Hydrangeas in zone 4: Which Variety to Grow in Zone 4

You might be looking to grow hydrangeas in your garden or home but find that it’s only hardy in USDA zones 5 and above. However, you want to persist and see if you could grow hydrangeas in zone 4.

Traditional hydrangeas are very weak against frost and winter. However, there are some cold hardy cultivars of hydrangea, particularly the smooth and panicle type you can try growing. Just follow the planting and care requirements for these species so you can bear witness to beautiful blooms that appear from summer through fall.

Will Hydrangea Grow in Zone 4?

hydrangeas in zone 4

Your best bet when planting hydrangeas in zone 4 is to choose the right type to start.

As much as you’d want to get the common or traditional hydrangeas you see in pictures and southern gardens, you should refrain from doing so. Thankfully, there are zone 4 hardy hydrangeas that are just as beautiful and showy.

Hydrangeas are flowering bushes that do not require full sun. In fact, the shaded plants can thrive as well as their sun-soaked counterparts as long as you plant them in the right soil medium and follow watering requirements.

Generally speaking, most zone 4 hydrangeas can live with morning sunlight and shaded afternoons. However, you’ll want to keep an eye on your plant’s soil moisture or else they will instantly show their displeasure.

Prepare the soil where you’ll plant your hydrangeas and make sure that it’s well-draining. Once it’s settled, add a generous layer of organic mulch around the base. Then water deeply regularly, and sit back and wait for the blooms to show up.

Hydrangeas are beginner-friendly plants as they’re tough and rarely bothered by pests or disease. They grow quickly on their own, and you won’t need to prune as much compared to other flowering bushes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that since it’s a prolific bloomer you’ll want to feed it organic fertilizer every now and then.

Which Hydrangeas are Cold Hardy?

hydrangeas in zone 4

Zone 4 growers will want to get two hydrangea types, particularly ‘hydrangea arborescens’ or smooth hydrangea, and ‘hydrangea paniculata’ or panicle hydrangea to grow in their regions.

Smooth Hydrangea

hydrangeas in zone 4

Smooth hydrangeas have similar clusters of blooms that form a dome, with sizes ranging from 6 to 12 inches between varieties. You can choose a variety of colors as well, from pink and white to lime, which changes as they mature. It’s worth noting that flower color does not depend on the plant’s pH level.

This hydrangea type has flexible and soft stems that regrow each year, with leaves that are softer and lighter. Pruning should be done regularly to promote new growth.

Some of the best smooth types are the following:

Invincibelle Spirit. The only pink flowering shrub in the smooth variety, with lovely blooms coming out during summertime. It’s medium sized and can grow up to 4 feet high and wide.

Incrediball. An upgrade to the ‘Annabelle’ species, Incrediball sports strong stems to keep the leaves and flowers in an upright position. The show-stopping flowers can reach a whopping 12 inches in diameter and turn from lime green to white and back again.

Panicle Hydrangea

Generally, Panicle hydrangeas have unusual, cone-shaped flowers with size and shape depending on the cultivar. Like the smooth type, its flower color will not depend on your soil’s pH level.

Panicle varieties sport tough and sturdy stems, which miraculously come back to life once the winter season has passed. Its leaves are darker and have a leathery texture. It doesn’t need to be hard-pruned unless it stops producing flowers.

Some of the best panicle types are the following:

Bombshell. Bombshell is aptly named as the foliage tends to disappear under a veritable shower of white blooms. The flowers slowly turn pink as they age and have a longer period than most. It’s small in size and only grows to a maximum of 3 feet.

Little Lime. This panicle type produces tight flower clusters that range from pink to white and lime. The dwarf variety tops out at 3 feet but it’s very vigorous when it comes to flowering.

Fire Light. Fire Light is a unique panicle hydrangea, with flower cones that start white then turn into a rich shade of pink. It grows relatively well in the shade and can reach a maximum height and width of 5 to 6 inches.

Related Article: When to Plant Hydrangeas?