P90907KWhat ever happened to the formerly common white hydrangea? It used to one of the three standard types of hydrangea; and the other two were really variants of the same sorts of ‘pink or blue’ hydrangea that I wrote about in ‘Horridculture – True Colors‘. The few hydrangeas that are white nowadays are lacy, flat-topped, blushed . . . or anything but simple classic white.

This old fashioned simple white hydrangea is just as elegant now as it has always been. It is always white, without pretense of blue or pink. There is no point of giving it something it does not really need just to change its natural color (like those of us in the Santa Clara Valley do to make pink hydrangeas blue; or those of us in the Tualatin Valley do to make blue hydrangeas pink).

The bulky and almost spherically rounded form of this floral truss distinguishes this old fashioned type as a ‘mophead’ hydrangea. Nowadays, ‘lacecap’, ‘mountain’, ‘smooth’, ‘panicle’, ‘oakleaf’ and ‘climbing’ hydrangeas are the more popular types. There is certainly nothing wrong with contemporary types, but there is nothing wrong with the old fashioned ‘mophead’ types either.

When it is time to prune the hydrangeas this winter, we might take cuttings from this particular specimen, in order to grow a few copies of it. Pink and blue hydrangeas, which get fertilized accordingly (to maintain their desired colors), happen to suit the landscapes very nicely here, but a few more white hydrangeas would brighten the rich dark green of the forest splendidly.

Besides, the old fashioned simplicity and elegance of this old fashioned white mophead hydrangea seem to be more compatible with the old redwoods and other mature forest trees than the relative flashiness of modern cultivars that were popularized only in the past few decades.


11 thoughts on “White Hydrangea

    1. I sort of think of them as big foundation plants for old Victorian houses that stood higher above the ground than younger homes. I remember them in front of those old homes in San Francisco. There was not much space between the foundations and the sidewalks, and the white hydrangeas filled most of it.

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  1. That’s a lovely white hydrangea. Truly classic. I especially like the dark foliage it has. I am not sure that I have seen anything like that sold around here. It makes me wonder why?



    1. It is an old fashioned cultivar. Most people want other colors, not just pink and pale blue, but red, rich blue and purple. Some colors are quite weird for hydrangea. White ones must be special ordered, which is why we want to grow our own.


    1. For our dark green landscapes in the redwoods, white works out exceptionally well. The rest of our hydrangeas are pink or blue, which are nice too, but we want more white. (Besides, it is my favorite color.)


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