12 Hydrangea Varieties That Grow in Full Sun

Hydrangeas add beautiful color to a garden in the Spring. Which ones can tolerate full sun?

Thinking of planting some hydrangeas in your garden but aren’t sure if they can take full sun? There are some varieties that can.

If you are considering adding hydrangeas to the sunny areas of your yard, read this article to find out which ones are sun tolerant.

Not Only a Plant for the Shade

You have probably heard a lot about how hydrangeas are excellent plants to grow in partial shade. This is true.

Hydrangeas that are grown in the shade and given proper care have abundant flowers and foliage. This is partly why hydrangeas are so popular.

What is less known is that many hydrangea varieties can do very well in sunny locations. When choosing a hydrangea to plant in the full-sun areas of your garden, be sure to choose the right variety. Plus, be prepared for the possibility of extra watering

12 Hydrangeas for Sunny Locations

1. Incrediball

USDA Zone: 3 to 9

The Incrediball hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ Incrediball) is a broadleaf, deciduous flowering shrub. It is a cultivar of the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) that is hardy and flowers on new wood. It has strong branches and big flower heads. The cultivar name is ‘Abetwo.’

White arborescens hydrangeas flower

2. Cityline

USDA Zone: 5 to 9

The Cityline Vienna hydrangea grows as a neat, compact mound with big mophead blooms. It has strong stems that bear leathery, disease-resistant foliage. Summer brings vivid pink or blue blooms. It does not require pruning, thanks to its low growing habit.

Beautiful purple flowers of hydrangeas cityline

3. Bobo

USDA Zone: 3 to 8

Bobo is a new dwarf hydrangea that reaches just three feet in height. It continuously grows enormous creamy white flowers from summer until frost.

Its blossoms are held upright on strong stems and continue to grow and lengthen as they bloom. In fall, flowers may turn a pinkish hue. It is an undeniable asset to any garden, particularly where space is limited.

Pink bobo flowers full bloom

4. Limelight

USDA Zone: 3 to 9

This bush has very large flowers that are held upright by strong stems. Limelight is a type of Panicle Hydrangea.

The Limelight Hydrangea flowers will start off lime green in color, which is a perfect accent for hot summer days. As the blossoms age, they turn to hues of cream, pink, red, and burgundy. The fall color is just beautiful, as these cone-shaped flowers last longer than most other plants in the garden.

Green limelight flowers fully blooming

5. Candy Apple

USDA Zone: 3 to 8

This is a new, irresistible variety with the same show-stopping lime-green flower clusters as Limelight, but in a more compact form. The exquisite, long-lasting blossoms grow on very sturdy stems and age to nearly pure white.

It is gorgeous in fresh or dried cut flower arrangements and ideal for use as a container plant or a focal point for smaller gardens. 

6. Little Lime

USDA Zone: 3 to 8

Little Lime is a compact cultivar that typically grows in an upright rounded mound to a height and width of 3 to 5 feet. It is particularly notable for its large mophead type inflorescences (panicles to 5 inches tall by 4 inches wide), with sterile flowers emerging in soft light green but maturing to pink and burgundy in fall. 

Additional features of interest include its compact, upright-mounded shape, its free branching habit, and strong stems that hold the panicles upright with no drooping.

Blooming bush of little lime flowers

7. Little Lamb

USDA Zone: 3 to 8

The Little Lamb hydrangea is unique because its flower petals are the smallest and most delicate of any hydrangea. The little flowers are held in tight, but delicate flower heads that look like dancing lambs floating above this compact shrub. 

This special shrub blooms in mid-summer and lasts into autumn. The pure white blooms light up a garden and blend wonderfully with all other colors. Flowers may turn pink in the fall. 

8. Pinky Winky

USDA Zone: 3 to 8

Pinky Winky is a compact cultivar that typically grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is notable for its dense, cone-shaped, exceptionally large panicles of mostly sterile, two-toned flowers that emerge white but mature to dark pink.

Flowers at the base of the panicles rapidly change from white to pink while new white flowers are still emerging at the indeterminate panicle tips. Strong stiff stems hold the flower panicles upright with no drooping. The dark-green, serrate leaves turn into a yellow to purple-tinged fall color. 

Pinky winky flowers varieties of paniculata

9. Quick Fire

USDA Zone: 3 to 9

Every year, the Quick Fire variety blooms about a month before other hardy varieties and flowers. Flowers open white, then turn pink as summer progresses. This very hardy flowering shrub is perfect in mixed containers or mass plantings, as a hedge or cut flower.

10. Moon Dance

USDA Zone: 4a to 9b

The Moon Dance hydrangea has a large growth habit and produces big creamy white conical bloom clusters on gracefully arching branches in late spring into autumn. This plant makes a great addition to any full-sun to part-sun landscape as a dramatic accent specimen. It also looks great in mass plantings or decorative containers. 

Moon dance flower clean white

11. Sweet Summer

USDA Zone: 4 to 7

Sweet Summer is a mid-sized hydrangea that grows 4 to 5 feet tall. It produces sterile flowers with lots of dense panicles. Green flowers mature to white in summer and turn shades of pink in fall. You will see white and shades of pink all at the same time. The blossoms grow on very strong stems, making them ideal for flower arrangements.

12. Gatsby Gal

USDA Zone: 5 to 9

This semi-dwarf oakleaf hydrangea is ideal for landscaping around your home or planting as a hedge or screen. Gatsby Gal grows to be 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. Enjoy its fabulous, high-quality, oak-shaped leaves in spring; big, fragrant blooms in summer; outstanding fall color; and lovely cinnamon-colored peeling bark in winter. Whether you use it as a hedge, for mass planting, or as a container accent, this variety will bring easy-care, year-round beauty to your home.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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