Hydrangeas grow in a wide area of the United States, and need care depending on the location. Protect the plants in the north from harsh winter winds so the buds for next year's flowers will survive. Plant the shrubs in partial shade in the south where the plant gets sun in the morning and shade in the hot afternoon. Treat them right and the hydrangeas will reward you with blooms from spring through summer and, hopefully, into the fall.
Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') grows from 3 to 5 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide with dark-green leaves from 3 to 8 inches long. White flowers bloom from June through September in large, round clusters from 8 to 12 inches across. Plant smooth hydrangea in partial shade and a well-drained soil. The plant is not drought tolerant. The shrub is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.
French hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is also known as bigleaf hydrangea and is hardy in zones 6 to 10. The color of the flowers depends on the soil conditions. If the soil has a heavy acid content, the flowers start out white and turn blue. In basic soils, the flowers turn pink, while in neutral soils, the flowers stay white. The shrub grows from 3 to 8 feet tall and about the same in width. The plant features dark-green leaves and flowers growing in ball-shaped clusters. Plant in a rich, moist, well-drained soil. In the north, the plant needs full sun. In the south, give the plant partial shade.
Oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) grows form 6 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Green, egg-shaped leaves with edges similar to the leaves of an oak tree measure 8 to 12 inches long and turn purple in the fall. White flowers turn to pink and then tan, bloom in the spring and summer and give way to tiny, brown fruits. Plant oak-leaf hydrangea in full sun or partial shade and a moist to wet soil. The plant is hardy in zones 5b through 9.
Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora') is hardy in zones 3 to 8 and likes full sun or partial shade and an rich, moist, well-drained soil. The shrub grows from 10 to 25 feet tall with a spread of 8 to 16 feet. White flowers turn to pink grow in 6- to 8-inch long clusters at the tips of the stems and bloom from July through September. Medium-green, oval or egg-shaped leaves measure up to 6 inches long.