General gardening topics

Growing Hydrangea Runaway Bride & Care Guide

Last updated on September 5th, 2021

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Why choose the Runaway Bride Hydrangea?

The Runaway Bride hydrangea plant has become immensely popular in the last few years. Here are seven reasons why gardeners love it so much:

  1. It has won the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.
  2. It produces flowers from late spring (May) all the way through until autumn (September), longer than most other hydrangeas.
  3. The flowers grow along each stem instead of just at the end of each trailing branch.
  4. Up to six large white blooms per branch adds up to a profusion of flowers.
  5. It grows well both in mixed borders, in patio containers and even hanging baskets.
  6. It is an extremely hardy and vigorous plant that’s easy to look after.
  7. Beautiful as cut flowers in arrangements and bouquets.

What does the Runaway Bride hydrangea look like?

When looking at a Runaway Bride hydrangea bush in full flower, you’re faced with a dense mass of pale-pink tinged white lace-cap flowers, each with four scalloped petals.

The bright white is offset by the dark green toothed leaves. The bush itself is mound shape and compact, growing to a height and a spread each of 120cm (4ft) after five to ten years. The flowers appear in May through September for a memorable growing season. In autumn the leaf colour changes to red heightened by some yellow and green.

Where do I plant the Runaway Bride?

Hydrangeas prefer to be in a sunny or semi-shaded location, out of the way of cold winds that dry them out. Runaway Bride grows best in afternoon shade and in soil that’s moist but is kept well-drained.

Clay, sandy or loamy soil works well for this plant. The soil can be acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline so grow well in model soils. As white hydrangeas don’t change their colour according to the pH of their growing environment, they do retain their flower colour in any soil type.

You can learn more about hydrangeas that change colour from pink to blue here

Growing them in pots

If you choose to plant this hydrangea in a container (which I highly recommend) select one that’s quite deep. This plant is a floriferous bush that will spread beautifully and trail over the edge of any pot that it’s in.

It grows in a mound-like shape so will look good in a round container.

Get creative by planting them in hanging baskets

If you plan on planting your hydrangea in a hanging basket, don’t choose one with a porous base (e.g. coconut fibre) as all the water will just drain out and your hydrangea soil may become too dry.

Alternatively, place the hanging container on a saucer or plate to catch the falling water but still make sure water can still drain away you just don’t want it to ask like a sump and flood.

Hydrangea Runaway Bride flowers just starting to open
Hydrangea Runaway Bride flowers just starting to open

When should I plant the Runaway Bride hydrangea?

You have a wide window of time to plant this hydrangea – from February through to November. As they are mostly grown in pots for sale online and in garden centres, you can plant them at any time of year.

How do I look after the Runaway Bride hydrangea bush?

Hydrangeas don’t like to dry out so ensure that the soil around them – in the garden bed or container – is always moist but not soggy. This is especially necessary after you first transplant the bush.

If you’ve planted it in a container, establish a regular watering schedule and stick to it but be careful not to overwater. When preparing the soil to receive the plant, add rich compost for its nutrition. If you plant the bush before the end of the frost period, make sure to protect it at night as frost can damage the flower buds, some fleece will do the trick or bring it inside a greenhouse.

Learn more about protecting plants in winter in this guide

Regular maintenance includes fertilising the hydrangea. There’s a difference of opinion among expert gardeners as to how often this should be done, from annually to every few months. Deadheading faded blooms is done by cutting the stem back to the second pair of leaves below the flower head. This stops seeds from developing and saves the plant from expending energy needlessly.

Hydrangea Runaway Bride in flower in summer

I don’t recommend pruning the dead flowers in autumn; leave them to overwinter until the new flower buds are firmly established in spring. Then cut back the old stems to the strong new buds. Remove any dead or damaged branches, though. After pruning the plant, treat it to a layer of mulch or compost to help it heal the cuts and to restore energy.

Pruning Runaway Bride hydrangeas

Pruning established plants is a little different. Every autumn, choose one-third of the shoots and cut them right down to the base. This encourages new flowers to appear next spring.

You can learn more about pruning hydrangeas in general in this guide

For just a little time invested in its care, the Runaway Bride hydrangea will be a talking point in your garden.


Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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