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As with most plants, the height and width that hydrangeas can grow to depends on the hydrangea type (and variety), the environment they’re grown in and the care you take of them.
Hydrangea shrubs can be from 0.5m tall to 2.5m tall, and even taller ( 4- 8m) for the climbing varieties. Their width varies from 0.5m to about 2.5m. Remember that it takes many years for the hydrangea shrub to reach its full size.
We’ve divided some examples here into two groups – some compact varieties for those with smaller growing spaces and larger varieties for those with the outdoors space to make more of a visual statement with their hydrangea shrubs.
Recommended compact varieties
Hydrangea macrophylla Miss Saori (Big leaf Hydrangea)
Height: 0.5 to 1m
Width: 0.5 to 1m
In spring and autumn, the leaves of the Miss Saori are dark green with a tinge of dark red. The flowers are pale pink with a rim of dark pink and appear in the middle of summer. The blooms have double florets and last until the middle of autumn. Unlike most Hydrangea macrophylla varieties that change colour depending on the soil ph level, on this Hydrnagea the flower colours are not affected by the soil ph level so the flowers will not change colour.
They grow well in semi-shade or full sun in most well-drained soils and will even grow well in sheltered and exposed areas.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sike’s Dwarf’ (Oak leaf hydrangea)
Height: 0.5 to 1m
Width: 0.5 to 1.5m
Starting in spring and summer with green foliage, the Sike’s Dwarf hydrangea’s leaves turn purple and bronze in the autumn like all other varieties of Hydrangea quercifolia. Likewise, the flowers undergo a colour change. The conical flower heads are up to 10cm long and start out white in the summer before transforming to a light pink into the autumn. This hydrangea bush can take from five to ten years to reach its full size. Sike’s Dwarf is actually a dwarf variety of oak leaf hydrangea so only grows between 0.5 and 1 meter tall. Some of the more common varieties of Oak leaf hyrangeas can actually reach 1.5 meters tall by around 2.5 meters wide.
Compact hydrangeas can be grown in containers and we have advice for this in our Growing hydrangeas in pots article.
Larger hydrangeas to grow
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillère’ (Big leaf hydrangea)
Height: 1.5 to 2.5m
Width: 1 to 1.5m
The broad oval leaves of the ‘Madame Emile Mouillère’ remain green throughout the growing seasons. This is a bushy shrub that’s taller than it is wide. The white petals in the rounded flower heads of clustered petals have a zig-zag edge. If this hydrangea bush receives full sun, the petals may become pinged with pink. This is another hydrangea that takes between five and ten years to reach its full size.
Hydrangea aspera (rough-leaved hydrangea)
Height: 2.5 to 4m
Width: 1.5 to 2.5m
The Hydrangea aspera doesn’t look like a regular hydrangea. For a start, it can grow up to 4m tall and 2.5m wide. The green leaves are long and spear-shaped and have a soft, hairy surface.
In the summer, there are purple flowers with many short stamens, and they are fertile. Later on, in the summer, non-sterile flowers appear to the outside of the earlier flowers. The later flowers are in white, pink or purple depending on the variety.
Hydrangea ‘Petiolaris’ (Climbing hydrangea)
Width: 4 to 8m
Climbing hydrangeas are probably the largest of all the Hydrangeas and can reach an impressive 12 meters tall by around 4-8 meters wide. They are also self clingers meaning they don’t need a trellis to climb a wall or fence.
They will also grow well in full sun, semi-shade and even shade where most other climbers won’t grow well. In terms of soil, a well-drained soil that is Acid to Neutral is best. Although fairly fast climbers, it will take 10 to 20 years before they reach their full mature size.
Have a regular fertilising schedule for your hydrangeas to keep them in their best shape. We give advice for this in our When to use ericaceous compost on hydrangeas article.