Hydrangeas make a wonderful companion plant for roses. If you have an area near roses with afternoon shade they do admirably well in the deep south. I once planted a full bed of mopheads in an awkward corner near the foundation with great success. The bed faced southeast and because I controlled the water in that area they had optimal growing conditions. I even experimented with the color of those macrophylla by adding lime to our alkiline soil to turn them from pink to lavender blue!
Hydrangeas are divided into four types. Mopheads & Lacecaps (Macrophylla); Annabelle (Snowball Arborescens); Oakleaf (Quercifolia) and Pee Gee (Paniculata). Oakleaf, snowball and pee gee adapt well in the widest climatic range. Hydrangeas set buds in the fall (with one exception) August, September and October. If you cut them back or experience bad weather after that time they won't bloom in the spring. The only execption is "endless summer" a mophead variety bred to have a second set of blooms after the spring event. It's been an exciting development in hydrangea horticulture so give it a try.
Check out the highlights for each type:
* Mopheads are available throughout the U.S. in almost any box store or garden center.
* Lacecaps make wonderful understory plants in a woodland landscape. The delicate shape of these "fairy ring" blossoms are unlike any other plant in the garden.
* Oakleafs have dramatic cone shaped heads of densly packed single blooms, are native to the U.S. and do well in drier conditions. The dramatic leaves even turn red and orange in the fall!
* Snowball heads can reach 10" in circumference.
* Pee Gee are very cold hardy, even as far as Zone 2! This type can grow to 10' tall. A new variety called "limelight" has been wowing gardeners due to it's unusual color. Paniculata is the only hydrangea that can be successfully pruned into a "tree" shape.