3 Tips for Growing Hydrangeas in Full Sun

It is tempting to plant a hydrangea in a full sun spot (anywhere that gets six or more hours of direct light), but unless you’re happy to run an experiment you might want to know just how to have success. Let’s touch on the three things you need to know about growing hydrangeas in full sun:

1 – Where you can grow hydrangeas in full sun
Northern gardeners get all the luck in this situation. Anyone living in zone six and below can ordinarily grow a hydrangea situated in full sun. Southern gardeners will have the best success growing their hydrangeas in afternoon shade. This protects the plants from the most intense sun exposure and gives you the most handsome display.

Fire Light Tidbit Panicle Hydrangea with multicolored blooms.

2 – Best hydrangeas for full sun
Out of the five most common hydrangeas – panicle, smooth, oakleaf, bigleaf, and mountain – you’ll have the best luck with panicle hydrangeas. They are the most sun tolerant.

3 – How to care for hydrangeas in full sun
Your biggest priority will be water. The two things that will help you give your plant the best care are a layer of mulch to increase water retention and a water meter to check the soil moisture before you give it a drink. There’s a common misconception that hydrangeas need to be practically drowning in water to thrive and that is just not the case. They like moist soil, but there absolutely needs to be oxygen in it for them to thrive. Check out this video on water meters if you’d like to learn more about knowing when to water.

Other Options

If your dreams of growing hydrangeas in a full sun garden spot have been crushed, you can still have a bold floral display! Check out a few of our favorite large-bloomed beauties for full sun, maybe one will step in and save the day. 

Have a full sun shrub that is totally crushing it in your garden? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Written by
Kristina Howley

Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.


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