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The Hydrangeas are Coming, the Hydrangeas are Coming!

The Hydrangeas are Coming, the Hydrangeas are Coming!

Mon, May 17, 2021 by Lucy Contreras, Assistant Manager of Plant Collections | in Botanical Gardens

Maybe if times were different for Paul Revere, he would have come riding through the streets shouting just that. Alas, there were certainly more pressing matters, so I can see why announcing the bloom time of hydrangeas would be put on the back burner (plus it was April, so they wouldn’t have been ready anyway!). Be that as it may, as a public garden a few hundred years outside of the American Revolution (and at the end of May), we can certainly steal a page from Paul’s book and use this as an opportunity to alert you that the hydrangeas are getting ready to burst into full bloom!

I know I say this pretty much any time I bring up hydrangeas, so in a blog dedicated to their spectacular boom, you can surely expect this one to be coming… Hydrangeas are one of the quintessential southern plants that we’ve come to know, grow, and adore! We wouldn’t grow them if it wasn’t for good reason, either. Hydrangeas do well in our climate and create beautiful flowers that are practically a bouquet in and of themselves.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer' (Endless Summer®) flower

While we are still about a week or so out from full, glorious bloom, you can take this week to get amped up and start getting your plans together to come for a visit! So, let’s take a look at some of the magnificent hydrangeas you can expect to see at the height of their bloom.


Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

One of the first hydrangeas to greet you upon reaching the Welcome Center Plaza are oakleaf hydrangeas. These in-your-face shrubs have panicle-shaped flower clusters filled with white blooms. While obviously quite attractive when in flower, they are also a sight to behold for their attractive leaf form that – you guessed it – looks like an oak leaf.

And one more cool fact? These hydrangeas are native to South Carolina! As if we needed another reason to love them.

Endless Summer® Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmer’ (Endless Summer®))

You may have this very hydrangea among your collection at home. The Endless Summer® hydrangeas are known for their big, mophead flowers with blue or pink blooms, depending on the soil acidity. You can find ours in the Lower Left Wing.

What makes this hydrangea such a fan favorite is how versatile it is. You may have heard of plants blooming on old or new wood, which impacts how you prune them. The great thing about the Endless Summer® hydrangeas is that they flower on both old and new wood, making it hard for you to lose blooms. Plus, these hydrangeas rebloom, allowing for a longer period of floral interest.

‘Fuji Waterfall’ Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Fuji Waterfall’)

This gentle bloom of double white, star-shaped flowers on a lacecap inflorescence is very sweet! As with our Endless Summer® hydrangeas, you can also catch these in the Lower Left Wing.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Fuji Waterfall' flower

It’s hard not to fall in love with these flowers!

‘Lady in Red’ Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lady in Red’)

A trip to the Visionaries or Old Kitchen turns up beautiful ‘Lady in Red’ bigleaf hydrangeas. These lacecap-type flowers are borne on red stems and have pinkish-red blooms.

Even when not in flower, we can’t help but love the attractive red stems that create an additional pop of interest!

Let’s Dance® Rave® Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘SMNHMSIGMA’ (Let’s Dance® Rave®))

The Children’s Garden is home to a purple-flowering bigleaf hydrangea – Let’s Dance® Rave®. Like Endless Summer® hydrangeas, this too is a rebloomer! The soil pH can play a role in just how purple (or pink or violet!) it may become, allowing for a unique colored bloom in the garden.

Bonus: Evergreen Hydrangea (Dichroa febrifuga and Dichroa versicolor)

Okay, okay this one isn’t technically a hydrangea, despite its common name, but it's worth including anyway! Evergreen hydrangea bears a resemblance to bigleaf hydrangeas thanks to its leaf shape. The flowers are a little more subdued, but are still attractive in their own right. They too are nearing their bloom period and are also worth keeping an eye out for! You can spot these in the Lower Left Wing, Baby Gods, Children’s Garden, and Upper Left Wing.

Dichroa febrifuga flower

Now that you’ve got hydrangeas on the mind, don’t forget to plan your trip to come see us soon and catch these blooms, along with even more hydrangeas we couldn’t fit on this list, at their peak.

See you in the Gardens!

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1931 Brookgreen Drive

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Off US Highway 17 Bypass, between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island