Give the gift of choice with an Amsterdam Garden Center gift card. Learn more

Your cart

Your cart is empty

Dynamic Hydrangea Duos

As you have heard me mention many times before, hydrangeas have supplanted rhododendrons as our most popular-selling shrub. Given the many species and abundance of new varieties, there is a lot of selection out there, which can make for some difficult choices. So, to herald the beginning of the hydrangea bloom season and to honour a personal request from one of our customers, I have decided to present ten pairings which may help you decide what belongs in your garden.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wee Bit Giddy’ Z5 & Gypsophila ‘Festival Star’ Z3

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Wee Bit Giddy' & Gypsophila 'Festival Star' Plant Pairing
This is a pairing of an incredibly compact (24” tall) mophead hydrangea that reblooms in fall and can bear either reddish-pink or purple flowers, depending on the soil pH. We have coupled this variety with an equally compact (12-18” tall) and floriferous Baby’s Breath called ‘Festival Star’, which produces pure white sprays all summer long that can be used as cut or dried flowers.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’ Z6 & Heucherella ‘Red Rover’ Z4

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey' & Heucherella 'Red Rover' Plant Pairing

Here’s a little something for those partially shaded gardens that starts with a low growing (3’ tall and wide) Oakleaf hydrangea, which gleams with bright chartreuse foliage and white cone-shaped panicles. It has been paired with the large-leaved ‘Red Rover’ Heucherella that features sharply contrasting coppery-red foliage, although this will eventually sync up with the burgundy fall colour of ‘Little Honey’.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Invincibelle Limetta’ Z3 & Buddleia ‘Miss Molly’ Z5

Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Limetta' & Buddleia 'Miss Molly' Plant Pairing

Here’s an improvement of the old-fashioned Smooth hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ with stronger stems, a more compact size (3-4’ tall and wide), as well as unique pale lime blooms that mature to a rich jade green. Its partner is the refined ‘Miss Molly’ butterfly bush from Proven Winners with showy reddish-purple blooms, a modest ultimate size (4-5’ tall), and a non-invasive habit. Both will tolerate full sun exposures.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hi Crystal’ Z6 & Leucanthemum ‘Freak!’ Z5

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Hi Crystal' & Leucanthemum 'Freak' Plant Pairing

This alba garden duo begins with the refined mophead hydrangea ‘Hi Crystal’ bearing pristine white blooms that are not affected by soil pH and reach a reasonable ultimate height of 4-5’ tall. We are using a foreground of fringed Shasta Daisies called ‘Freak’ that produce shaggy blossoms in late spring and reblooms in late summer, maturing at about 15-18” tall.

Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’ Z6 & Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ Z5

Hydrangea serrata 'Bluebird' & Hakonechloa 'All Gold' Plant Pairing

Another great combination for open shade that is anchored by the old standard Mountain hydrangea ‘Bluebird’ (5’ tall and wide), which casts its delicate lacecap blooms across its crown, even skirting the base. The eye-catching ‘All Gold’ Hakone grass is a perfect choice to meet it at ground level as the arching blades seem to glow in the dark, and they also shift to a burgundy red in autumn.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Torch’ Z3 & Escallonia ‘Pink Elle’ Z7

Hydrangea paniculata 'Torch' & Escallonia 'Pink Elle' Plant Pairing

Both these shrubs will tolerate a full sun exposure with the compact PG hydrangea ‘Torch’ (4-5’ tall) pushing white cone-shaped blooms in early summer that eventually fade to an attractive antique pink. The broadleaf evergreen Escallonia ‘Pink Elle’ bears large rich-pink blooms with starry florets and matures at about the same height as ‘Torch’, so you can use them side by side.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Rosso Glory Blue’ Z6 & Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ Z3

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Rosso Glory Blue' & Echinacea purpurea 'PowWow Wild Berry' Plant Pairing

The sharp contrast of the rich purplish-blue spheres of ‘Rosso Glory Blue’ (grows 3-4’ tall and wide) with the abundant jewel-toned rose-pink blooms of the compact (18-24” tall) ‘PowWow Wildberry’ is the real feature here. You will have to make sure that the ‘Rosso Glory Blue’ is planted in soil with an acidic pH to obtain this intense hue – thankfully the Echinacea is not as fussy about the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.

Hydrangea x ‘Let’s Dance Can Do’ Z4 & Lavandula pedunculata ‘Lavinnova Hot Pink’ Z7

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Let's Dance Can Do' & Lavendula pedunculata 'Lavinnova Hot Pink' Plant Pairing

This all-pink combination features the cold-hardy hybrid macrophylla x serrata ‘Let’s Dance Can Do’, which sports repeat lacecap blooms all summer long on a compact (3-4’ tall) shrub. It is paired with the absolutely spectacular French lavender ‘Lavinnova Hot Pink’, which as you can see here, really lives up to its name.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wee Bit Giddy’ Z5 & Nepeta ‘Purrsian Blue’ Z3

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Wee Bit Giddy' & Nepeta 'Purrsian Blue' Plant Pairing

This retake involving the compact ‘Wee Bit Giddy’ shows you that there are innumerable hydrangea-perennial combinations out there, with the only limitation being your imagination. This duo includes the low-growing Catmint ‘Purrsian Blue’ (grows 14-18” tall) that covers itself in true-blue flowers from early summer to fall.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Let’s Dance Big Band’ Z5 & Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions in Red’ Z4

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Let's Dance Big Band' & Astilbe 'Visions in Red' Plant Pairing

I think this reblooming Proven Winner hydrangea (30” tall) would look great with this Astilbe regardless of a pink or blue flower colour. ‘Visions in Red’ features intense reddish pink panicles from June to July, just in time to catch the early Hydrangea show.

July is a great time to go shopping for hydrangeas in bloom, so that you can pair them with perennials or shrubs and create your own dynamic duos right here at Amsterdam Garden Centre.

Previous post