Hydrangeas for Ohio

Updated June22, 2021

Hydrangeas are more than large, fluffy pink and blue flowers of the Big Leaf Hydrangeas loved by nearly everyone who sees them in flower arrangements.

There are four additional types which do well in Ohio. In fact, more than well – rather prolifically well! From early smooth hydrangeas that bloom near the end of May to the early August blooming Hydrangea paniculata, Ohio gardeners can have hydrangea blooms throughout the growing season. The chart linked below is based on five species, starting with smooth hydrangeas and going in bloom order from left to right. Listed are some cultivars that have shown promise in Ohio landscape, but is not an all inclusive listing.

Use the chart below to plan which hydrangeas to add to landscape. You can print this to make notes while visiting other gardens. Taking this chart to the garden center will help ensure you are choosing the right plant for the right place in your landscape.

Hydrangeas for Ohio Gardens Chart: Hydrangea-Chart-2021

Copies of the Hydrangeas for Ohio PowerPoint slides can be printed at: http://go.osu.edu/totallybeautiful

22 thoughts on “Hydrangeas for Ohio

  1. I have beautiful hydrangeas bushes but no blooms. there was growth on the stems from last year but no flowers. I did cut the stems back last fall to about 2 feet. Does the blossom only form on the very end that I cut off?

    • Hi Judy –

      Where do you live? You probably have a macrophylla hydrangea. Some macrophyllas bloom on old wood, some bloom on both old wood and new wood. Most likely, yours blooms on old wood and thus has no blooms due to cold winters. Old wood means that the plant forms flower buds in August. These flower buds then become blooms the next May/June. If the winter is too cold (and with desiccating winds), the buds are killed and thus no blooms the next year. Your only option is to purchase a new one that blooms on old and new wood. refer to my chart for some example cultivars.

  2. Hello!
    I’m trying to find out if the maple leaf hydrangeas grow wild in ohio or if i would be better off growing my own.
    Thank you!

    • Hi –

      I think you might mean oakleaf hydrangeas, as there are no maple leaf hydrangeas. They are not found here in Ohio. You’ll need to purchase the plants. You can find out more details on my factsheet at ohioline.osu.edu – just search for hydrangeas.

      Thanks for the comment! -Eric.

      • You’re absolutely correct! I meant oakleaf. I’ll look them up. Thank you! I just hope they’ll survive through an ohio winter!
        Thanks again,

        • They will survive our winters just fine. They do bloom on old wood, so in winters that are below -25F for several days will have an impact on their bloom for the coming season, but not on the plant’s survival.
          Thanks again! – Eric.

    • Hi Sandy –

      It is too late in the season to plant. Ground heaving may cause issues. I suggest putting off the purchase until spring.

      If you already have the plant and it is sitting out or stored in the garage, it would be best to plant it now rather than leaving it out with the roots exposed to the cold temperatures. Mulch it heavily to try to minimize the freeze/thaw cycle around the plant. Bobo is a cultivar of paniculata hydrangea, so it is rather hardy. Let me know if you have more questions. – Eric.

  3. I live in highland county Ohio. Can I plant a hydrangea where it will get evening sun and no morning sun. Everywhere I look says evening sun is fine in the North, but we are neither north nor south.

    • Hi Dawna –

      In most cases, you can plant a hydrangea plant on where it will get only evening sun. But, it depends on what kind you are planting. Most of them will grow just fine. A few just might be slightly smaller and fewer flowers (macrophylla). Other types (like paniculata) may show more colors as the bloom fades (i.e. – Hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Strawberry will turn a dark pink to purple as the bloom fades under these conditions). Good luck with your new plant!

  4. Can you transplant a hydrangea if it’s been in a shady spot for several years? It’s a big leafy hydrangea without blooms so we want to move it to see if it will flower.

    • Yes, you can transplant it. The best location is where it gets morning sun, the shade from 12pm through the rest of the day. Fall would be the best time to transplant. Just because you move it does not mean it will bloom. It could be a cultivar that only blooms on old wood. Your best bet is to prune it just above the third bud on each stem. Then, cover the plant with a bag of mulch until spring. Once you see some growth in spring, remove the mulch. Since this may be the first week of April, be sure to cover this plant and protect the new growth from any frosts throughout the rest of spring. If the plant does bloom on old wood and the new foliage gets killed by the frost, you will not have any blooms for the season.

  5. I live in NW Ohio and its Aug 20, 2019.
    I was wondering if it’s too late to plant a dwarf PW Pee Wee Hygrandea?

  6. Hi –

    No, it is not too late. Since it is so hot and there is potential for more heat in the coming weeks, you’ll need to pay attention to the plant to ensure it has adequate water for root growth. Planting now will help get the plant established for winter. Good luck!

  7. When are the best times to fertilize? And what are the proper numbers to look for when purchasing?
    I live in Central Ohio if that makes any difference.


  8. Hi Laura –

    Please print and use the chart. This will answer most questions and you can take it to the garden center when purchasing plants. The chart explains the five types in great detail. There is a link on this post.

    Fertilizer – Follow the directions on the fertilizer package. For most hydrangeas, no extra fertilization is necessary. For the middle column – hydrangea macrophylla – you’ll want to use something with a lower nitrogen amount. Complete details are available by downloading the powerpoint slides.

    Numbers – I’m assuming this means zones. For central Ohio, I would suggest to not depend on anything above a zone 5 for hydrangea macropylla (that’s the one where the zone number matters the most). For the others, just follow the chart. The types of hydrangeas on this chart are meant to grow in Ohio.

    Please don’t focus on the macrophyllas (generally fluffy pink and blue blooms). There are SO MANY other hydrangeas that will make your landscape the envy of the block.

    Thanks! -Eric

    • Thanks for the info. Actually the numbers I referred to were for fertilizer. I see the recommended times you recommend in the power point, but I am still uncertain about which type of fertilizer to apply when.
      Also wondering if you will be hosting any seminars on hydrangeas this year?

      I loved the slide show!

  9. Hi Laura –

    Numbers for fertilizer. In general, low numbers under 10 and a zero for nitrogen. In general, an all purpose fertilizer from the garden center is fine – just don’t put a lot of nitrogen on macrophylla through the season. This limits blooms.

  10. I planted oakleafs last spring. They had sun in the moringing and shade in the evening. I live in central Ohio. All 3 died over this past winter. could this be due to the past harsh winter we had? Just curious. Really like the plant. Maybe I did something wrong.

    • Hi Dave –

      I would say this is a rare event. There could have been many issues going on that led to their demise, but I don’t think the harsh winter (that really wasn’t too bad) could have done this. Some things to think about – if they were purchased with blooms, they put a lot of energy in those and probably needed fertilizer and consistent moisture during the dry spell in early July and the second dry spell in September. I have heard a lot of gardeners with new plants last year that did not water during these dry spells and have issues with winter desiccation and more. Also, are there any larger trees competing for moisture? This could have made it worse. Were they well mulched before winter? The rootballs could have been forced out of the ground by freeze/thaw conditions. I suggest pulling out a plant and inspecting – did the roots go beyond the rootball and grow into the existing soil during the year? Are they easy to tug out? While there could be many reasons, I hope this does not discourage you to replant. Reevaluate the area, along with care during the first year and try again. This is a pretty rare occurrence.

  11. I live in North-east Indiana. Do you have any information that would work for me? I have 2 hydrangeas, but do not know what type they are. The person doing the care of them this spring cut them back to about 3″. One looks like it is showing leaves; however, the other does not. How can I find out which plant I have? And how to care for it? The PH level of the soil is 7.

    • Hi Lauretta –

      The same factsheet will work for you – go to http://go.osu.edu/hydrangeafacts for details.

      You can use pictures of the plants to try to identify which type you have. For the exact cultivar, it would be more difficult. Care instructions are on the factsheet. The pH matters most for the color of blooms on macrophylla and serrata. Details are on the factsheet.

      To find your local Purdue Extension office, go to: https://extension.purdue.edu/about and choose your county after you scroll down on the page.

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