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Can Hydrangeas Grow in Full Sun?

Hydrangea paniculata with pink, white blooms.

If you’re considering jumping on the beautiful hydrangea train and adding a few of these stunning plants to your garden, you want to carefully consider their placement. While hydrangeas are relatively low-maintenance plants, they do have some specific light preferences.

While not all hydrangeas can thrive in the full sun, there are a few types that can handle the heat—it all comes down to your hydrangea variety.

Hydrangeas are typically known for their love affair with dappled shade and filtered sunlight, but some varieties can indeed handle a fuller dose of sunshine. If, however, you place one of those shade-loving hydrangeas—like a hydrangea macrophylla—in a location in your garden that gets full sun, you will only set your plant up for failure. The leaves may burn, the hydrangea blooms may brown, and this variety of hydrangea will struggle to thrive.

The key to proper hydrangea care is understanding the type you have, how much they can handle the spotlight, and giving them the TLC they deserve.

Panicle Hydrangea Paniculata

This hydrangea is sure to impress with its unique blooms.

If you want a full-sun spot hydrangea, the Hydrangea paniculata varieties, often called panicle hydrangeas, are great options. These hydrangea blooms tend to be large and almost football-shaped, and they stand up well against the sunlight.

Hydrangea quercifolia varieties, or oakleaf hydrangea, are another resilient option that can tolerate full sun. This type of hydrangea tends to have white to pink blooms and large, oak-shaped leaves. Plus, in the fall, this hydrangea can be red to purple, so you kind of get two plants for the price of one.

If you want to plant a full sun hydrangea, though, keep in mind that just because your hydrangea can handle the sun doesn’t mean it can go neglected in the heat. The secret to success for your hydrangea plant lies in your watering routine.

Munchkin Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea

This sun-loving hydrangea is recognizable by it's large, oak-life leaves.

Make sure they’re well-watered, especially during hotter months, to prevent their roots from getting parched. Applying mulch around the base of your hydrangea can also help lock in moisture and keep your plant happy between waterings.

Always remember that choosing the perfect spot for your hydrangea is key to reaping its low-maintenance benefits. You want to put the right hydrangea variety in the right spot to avoid burning your hydrangea. They need their daily dose of vitamin D without the risk of scorching.

If you live in a region with intense sun or especially hot summers, a spot with dappled shade during the hottest part of the day may be ideal—even for hydrangeas happy in the sun.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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