FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $119
FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $119

Hydrangeas | Growing In Sun or Shade


Most of us think of hydrangeas as shade loving plants. Many hydrangea bushes do prefer some shade, especially in warmer climates, but there are cultivars that can not only tolerate sun they thrive in it. There are also versatile hydrangeas that can grow in full shade or full sun. However, a majority of hydrangeas need some filtered light or a couple hours of full sun to bloom at their best. Browse our hydrangea collection online

Hydrangeas for Full Sun: We Like It Sunny

While most traditional hydrangea plants need some shade especially in warmer growing zones, panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) like Fire Light®, Limelight, Pinky Winky®, Strawberry Sundae® and Vanilla Strawberry® can thrive in full sun. The new reblooming dwarf series, Let's Dance®, and dwarf big leaf series, Cityline®, actually grow best in full or part sun. These hydrangeas include Let's Dance® Big Easy®, Let's Dance® Rave®, Let's Dance® Rhythmic Blue®, Cityline® Berlin Bigleaf, Cityline® Mars, Cityline® Paris Bigleaf, Cityline® Rio, and Cityline® Venice. Newer smooth hydrangea varieties, Incrediball®, and Invincibelle® Ruby, are recommended for full or part sun.

Hydrangeas for Part Shade: Give Us Some Sunblock Please

The reblooming Endless Summer® Hydrangea series prefers part shade. These include BloomStruck®, Endless Summer®, Blushing Bride®, and Twist-n-Shout®. Smooth Hydrangeas like the Annabelle Hydrangea prefer at least some shade from the afternoon sun to be really happy. Big leaf hydrangeas, also known as hydrangea macrophylla, vary especially with some of the newer cultivars being bred to better tolerate heat and sun, but most of these including the mopheads and lacecaps prefer some shade, especially during the afternoon. Make sure your big leaf hydrangeas like Nikko Blue and Glowing Embers get some sun (either a couple hours of full or several hours of filtered sun) for best flowering.

Hydrangeas for Sun or Shade: We Go With the Flow

Oakleaf hydrangeas like Oakleaf Alice and Ruby Slippers Oakleaf can tolerate full sun in the northern US, but prefer at least some afternoon shade in warm and southern climates. Oakleaf Hydrangeas can tolerate full shade. Oakleaf Hydrangeas are the most adaptable to different sun and shade conditions.

Hydrangeas for Sun or Shade: We Go With the Flow

Oakleaf hydrangeas like Oakleaf Alice and Ruby Slippers Oakleaf can tolerate full sun in the northern US, but prefer at least some afternoon shade in warm and southern climates. Oakleaf Hydrangeas can tolerate full shade. Oakleaf Hydrangeas are the most adaptable to different sun and shade conditions.

Growing Hydrangeas in the South

Even if the hydrangea care recommendation for your particular plant is full sun you’ll want to offer plenty of water, especially in summer. A deep watering with a hose at the base of your plant is ideal. Do this anytime your soil begins to dry or you notice your plant beginning to wilt. *Wilted leaves on a hydrangea in summer, especially in the southern United States in the late afternoon is not an uncommon site. Your hydrangea isn’t dying, it’s just thirsty!

If you have questions about pruning hydrangeas read more. Be sure to also check out our articles on Hydrangea Care and Hydrangea Choices.

Previous article Growing Roses in Pots