Hydrangeas are rich in symbolism and are some of the most beloved flowers in the world, with good reason. Many hydrangeas have beautiful large flower heads in colors like white, pink, purple, green, red, and even blue. Hydrangeas are hardy deciduous perennial shrubs with several different varieties – so there’s a perfect hydrangea for any garden. When adding any plant to your garden, it’s a good idea to know how big it will eventually get though. That’s why this article will run through everything you need to know about how tall and wide hydrangeas grow.
How Tall and Wide Do Hydrangeas Grow – The Essentials
Hydrangeas range from relatively small shrubs to prolific climbers. Most hydrangea varieties grow somewhere between 3 to 8 ft tall and 4 to 6 ft wide. Climbing hydrangeas are the largest – reaching 30 to 50 ft feet tall. Mountain hydrangeas are the smallest – growing between 2 and 4 ft tall and wide.
|Growing Zones:||Hardy perennials in Zones 3 to 9 (depending on variety)|
|Exposure:||Full sun to partial shade|
|Flowering Season:||Early spring to late fall (depending on variety)|
|Soil:||Prefer rich, well-draining soils. Acidic or alkaline soils can influence flower color|
|Watering:||Deep watering at least once a week|
|Fertilizing:||Fertilize hydrangeas once in spring and once in early fall|
|Diseases and Pests:||Blight, leaf spot, powdery mildew, aphids, spider mites|
|Transplanting:||If needed, transplant or move your hydrangeas in Autumn.|
How Tall and Wide Do Hydrangeas Grow?
Different types of hydrangeas reach different sizes depending on how they grow. Most hydrangea varieties are deciduous shrubs that typically grow between 3 to 8 ft tall and 4 to 6 ft wide. The majority of hydrangeas grow as tall as they do wide, especially lacecap hydrangeas and smooth hydrangeas.
Mountain hydrangeas are the smallest variety, growing somewhere between 2 to 4 ft tall and wide. These small shrubs are ideal ornamental hydrangeas for smaller gardens. Mountain hydrangeas may also work well in containers.
Climbing hydrangeas are the largest variety, capable of growing between 30 and 50 ft tall. These hydrangeas use their aerial roots to gradually climb the trunks of tall trees. However, it’s unlikely that climbing hydrangeas will reach these heights in your garden.
Growth Expectations for Different Types of Hydrangeas
The Hydrangea genus contains over 75 different species that usually come from America or Asia. As such, growth expectations can vary depending on the various types of hydrangeas. Let’s take a look at the growth expectations for the most popular varieties of hydrangeas.
Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are an extremely popular variety also known as French or mophead hydrangeas. This variety is indigenous to Eastern Asia. Bigleaf hydrangeas typically grow between 3 to 8 ft in height and approximately 4 ft wide.
Bigleaf hydrangeas are an excellent variety to grow if you want cut hydrangea flowers, thanks to their large pink, purple, or blue flower heads. Bigleaf hydrangeas can be identified by their large elliptical leaves with serrated edges. The leaves can grow up to 6 inches long.
Climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea petiolaris or Hydrangea anomala) are the largest variety of hydrangea. These perennials are native to forested areas of Japan and Korea. Using aerial roots to vertically climb up tree trunks, climbing hydrangeas can reach between 30 and 50 ft in height. They can also sprawl up to 5 or 6 ft across.
Although climbing hydrangeas can reach these dizzying heights, they’re unlikely to do so when cultivated in gardens. Climbing hydrangeas can thrive in full shade, making them ideal for growing up walls, fences, or trellises. Although they don’t technically need pruning, you can cut these hydrangeas back to control how high they grow.
Climbing hydrangeas produce fragrant white flowers and have oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Climbing hydrangea blooms also make excellent cut flowers.
Lacecap hydrangeas are a cultivar of bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). They can grow to a similar height – reaching approximately 6 ft tall and wide when mature. The main difference between lacecap hydrangeas and bigleaf hydrangeas relates to their flower heads. Lacecap hydrangea flower heads have an inner ring of smaller flowers surrounded by an outer ring of larger blooms.
Mountain hydrangeas (Hydrangea serrata) are the smallest variety of hydrangea. These hydrangeas grow in the mountains of Japan and Korea. Mountain hydrangeas are very cold-hardy and can grow in USDA Zone 6 without protection.
Mountain hydrangeas grow from 2 ft up to a maximum height of 4 ft and reach a similar width. These hydrangeas do best in partial shade with some morning sun and moist, well-draining soil. Due to their smaller size, mountain hydrangeas are a good choice if space is limited.
Mountain hydrangeas have blue or pink flowers and serrated oval-shaped dark green foliage.
Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) grow into fairly tall deciduous perennial shrubs. Their lobed yellow to dark green foliage resembles the leaves of oak trees. Oakleaf hydrangea shrubs can grow between 3 to 12 feet tall. These hydrangeas are native to southeastern parts of the United States.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are one of the only varieties of hydrangeas with flower cones rather than large balls of flowers. The colors of oakleaf hydrangea blooms change as the flowers age. New flowers are white but fade into pink during the season, eventually turning brown as winter approaches.
Panicled hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are one of the largest hydrangea varieties. Panicled hydrangeas grow as shrubs or small trees and are native to parts of China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. They can grow between 3 and 20 ft tall and around 6 to 8 ft wide.
Panicled hydrangeas are another variety that produces cone-shaped flower spikes rather than rounded flower heads. The flowers are usually white and pink although some varieties have pale green flowers that fade to white as they age.
Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) are native to the eastern regions of the United States. These deciduous shrubs can grow from 3 to 10 ft tall and up to about 6 ft wide. Smooth hydrangeas prefer partial shade as they naturally grow in forests but can handle full sun.
Smooth hydrangeas have a long blooming season from early summer into fall, with gorgeous white flowers on ball-like flower heads. The heart-shaped leaves are dark green with serrated edged. Smooth hydrangeas are great for pollinators and are a good variety to use as a hedge.
Factors Contributing to the Size of Hydrangeas
The ultimate size of hydrangeas can depend on a variety of factors. These mainly relate to the growing conditions around the plant. Most hydrangeas will only reach their full height in optimal conditions.
Because many types of hydrangeas can grow from 3 to 8 ft tall and 4 to 6 ft wide, they need plenty of space. Most hydrangeas also need fertile but well-draining soils to provide them with the right amount of nutrients. If hydrangeas don’t get enough nutrients, growth will be weak and stunted with smaller leaves and flowers.
Fertilizing your hydrangeas can help boost their size. Hydrangeas only need two doses of fertilizer each year. Fertilize hydrangeas once in the spring to fuel new growth and once in the fall to sustain the plant over winter.
It’s worth noting that hydrangeas are considered toxic, so it’s prudent to wear a pair of gardening gloves throughout the process.
Hydrangeas are also easy to divide and propagate if you’re interested in expanding your collection.
How Big Hydrangeas Grow – The Final Word
Hydrangeas are spectacularly showy deciduous perennials that come in all shapes and sizes. Most hydrangea varieties in a garden can reach between 3 and 8 ft tall and 4 to 6 ft wide. Mountain hydrangeas are the smallest at 2 to 4 ft high, while climbing hydrangeas can reach heights of 30 to 50 ft in the wild. For more, see our essential guide to growing hydrangeas for beginners.
To enjoy the fruits of your labor for longer, see our essential guide to drying and preserving hydrangea flowers at home.