How to Plant, Grow and Care for Bigleaf Hydrangea?

Step into the world of Bigleaf Hydrangea. Our comprehensive guide delves deep into cultivating this beautiful plant. Begin your emotional garden journey today!

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Bigleaf Hydrangea?


About Bigleaf Hydrangea

Bearing the scientific name Hydrangea macrophylla, the Bigleaf Hydrangea is a lush and expansive shrub boasting vibrant, oversized leaves and awesome blossoms that vary in color from pink to blue. Known for their resilience and long-lasting beauty, these perennial plants are popular among horticulturists and garden enthusiasts.

Close-up image of a blooming Bigleaf Hydrangea
Vibrant and colorful, Bigleaf Hydrangeas bring life to any garden.

Benefits of Growing Bigleaf Hydrangea

Cultivating Bigleaf Hydrangea presents numerous benefits. They attract beneficial insects, promoting biodiversity, and we can use their hearty blooms in cut flower arrangements. Not only do they add a burst of color to your garden, but they're also relatively easy to care for, thriving in various climates.

Bigleaf Hydrangea’s Importance in Horticulture

In horticulture, the Bigleaf Hydrangea is prominent due to its vibrant, large blooms and resilient nature. Its versatility in landscape design, from a spectacular standalone shrub to a foundational hedge plant, makes it a favorite among landscape designers.

Landscaped garden featuring Bigleaf Hydrangea
The versatile Bigleaf Hydrangea enhances garden designs as both a hedge and a standalone shrub.

Common Misconceptions About Bigleaf Hydrangea

Blue and pink Bigleaf Hydrangea blooms influenced by soil pH
Soil pH can impact the color of Bigleaf Hydrangea blooms, turning them blue or pink.

Bigleaf Hydrangea is a popular plant, but it takes more work. However, with proper care, these plants can grow well. Also, the flower color can change based on the soil's pH level.

Overview of this Bigleaf Hydrangea Guide

This guide highlights the essentials of growing and caring for Bigleaf Hydrangea. We'll explore the plant's background, planting, and propagation strategies, growth and maintenance tips, and address common problems. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge you need to successfully cultivate and enjoy the vibrant beauty of Bigleaf Hydrangea in your garden.

Bigleaf Hydrangea: Background Information

Scientific Classification and Name of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Botanical illustration of Hydrangea macrophylla with scientific classification
Bigleaf Hydrangea, or Hydrangea macrophylla, belongs to the Hydrangeaceae family.

Botanists classify the Bigleaf Hydrangea as a member of the Hydrangea genus in the Hydrangeaceae family. The scientific name, Hydrangea macrophylla, speaks to its distinctive characteristics, with 'macrophylla' translating to 'large-leaved' in Latin, a fitting moniker for this plant.

Origin and Distribution of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Gardens across America and Europe highly value the Bigleaf Hydrangea, which originated in Japan and can now be found worldwide. Its ability to flourish in various climates contributes to its widespread popularity.

Characteristics of Bigleaf Hydrangea


Bigleaf Hydrangeas are medium to large shrubs, typically reaching a height and spread of 3-6 feet, depending on the variety and growing conditions.


One of its distinctive features, the leaves of the Bigleaf Hydrangea, are large and dark green with an oval shape and serrated edges.

Close-up of Bigleaf Hydrangea foliage
Dark green and oval-shaped Bigleaf Hydrangea leaves to add to its charm.


People highly esteem the Bigleaf Hydrangea for its extensive and round clusters of flowers, known as corymbs. The flowers can range from deep blue to vibrant pink, depending on the soil pH.

Growth Habits

Bigleaf Hydrangeas are deciduous plants, losing their leaves in the fall and returning to life in the spring. They are known for their rapid growth and ability to fill a garden space quickly.

Quick Facts About Bigleaf Hydrangea Characteristics

Common namesBigleaf Hydrangea, Hortensia, Mophead Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, French Hydrangea
Botanical nameHydrangea macrophylla
TypeDeciduous shrub
Native areaAsia, North America, South America
Hardiness zone6 - 9 (-23°C to -1°C / -10°F to 30°F)
Height185 cm - 3 m (6 ft - 10 ft)
Spread185 cm - 3 m (6 ft - 10 ft)
Spacing185 cm - 2.5 m (6 ft - 8 ft)
Light preferencePartial shade to full shade
Water preferenceMedium
MaintenanceLow to medium
Soil typeClay, loam, sand
Soil pHAcidic, alkaline, neutral (pH 4.5 - 7.5)
Soil drainageMoist but well-drained, well-drained
Garden usesBorders, hedges, foundation plantings, specimen plant, woodland gardens, containers
Garden stylesTraditional, Cottage, Woodland, Formal
Companion plantsAzaleas (Rhododendron), Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), Camellias (Camellia)

Some of the most popular varieties of Bigleaf Hydrangea include 'Nikko Blue,' renowned for its vibrant blue blossoms, 'Endless Summer,' notable for its extended blooming period, and 'Pia,' a compact dwarf variety suitable for smaller gardens.

History and Cultural Significance of Bigleaf Hydrangea

People in Japan have been growing the Bigleaf Hydrangea for centuries. In Japan, it's known as Ajisai and has been a subject in art, particularly ukiyo-e woodblock prints. In the West, it became popular in the 19th century, adorning Victorian gardens and inspiring various art movements.

Planting and Propagation of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Sourcing and Selecting Healthy Bigleaf Hydrangea Plants

Choose Bigleaf Hydrangea plants with dark green, firm leaves, and avoid those with wilted or discolored foliage. Check for a well-developed root system; the roots should be white or light brown.

Choosing the Right Location for Bigleaf Hydrangea: Factors to Consider

Sunlight Requirements

Bigleaf Hydrangea needs morning sun and afternoon shade to prevent scorching.

Soil Preferences

The plant thrives in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It also prefers slightly acidic soil conditions.

Drainage and Water Requirements

Ensure the selected site has good drainage to avoid waterlogging. Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods.

Space Requirements and Layout

As a fast-growing shrub, Bigleaf Hydrangea requires plenty of space. Allow at least 3-5 feet between plants for optimal growth.

Planting Season and Timing for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Plant Bigleaf Hydrangea in early spring or late fall when the plant is dormant.

Propagation Methods for Bigleaf Hydrangea


Taking stem cuttings in summer is the most common method to propagate Bigleaf Hydrangea. Choose a stem without flower buds, as it's more likely to root.


You can propagate Bigleaf Hydrangeas by dividing them, but this method is not widely used. Carry out this task during late winter or early spring for best results.

Preparing the Planting Site for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Soil Preparation

Mixing in compost or a slow-release granular fertilizer prepares the soil to provide the necessary nutrients. Ensure the soil is well-aerated and has a slightly acidic pH.

Spacing and Planting Depth

Dig a hole twice as wide and at the same depth as the root ball. Maintain a 3-5 feet spacing between plants to allow for growth.

Watering and Initial Care

After planting, water the plant thoroughly and continue to provide regular water, especially during dry periods. Monitor the plant's health and growth to ensure it's adapting well to its new location.

Growth and Maintenance of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Watering and Irrigation for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Bigleaf Hydrangeas thrive when the soil is consistently moist but not soggy. During dry spells, water deeply once a week to encourage strong root growth.

Fertilization and Soil Amendments for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Feed your Bigleaf Hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and late summer. The soil pH can affect the flower color, with acidic soil leading to blue flowers and alkaline soil to pink.

Pruning and Shaping Bigleaf Hydrangea

Prune your Bigleaf Hydrangeas immediately after flowering, as they bloom on old wood. Remove dead wood and spent flowers to encourage new growth and blooms.

Mulching and Weed Control for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Mulching helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weeds. An organic mulch like compost or bark chips will also enrich the soil as it decomposes.

Companion Planting and Intercropping with Bigleaf Hydrangea

Consider companion planting with plants that enjoy similar conditions to Bigleaf Hydrangeas, like Hostas or Ferns. These plants can also provide additional interest and contrast in your garden.

Pest and Disease Control for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Common Pests

Bigleaf Hydrangeas can be susceptible to pests like aphids and spider mites. Monitor your plants closely and treat them with an appropriate insecticide or horticultural oil if necessary.

Common Diseases

Common diseases include powdery mildew and leaf spot. Ensure proper airflow around your plants, and consider a fungicide treatment if necessary.

Integrated Pest Management Strategies

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involves a combination of practices, including proper plant care, biological controls, and judicious use of pesticides to manage and prevent pests and diseases.

Seasonal Care and Considerations for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Winter Protection

In colder climates, protect your Bigleaf Hydrangeas in winter by mulching the root zone and wrapping the plant in burlap if needed.

Handling Heat and Drought Stress

Bigleaf Hydrangeas can be sensitive to heat and drought. Ensure consistent watering during dry spells, and consider providing shade during the hottest part of the day.

Preparing for Blooming Season

Anticipate the blooming season by maintaining proper care practices, including watering, feeding, and pruning. A healthy plant is a prolific bloomer!

Monitoring Bigleaf Hydrangea’s Health and Growth

Regularly observe your Bigleaf Hydrangeas for signs of stress, pests, or diseases. Healthy plants should have strong, sturdy stems, vibrant leaves, and abundant, colorful blooms during the flowering season.

Remember, your Bigleaf Hydrangea is a living organism communicating its needs through subtle signs. Yellowing leaves could indicate overwatering, while wilting may mean the plant needs more water. Pests often leave visible signs such as chewed leaves or a sticky residue known as honeydew.

Monitor your plants throughout the year, adjusting your care practices to ensure they remain healthy and vibrant. Remember, a well-cared-for Bigleaf Hydrangea is a sight to behold, offering stunning blooms that will envy your neighborhood!

Growing and caring for Bigleaf Hydrangeas is a rewarding experience, offering a chance to connect with nature and add beauty to your environment. Understanding their needs and providing the right conditions ensures these stunning plants thrive in your garden.

Uses and Applications of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Ornamental and Landscaping Purposes of Bigleaf Hydrangea

Bigleaf Hydrangea is an ornamental star in the gardening world, lending grace and grandeur to any landscape with its lush foliage and stunning blooms. Its eye-catching flower clusters in a spectrum of blues, pinks, and whites are a sight to behold, attracting attention and admiration from passersby.

Conservation and Sustainability Considerations for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Besides their aesthetic value, Bigleaf Hydrangeas play a significant role in conservation and sustainability. These plants are excellent at preventing soil erosion thanks to their extensive root systems, making them an ideal choice for sloping landscapes.

Troubleshooting and Common Problems with Bigleaf Hydrangea

Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies in Bigleaf Hydrangea

Nutrient deficiencies can cause various issues in Bigleaf Hydrangea, from chlorotic leaves to reduced blooming. Understanding and addressing these deficiencies early is critical to maintaining the health and vibrancy of your plants.

Managing Environmental Stressors for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Environmental stressors such as temperature extremes, waterlogged soil, and overexposure to the sun can impact your Bigleaf Hydrangea. Providing adequate water, shelter, and the right growing conditions can help mitigate these stressors.

Diagnosing and Treating Common Physiological Disorders

Physiological disorders in Bigleaf Hydrangea can stem from various causes, including improper watering, poor soil conditions, or disease. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help keep your hydrangeas healthy and vibrant.

Solutions to Common Issues with Bigleaf Hydrangea

Gardeners may encounter several common issues when caring for Bigleaf Hydrangea, including pest infestations, fungal diseases, and poor blooming. Each case has a unique solution, from integrated pest management techniques to applying specific fertilizers.

Summary: Bigleaf Hydrangea Key Takeaways

Key points for Successfully Planting, Growing, and Caring for Bigleaf Hydrangea

Growing Bigleaf Hydrangea successfully means understanding the plant's needs and providing the right conditions. From selecting the perfect planting location to maintaining the proper watering and fertilizing schedule, careful attention to detail can lead to flourishing plants with spectacular blooms.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Growing Bigleaf Hydrangea

Common mistakes when growing Bigleaf Hydrangea includes:

  • Overwatering.
  • Planting in too much direct sunlight.
  • Refrain from pruning at the right time.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can increase your chances of growing a healthy, vibrant Bigleaf Hydrangea.

Encouragement for Cultivation Bigleaf Hydrangea

Cultivating Bigleaf Hydrangea in your garden can be a rewarding experience. These plants provide stunning visual appeal and can significantly enhance the aesthetic value of your landscape. They also offer the opportunity to learn more about plant growth and care. Don't let potential challenges deter you – the beauty of a blooming Bigleaf Hydrangea is well worth the effort.

Growing Bigleaf Hydrangea requires patience, dedication, and a little knowledge. By understanding the plant's requirements and needs, one can successfully cultivate these stunning blooms and enjoy their beauty season after season. Remember, the key to successful gardening lies in observation, understanding, and adaptability.