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The Small Hydrangea: Beauty in a Petite Package

small hydrangea

What is a Small Hydrangea?

Hydrangeas are one of the most beloved flowering shrubs around the world, thanks to their stunning blooms and ease of care. But what about small hydrangeas? These compact versions of the classic plant are perfect for those who want all the beauty of a full-size hydrangea in a smaller package. Small hydrangeas typically grow to be no more than 3 feet tall and wide, making them ideal for container gardening, small gardens, or even indoor growing.

The Different Types of Small Hydrangeas

Paniculata Hydrangeas

Paniculata hydrangeas are a popular choice for small garden spaces because they have a narrow, upright growth habit. They also tend to bloom later in the summer, which extends the season of bloom in your garden. Paniculata hydrangeas come in many different cultivars, but some of the most popular include 'Limelight,' 'Little Quick Fire,' and 'Fire Light.'

Smooth Hydrangeas

Smooth hydrangeas are known for their large, mophead-like blooms that come in shades of white, pink, and blue. They are also well-suited for small gardens because they tend to have a rounded, compact shape. Some of the most popular smooth hydrangea cultivars include 'Annabelle,' 'Incrediball,' and 'Invincibelle Spirit.'

Serrata Hydrangeas

Serrata hydrangeas are native to Japan and Korea, and are known for their lacecap blooms, which have a flattened cluster of tiny flowers surrounded by larger, showy petals. These hydrangeas tend to be smaller in size than other hydrangea types, making them perfect for small gardens or container gardening. Some popular serrata hydrangea cultivars include 'Blue Billow,' 'Preziosa,' and 'Tuff Stuff.'

How to Care for Small Hydrangeas

Light and Water

Small hydrangeas require plenty of water and bright, indirect light to thrive. If you are growing your hydrangea indoors, make sure it is located near a window that gets plenty of natural light. Outdoors, small hydrangeas do best in partial shade, where they are protected from the scorching sun.

In terms of watering, small hydrangeas need to be kept moist but not waterlogged. Make sure the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not sitting in standing water. During periods of drought, make sure to give your hydrangea extra water.

Soil and Fertilizer

Small hydrangeas prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by adding sulfur or iron sulfate. When it comes to fertilizer, use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring, and then again in mid-summer. Avoid fertilizing your hydrangea in the fall, as this can encourage new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter.


Small hydrangeas typically require very little pruning. Deadheading spent blooms can help encourage new growth and prolong the blooming season. If you need to prune your hydrangea, do so in the early spring before new growth appears. Cut back any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.

Small Hydrangeas in Landscaping

Small hydrangeas are incredibly versatile plants and can be used in a variety of landscaping settings. Here are just a few ideas:

Container Gardening

Small hydrangeas are perfect for container gardening, especially if you don't have a lot of space. Choose a compact cultivar like 'Bobo' or 'Little Lime,' and plant it in a large pot with well-draining soil. Place the pot in a location that gets bright, indirect light, and water regularly.

Accent Plants

Small hydrangeas can also be used as accent plants in larger garden beds. Plant them in groups of three or five for maximum impact, and use them to add color and texture to your garden design.

Border Plants

If you have a small garden bed that needs some color, consider using small hydrangeas as border plants. They look great when planted alongside other flowering shrubs, and can help create a cohesive, unified look in your garden.


Q: Can I grow small hydrangeas indoors?

A: Yes, small hydrangeas can be grown indoors as long as they receive plenty of bright, indirect light and are kept moist but not waterlogged.

Q: How often should I water my small hydrangea?

A: Small hydrangeas need to be kept moist but not waterlogged. Water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch, but avoid letting the plant sit in standing water.

Q: How do I know if my small hydrangea is getting enough light?

A: If your hydrangea is not getting enough light, it may to look spindly or leggy. The leaves may also turn yellow and drop off. If this happens, try moving your plant to a sunnier location.

Q: Can I prune my small hydrangea to keep it smaller?

A: Yes, you can prune your small hydrangea to keep it smaller. Just be sure to prune it in the early spring before new growth appears, and avoid cutting back more than one-third of the plant's total height.

Q: How long do small hydrangeas typically bloom?

A: Small hydrangeas typically bloom for several weeks in the summer or fall, depending on the cultivar. Deadheading spent blooms can help encourage new growth and prolong the blooming season.

Q: What is the best way to propagate a small hydrangea?

A: Small hydrangeas can be propagated through stem cuttings taken in the late summer or early fall. Choose a healthy stem with at least two leaf nodes, and remove all but the top few leaves. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and plant the cutting in well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist and the cutting in bright, indirect light until it roots.

The Beauty of Small Hydrangeas

Small hydrangeas may be petite in size, but they pack a big punch when it comes to beauty and versatility. Whether you are looking to add some color to a small garden bed or want to create a stunning container garden, small hydrangeas are the perfect choice. With a little bit of care, these plants will reward you with stunning blooms year after year.

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