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French Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea)
Also in this family:
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, riverbanks, scrub, towns, wasteland, woodland.

Variable in colour, 5 petals
Flowers in dense clusters of pink or blue. 5 petals. Flowers turn blue in acidic soil and pink in alkaline.
An insignificant cup-shaped, dry capsule.
A deciduous shrub. Opposite leaves, broad, ovate and with toothed margins.
Other Names:
Bigleaf Hydrangea, Florist's Hydrangea, Garden Hydrangea, Hortensia, Lacecap Hydrangea, Mophead Hydrangea, Penny Mac.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Hydrangea macrophylla, commonly known as bigleaf hydrangea or French hydrangea, is a species of flowering plant in the hydrangea family. It is native to Japan and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in many parts of the world. It is known for its large, showy flowers that bloom in shades of pink, blue, purple, and white, depending on the pH of the soil. The plant can grow to be quite large, reaching heights of up to 6 feet. It is often grown in gardens, along borders, or as a hedge or specimen plant.


The French Hydrangea, or Hydrangea macrophylla, is a beautiful flowering plant that is native to Japan and Korea. This plant has become a popular choice for gardeners around the world because of its stunning blooms, which can range in color from pink and purple to blue and white.

One of the most interesting things about the French Hydrangea is that the color of its blooms can be influenced by the pH of the soil in which it is planted. In acidic soil, the flowers will be blue, while in alkaline soil, they will be pink. This means that gardeners can actually manipulate the color of the blooms by adjusting the pH of the soil.

French Hydrangeas are also known for their large, showy flowers. These flowers are made up of clusters of smaller flowers, known as florets, which are arranged in a spherical shape. The size and shape of these flowers can vary depending on the variety of the plant, but they can range from 4 to 12 inches in diameter.

In addition to their beautiful blooms, French Hydrangeas are also known for their lush foliage. The leaves of this plant are large and glossy, and can be either dark green or variegated. They are also deciduous, meaning they will drop their leaves in the fall and go dormant for the winter.

French Hydrangeas are relatively easy to care for, and can be grown in a variety of different conditions. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial shade, but can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. These plants are also relatively cold hardy, and can survive temperatures down to about -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you're interested in growing French Hydrangeas in your garden, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make sure you choose a variety that is appropriate for your climate and growing conditions. You should also be prepared to amend your soil to adjust the pH if you want to manipulate the color of the blooms.

French Hydrangeas are often used in landscape design as borders or as accent plants in garden beds. They can also be grown in containers, which is a great option for those with limited outdoor space. The plant's large size and colorful blooms make it a popular choice for adding a splash of color to patios, balconies, and other small spaces.

One of the most popular varieties of French Hydrangea is the 'Endless Summer' variety. This plant is prized for its ability to bloom repeatedly throughout the summer season, and for its large, showy blooms. Other popular varieties include 'Nikko Blue,' 'Bailmer,' and 'Merritt's Supreme.'

French Hydrangeas are also commonly used in cut flower arrangements. Their long stems and large blooms make them an excellent choice for creating stunning bouquets and floral arrangements. To keep the blooms fresh, cut the stems at an angle and place them in a vase filled with water.

If you're planning to grow French Hydrangeas in your garden, it's important to note that they can be prone to a few different pests and diseases. Common issues include powdery mildew, leaf spot, and spider mites. To prevent these problems, make sure you provide your plants with plenty of air circulation and avoid overhead watering, which can lead to fungal infections.

French Hydrangeas are also known for their versatility in floral arrangements. They can be used in a variety of styles, from traditional bouquets to more modern, minimalist designs. The flowers can be cut at different stages of development to create different effects, from tight, compact clusters to looser, more relaxed blooms.

Another interesting fact about French Hydrangeas is that the color of the blooms can change over time. As the flowers age, they may take on a slightly different hue or even change color entirely. This natural process can add even more interest and variation to your garden or floral arrangements.

French Hydrangeas can also be used in combination with other plants to create stunning garden designs. They pair well with other shade-loving plants, such as hostas, ferns, and astilbes. The plant's large size and bold blooms make it a great focal point, while its glossy foliage provides a lush backdrop for other plants.

When planting French Hydrangeas, it's important to keep in mind their size and growth habits. These plants can grow quite large, so make sure to give them plenty of space to spread out. Pruning is also important to maintain the plant's shape and encourage healthy growth. Deadheading spent blooms can also help to promote continued blooming throughout the summer season.

French Hydrangeas are also popular as wedding flowers, particularly in bridal bouquets and centerpieces. Their large, statement blooms add a romantic and elegant touch to any wedding decor. The flowers can be used in a variety of color schemes, from soft pastels to bold jewel tones.

In addition to their beauty, French Hydrangeas are also known for their symbolism. They are often associated with love, gratitude, and perseverance, making them a popular choice for gifts and special occasions.

French Hydrangeas are also popular with pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies. The plant's large blooms provide a rich source of nectar and pollen, making it an important food source for these insects. By planting French Hydrangeas in your garden, you can help to support local pollinator populations and promote a healthy ecosystem.

Finally, it's worth noting that while French Hydrangeas are relatively easy to care for, they do require some maintenance to thrive. In addition to regular pruning, it's important to fertilize the plant regularly and provide it with adequate water. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

In conclusion, the French Hydrangea is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add color, beauty, and interest to any garden or outdoor space. Whether you're using it in a floral arrangement, as a wedding flower, or as a landscape plant, the French Hydrangea is sure to impress with its bold blooms and lush foliage. With a little bit of care and attention, this plant can provide years of beauty and enjoyment.

Some Noteworthy Facts

Facts about French Hydrangeas:

  • French Hydrangeas are also known as Hydrangea macrophylla
  • They are native to Japan
  • They are popular for their large, showy blooms
  • The color of the blooms can change over time
  • French Hydrangeas are versatile and can be used in floral arrangements, as landscape plants, and as wedding flowers
  • They are also popular with pollinators like bees and butterflies

French Hydrangeas are a popular plant known for their large, showy blooms and versatility. They are native to Japan and can be used in a variety of settings, from landscape design to floral arrangements. They are also popular with pollinators and have a variety of color options available. With proper care and maintenance, French Hydrangeas can provide years of beauty and enjoyment.


The French Hydrangea filmed in Duxbury Gardens, Lancashire on the 11th July 2023.


Music credits
Feel Good Rock by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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