The Best White Hydrangea Varieties for Your Garden

Mother’s Day is coming and what mother doesn’t love Hydrangea, especially if it will grow year after year! I love getting potted Hydrangea instead of cut bunches. You can find everywhere Homedepot, Lowe, super markets or nurseries. Here are a few different white hydrangeas to check out thanks to bhg.com:

White Hydrangeas in the Garden

White Hydrangeas in the Garden
CREDIT: MARTY BALDWIN

White is an important color in the garden. It can be used to light up a shady area, give the space a sense of calm, act as a neutral foil against other colors, and serve as an exclamation or focal point. Thanks to their massive blooms, white hydrangea flowers fill this need perfectly.

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Choosing the Best White Hydrangea

snowball hydrangea
CREDIT: MATTHEW BENSON

There are many types of white hydrangeas, each needing specific locations and care to perform best. These are the four most common types:

Smooth (H. arborescens): ‘Annabelle’ is the most popular variety. Smooth hydrangeas flower best in full sun, but southern gardeners should site the plants in part shade.

Bigleaf (H. macrophylla): Bigleaf hydrangeas are the classic florist types of hydrangea that everyone loves, but not everyone can grow. Bigleafs grow best with partial shade in moist, well-drained soils. Most are hardy to Zone 5 or to Zone 4 with winter protection.

Panicle (H. paniculata): Tough and easy to grow, panicle hydrangeas produce cone-shape flowers. They prefer full sun and survive in all but the coldest climates (Zone 3). Panicles bloom later than other varieties, usually midsummer. Heights can range from three to 10 feet, depending on variety.

Oakleaf (H. quercifolia): These plants have oak-shape leaves, which turn eye-catching shades of burgundy, rust, or orange in the fall. The white flower heads usually transform to pink or tan as weather cools. Cultivars of this native species, usually hardy to Zone 5, do well in dry soils and in sun to partial shade.

Annabelle’ Smooth Hydrangea

'Annabelle' Smooth Hydrangea
CREDIT: MARTY BALDWIN

‘Annabelle’ is a bit like Garrison Keillor’s famous Lake Woebegone, the little town that time forgot that the decades cannot improve. Smooth hydrangeas are native in much of the eastern United States, so changes were bound to occur. In the 1960s, a horticulture professor discovered that a smooth hydrangea growing in Anna, Illinois, grew bigger white flowers than the traditional species. Since then, the decades cannot improve this stalwart performer.

Name: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Hydrangea Type: Smooth

Growing Conditions: Sun to part sun. Provide extra water in extreme heat. Prune in late winter to early spring to encourage new growth and blooms. Flower heads may flatten with heavy rain and stalks may splay if the flower heads grow very large. Support blooms and stems with fencing or plant several shrubs close together, spacing about three feet apart, so they hold each other up.

Size: 5 feet tall and wide

Zones: 3 to 9

Buy It: Annabelle Hydrangea ($12, Etsy)

Incrediball Smooth Hydrangea

Incrediball Smooth Hydrangea
CREDIT: BOB STEFKO

‘Incrediball’ white is ‘Annabelle’ with even bigger flower heads, as large as 12 inches wide, held on sturdy stems. This shrub is tall and wide, making it perfect as a screen or focal point in the landscape. Like ‘Annabelle’, it’s cold-hardy, so a tough winter won’t affect its summer blooming performance, and it might even perform a little better in northern climates than in the south.

Name: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’

Hydrangea Type: Smooth

Growing Conditions: Sun to part sun. Provide extra water in extreme heat. Prune in late winter to early spring to encourage new growth and blooms.

Size: 4 to 5 feet tall, four to five feet wide

Zones: 3 to 9

Buy It: Incrediball Smooth Hydrangea ($60, Etsy)

‘Haas’ Halo’ Smooth Hydrangea

'Haas' Halo' Smooth Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PLANTS NOUVEAU

Imagine ‘Annabelle’ if you took the bloom and stretched it so it was about 14 inches wide and an inch or two deep. That would describe ‘Haas’ Halo’ with “some of the loveliest dried flowers I’ve seen in a long time,” according to Angela Treadwell-Palmer, founder of Plants Nouveau, which helps breeders introduce new plants to the market. ‘Haas’ Halo’ was selected by Frederick Ray, a former horticulture professor at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania, from a batch of seedlings he got from Philadelphia-area plant lover Joan Haas. This white lacecap smooth hydrangea is touted as drought-, humidity- and heat-tolerant.

Name: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Haas’ Halo’

Hydrangea Type: Smooth

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade; prefers morning sun, afternoon shade.

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall and wide

Zones: 3 to 9

Buy It: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Haas’ Halo’ ($39, White Flower Farm)

Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangea

Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangea
CREDIT: DOREEN WYNJA/MONROVIA

Oakleaf hydrangeas are native to the southeastern United States, so they tolerate hot, humid weather and aren’t quite as cold hardy as other types of hydrangeas. ‘Snow Queen’ has 4- to 12-inch-long white panicles that change to a rosy shade by fall, when they coordinate with the red-burgundy-purple color change of the leaves. Attractive peeling cinnamon-color bark adds interest in the winter after the leaves have dropped.

Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Growing Conditions: Part shade to sun (tolerates more sun the farther north it grows). Prune to 1 to 2 feet tall in late winter to promote new growth and blooms. Prefers well-draining soil with average moisture.

Size: 7 to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5 to 9; may need winter protection in northern gardens

Buy It: Snow Queen Hydrangea ($55, Etsy)ADVERTISEMENT

Gatsby Gal Oakleaf Hydrangea

white hydrangea flowers
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

If you like ‘Snow Queen’ oakleaf hydrangea but don’t have quite enough room, take a gander at ‘Gatsby Gal’. The white flower cones are oversized for the shrub’s dimensions and held upright on strong stems, making what Tim Wood, product development manager at Spring Meadow Nursery, calls “a showy flower display.”

Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Gatsby Gal’

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Growing Conditions: Plant in moist, well-drained soil in sun to part sun. Avoid pruning; blooms form on last year’s growth.

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5 to 9; may need winter protection in northern gardens

Buy It: Gatsby Gal Oakleaf Hydrangea ($14, Etsy)

Gatsby Moon Oakleaf Hydrangea

Gatsby Moon Oakleaf Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

The individual flowers on the upright cones of ‘Gatsby Moon’ are packed so tightly together they present an attractive quilted look that makes you want to run your fingers across them. The white panicles age to green as time goes on, and the foliage turns a shiny burgundy in the fall. This white hydrangea almost seems to glow in the evening.

Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Gatsby Moon’

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Growing Conditions: Plant in moist, well-drained soil in sun to part sun. Avoid pruning; blooms form on last year’s growth.

Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5 to 9; may need winter protection in northern gardens

Buy It: Gatsby Moon Oakleaf Hydrangea ($14, Etsy)

Gatsby Star Oakleaf Hydrangea

Close up of white hydrangeas
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

When it comes to double-flowered oakleaf hydrangeas, the beautiful ‘Snowflake’ has been a great choice since it went on the market in the 1970s. Now, ‘Gatsby Star’ is ascending, sporting gorgeous white double petals that are pointed instead of rounded. In the fall, the flower color turns pink and the leaves transform to burgundy. This is a white hydrangea you’ll want to see up close.

Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Gatsby Star’

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Growing Conditions: Plant in moist, well-drained soil in sun to part sun. Avoid pruning; blooms form on last year’s growth.

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5 to 9; may need winter protection in northern gardens

Buy It: Gatsby Star Oakleaf Hydrangea ($14, Etsy)ADVERTISEMENT

‘Little Lamb’ Panicle Hydrangea

'Little Lamb' Panicle Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

‘Little Lamb’ is as cute as its namesake. White panicles with tiny, densely clustered blooms begin blooming in midsummer. It’s small enough to plant in a large container. It may take a year or two to look its best, but the wait will be worth it because this dwarf hydrangea has delicate, petite blooms that turn a rich pink in the fall.

Name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lamb’

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Growing Conditions: Plant in full sun to part shade. May not need pruning but if needed, cut in late winter or early spring before growth begins. Average water requirements. Tolerates drought. Fertilize in early spring with a time-release fertilizer for trees and shrubs.

Size: 4 to 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 3 to 8

Buy It: Little Lamb Hydrangea ($30, Plant Addicts)

Polar Ball Panicle Hydrangea

Polar Ball Panicle Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

You want it supersize? Look for ‘Polar Ball’, standing 6 to 8 feet tall with “outrageously oversize” white flowers. “I’d say the sepals—the large decorative petals—are about four times as large and the flower head is 50 percent larger [than an average white hydrangea],” Wood says. It’s a panicle that’s likely bigger than your head!

Name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Polar Ball’

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Growing Conditions: Plant in full sun to part shade. May not need pruning but if needed, cut in late winter or early spring before growth begins. Average water requirements. Tolerates drought. Fertilize in early spring with a time-release fertilizer for trees and shrubs.

Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 3 to 8

Buy It: Polar Ball Hydrangea ($22, Etsy)

White Diamonds Panicle Hydrangea

White Diamonds Panicle Hydrangea
CREDIT: JANE MILLIMAN

Diamonds are among the toughest substances on the planet. While this white hydrangea can’t be used to drill holes, it stands up to heat and drought better than some others. Upright, sturdy stems hold white panicles that transition by fall to a pale tan.

Name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘First Editions White Diamonds’

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Growing Conditions: Plant in full sun to part shade. May not need pruning but if needed, cut in late winter or early spring before growth begins. Average water requirements. Tolerates drought. Fertilize in early spring with a time-release fertilizer for trees and shrubs. Prune or deadhead after final frost or in early spring to encourage strong stem growth and encourage bloom development.

Size: 4 to 5 feet tall, 5 to 6 feet wide

Zones: 4 to 8

Buy It: White Diamonds Hydrangea (from $39, Sooner Plant Farm)https://86803e0c83278d7e824c1691a8ef0115.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlADVERTISEMENT

Bobo Panicle Hydrangea

Bobo Panicle Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

If you have room for a large container, you have enough space to grow ‘Bobo’, a dwarf white hydrangea that reaches 3 feet if it’s feeling tall. But don’t let its small size turn you away. ‘Bobo’ is a show stopper with flowers that almost appears to glow in the garden. “This dwarf hydrangea has so many flowers it looks like a little puff ball of blooms; you can hardly see the leaves,” Wood says.

Name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Growing Conditions: Grow in part sun and afternoon shade. Prune in spring before growth begins. Deadheading flowers encourages more blooms but don’t prune the shrub unless necessary. If you do prune, clip in late summer just after they are done flowering. Grows best in evenly moist, well-drained soil. Apply a controlled-release fertilizer in early spring. Apply mulch to conserve moisture.

Size: 3 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet wide

Zones: 3 to 8

Buy It: Bobo Dwarf Hydrangea ($21, Etsy)

Wedding Gown Bigleaf Hydrangea

Wedding Gown Bigleaf Hydrangea
CREDIT: COURTESY OF BALL ORNAMENTALS

Say “I do!” to ‘Wedding Gown’, a bigleaf white hydrangea that starts out as a lacecap but fills in to become a mophead. Each of the small blossoms that forms the flower head features double petals, like a wedding bouquet on a stem. This smaller garden variety also works well in containers.

Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wedding Gown’

Hydrangea Type: Bigleaf

Growing Conditions: Grow in part sun and afternoon shade. Prune in spring before growth begins. Deadheading flowers encourages more blooms but don’t prune the shrub unless necessary. If you do prune, clip in late summer just after they are done flowering. Grows best in evenly moist, well-drained soil. Apply a controlled-release fertilizer in early spring. Apply mulch to conserve moisture.

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall, 3 to 5 feet wide

Zones: 5 to 8

Buy It: Wedding Gown Hydrangea ($55, Etsy)

Blushing Bride Bigleaf Hydrangea

Blushing Bride Bigleaf Hydrangea
CREDIT: DEAN SCHOEPPNER

This daughter of ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea blooms on both new and old wood. Round white blooms about 6 inches wide age to a pretty pale pink or Carolina blue, depending on the soil pH. Very strong stems keep the large white mopheads upright. Pruning can be done in fall or dried blooms can be left on the stems for winter interest until spring.

Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’

Hydrangea Type: Bigleaf

Growing Conditions: Grow in part sun and afternoon shade. Prune in spring before growth begins. Deadheading flowers encourages more blooms but don’t prune the shrub unless necessary. If you do prune, clip in late summer just after they are done flowering. Grows best in evenly moist, well-drained soil. Apply a controlled-release fertilizer in early spring. Apply mulch to conserve moisture.

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 4 to 9

Buy It: Blushing Bride Hydrangea Shrubs ($27 Woodies Garden Goods)

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