Many shrub varieties provide privacy when planted side-by-side. A hydrangea shrub, though, offers more than privacy. Hydrangea produces stunning large blooms suitable for floral arrangements or visual beauty from the comfort of your patio. Dried hydrangea blooms provide lasting bouquets and can be used in crafts such as a dried floral wreath—yet more reasons to create a hydrangea hedge.
Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub (loses leaves in winter). All varieties of hydrangea are fast growing and can be planted in partial shade to full sun. If grown in full sun, plant in an area with afternoon shade to prevent wilting. Following are three hydrangea varieties suitable to create a hedge in your landscape design.
- Hydrangea macrophylla is also called mophead for its large blooms or bigleaf for its leave that can reach up to 8 long. The shrub reaches about 5 feet tall and wide and is cold hardy in USDA planting zone 6 through 9.
- Hydrangea paniculata, also known as Pee Gee hydrangea, produces large white blooms in the summer that turn to pink. The shrub can reach 10 to 20 feet tall and wide, and is cold hardy to USDA planting zone 3.
- Hydrangea quercifolia in known as oakleaf hydrangea because of the shape of the leaves. The shrub can reach a height and width greater than 9 feet and is cold hardy as far north as USDA planting zone 5.
How to create a hydrangea hedge
To determine how many shrubs you need, measure the area where the hedge will be planted. At the plant nursery, locate the height and width information on the plant tag. Divide your landscape measurement by how many feet wide the shrub will grow; the result is how many shrubs you need. For instance, if the area you want to cover is 50 feet long and the shrub you want to plant grows up to 5 feet wide, then you need 10 shrubs (50 divided 5 equals 10). To create a compact hedge, drop about one-quarter of the expected width of the full-grown shrub.
Planting a hedge
Dig the hole for each shrub two to three times as wide as the shrub’s container and as deep as the container. Digging the hole wider will allow for easier root penetration. When placed in the hole, the soil at the top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding ground. Digging the hole the same depth as the root ball helps to keep the shrub from sinking below ground level.
Backfill the hole halfway around the root ball and then water to settle the soil. Finish backfilling the hole and water again. Apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch, like pine chips or leaf mold, to help retain moisture and block weed growth. Water every seven to 10 days, spring to fall, if there is no rainfall. The second year, water twice monthly. Hydrangea shrubs planted in full sun may need more frequent watering.