How to Identify Hydrangeas
In my garden, the color and shape of the faded bloom helps me identify hydrangeas.
Common Hydrangea macrophylla flower heads are dark tan, usually globe-like, and on the tip of stiff stems. If the brown flowers are lace-cap type, it is almost certainly a macrophylla hydrangea.
'Annabelle' hydrangea blooms are a very light tan, almost white and on the end of three-foot long arching canes.
'PeeGee' hydrangea flowers look like Hydrangea macrophylla blooms but the shrub itself is much bigger...usually 5 – 10 feet tall. Stems are very stiff and arch gently at the top.
'Tardiva' hydrangea flowers are strongly cone-shaped but the leaves are not oak-shaped. 'Tardiva' blooms in mid- to late summer, after oakleaf hydrangea.
Oakleaf hydrangea also has cone-shaped flowers but the bark of the stems peels attractively around the bottom third of the stem.