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These two species may not be able to winter over through Alaska’s cold temperatures or bloom to the fullest, but their beauty makes growing them worth the trial and error.
Hydrangea Anomala
Also known as the “climbing hydrangea,” this species
is a versatile vine, clinging
to structures around it, reaching about 30-40’ long. White, fragrant flowers open early in summer. If testing out this less-hardy species, be sure to lay it to bed with mulch for winter. (Hardiness zone 4)
Hydrangea Macrophylla
Large, lux blooms make the Macrophylla one of the most popular hydrangea species. The flowers bloom on old and new wood, so be sure
to prune only after blooming is finished and protect from moose during winter. Tip: Add soil sulfur or aluminum sulfate for bluer flowers or add dolomitic lime for pinker flowers. (Hardiness
zone 4+)
Try: Endless Summer, a varietal whose early blooms can continue all summer. (Hardiness zone 4)
• Grandiflora (‘PeeGee’): Rapid-growing stalks with white flowers.
• Quick fire: Early blooming light pink flowers that transition to a vivid pink.
• Bobo: Loaded with white blooms that turn light pink.
• Firelight: White blooms that become red in fall.
Keeping your hydrangeas happy
Plant your hydrangea in a space where it will get about a half a day of sun – giving them some shade in the afternoon. Plant them in an area with well-drained soil
and keep the soil moist. If your hydrangea bloom on new wood, like Paniculata or Arborescens, trim them in winter or early spring before they flower. During the summer, cut old flowers when they fade to boost new blooms.
The weight of your hydrangea blooms
– if you are lucky – may drag down your plant. Give your hydrangea support either by planting a few of them close together, trimming it less each year so the stalky height defends against rain, or putting
a short wire fence (or decorative fence) around the plant.
Intensely cold winters may kill your hydrangea, making the plant difficult to winter over in Alaska. Try putting mulch over your bushes to help protect it against our harsh, variable winters. If you’re taking on the challenge of growing hydrangeas
in Southcentral Alaska, be forewarned that if you are in a particularly cold spot, it is difficult to cultivate thriving hydrangeas.
Sources: Brenda Adams, owner of Gardens by Design in Homer (; Jeff Lowenfels, lawyer, award-winning author and gardener of Anchorage (; Will Criner, garden and facilities manager at the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage (
  Quick Fire
            Endless Summer
Courtesy of Proven Winners -

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