ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Best Hydrangeas for Gulf Coast Gardens

Updated on February 11, 2011

Hydrangeas are one of those plants that everyone seems to recognize. The large mophead type is the most recognizable of all. They are the doorstep variety that historically lined the porches of homesteads in the Deep South, and are still a favorite in the area today. Climbing hydrangeas are another favorite of southern gardeners. Oakleaf types are often chosen for their ability to thrive in poor growing conditions.

Growing hydrangeas is easy enough for the novice gardener while offering enough diversity in growth habits, bloom shape, size and color and landscape placement choices to please the experienced gardener. In general, providing moderate to heavy shade along with well-drained organic soil and plentiful moisture is sufficient.

Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)

Climbing hydrangea offers the gardener with less space an opportunity to enjoy this southern standard by planting it on an arbor or trellis. Blooms are white lacecap type sprays on far-reaching vines. Allowed to grow unchecked, climbing hydrangea climbs up to 80 feet. Cascades of blooms appear to fall from vines beginning in early summer and lasting throughout the summer. When grown in USDA zone 8, give climbing hydrangea a full to mostly shaded spot in the yard. The plant will need some sun for best show of blooms however, too much harsh southern exposure and the vine is likely not to survive. Plant in rich garden soil, mulch well and keep moist without allowing water to stand around roots.

Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea
Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea | Source

Lacecap Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis)

Lacecap hydrangea blooms are more open with a lace-like appearance. Given their name, this is not a surprising. Lacecap blooms are two-toned in varying shades of white, blue and pink. They appear more delicate than they actually are, as they are known to thrive in the sand hills of northwest Florida, especially if grown in the dappled shade of one of the many live oak trees in the area. Lacecaps like a good helping of organic mulch around their roots and soil that receives regular moisture.

Blue Mophead Hydrangea
Blue Mophead Hydrangea | Source

Mophead Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Mophead hydrangeas stand out in the landscape with their huge mophead-like blooms in pink, blue and white. Depending on the makeup of the soil, the blue flowers and pink blooms of mophead hydrangeas change colors. The pH level should be between 6.0 and 6.2 for pink blooms.[1] The pink blooms will turn blue when shrub is grown in acidic soil with a pH between 5.2 and 5.5. Changing the growing medium will not affect the color of white blooming hydrangeas. Whether you choose to have blue, pink or white blooming mopheads, mulch them well and water them regularly for the best and longest lasting show of color.

Mountain Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla subsp. serrata)

Mountain hydrangea is a subspecies of the big leaf or H. macrophylla variety. Depending on the cultivar, blooms of mountain hydrangea can be mophead or lacecap type. Leaves on this bush are deep green and smaller than those of the H. macrophylla. Long lasting light blue flowers open from June to August. Mountain hydrangea grows as far north as USDA zone 6 however, it does quite well in zone 8 when situated in a shady area of the landscape. Apply plenty of organic material around the base of mountain hydrangeas. Water regularly.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Oakleaf hydrangea is a native of the United States. This hydrangea has panicles rather than mophead-like flowers. This tough hydrangea will thrive where others struggle to survive. The sandy, nutrient poor soils of the gulf coast are no match to the hardiness of the oakleaf hydrangea. It will thrive under these conditions reaching 6 - 8 feet tall at maturity; some may even grow larger than 8 feet. Flowers are creamy-white when they open in early summer turning various shades of pink as they age. The foliage of oakleaf hydrangea changes colors in the fall from medium green to shades of orange, red and purple. Oakleaf hydrangea is an exceptional choice for gardeners with large spaces and woodland areas to fill. Although the oakleaf will survive and even thrive under the poorest of conditions, it will not hurt to give it some extra attention while it becomes established. Cover root area with plenty of organic mulch and water deeply once or twice per week. Once established, the oakleaf can survive on far less attention, much of the time, drawing from what nature provides, alone.

New Bloom of a Young Oakleaf Hydrangea
New Bloom of a Young Oakleaf Hydrangea | Source

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)