow extra space for the larger varieties to mature. Remember to water deeply in order to establish a good root system before the winter. In addition, mulch these hardy shrubs to keep them blooming from summer through fall. For sun to part shade bloomers, try Endless Summer™ hydrangeas which are classified as Big Leaf hydrangeas or the classic 'Annabelle' hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens), known as Smooth hydrangeas.
1. 'Quick Fire Fab' Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata): The 'Quick Fire Fab' hydrangea is simply smashing! This new panicle hydrangea combines the amazingly early bloom time of the legendary Quick Fire hydrangea. This 'easy-to-grow' variety is incredible with large, football-sized and shaped blooms of a creamy-green color that turn to a watermelon pink color from the bottom up. Pollinators love it and the color isn't affected by the soil pH. The shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and wide when mature.
2. Endless Summer Hydrangea 'The Original' (Hydrangea macrophylla): This is a 'Big Leaf' hydrangea (H. macrophylla) and it blooms repeatedly on old and new wood from early summer until frost. The medium green foliage provides contrast for an abundant summertime display of mop-head flowers up to 8 in. in diameter. These hydrangeas thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade or in a dappled sunlight beneath large trees. Plant on the east or north side of your home for best results. Tip: Blooms will be pink in alkaline soil and blue in acidic soil. Look for other Endless Summer varieties such as 'Summer Crush', 'Blushing Bride' and 'BloomStruck'. 'The Original' will be 3-5 ft. tall and wide at maturity.
3. 'Limelight' Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'): This is a large hydrangea known for its chartreuse flowers that emerge in mid-summer. Blooms change to a blushed pink as autumn closes in and temperatures become cooler. The color of the blooms are not affected by the pH of the soil like the Big Leaf Hydrangeas (H.macrophylla). This plant thrives in full sun or part sun but blooms more with more sun. It matures from 6 to 8 feet tall and wide and can be pruned into a small tree or standard. It is more tolerant of urban conditions and more drought tolerant than most hydrangeas. If you are looking for a smaller version of 'Limelight', give 'Little Lime' a try!
4. 'Annabelle' Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'): This classic, Smooth Leaf hydrangea is known for its white, snowball-shaped flowers and dependable blooming. The flowers begin with a light green color, turn to white and then later in summer, turn back to green. The shrub has a rounded, mounded shape that thrives in partial shade and evenly moist, but well-drained soil. It can tolerate full sun, if moisture is available. The stems can be cut back in fall or left to stand with their dry, tan flower heads. They bloom every year, even after severe pruning. Matures to 3-5 ft. tall and 4-6 ft wide.