17 Dwarf Hydrangea Varieties You Can Plant This Season

Thinking about adding some dwarf hydrangea plants to your garden this season, but aren't quite sure which type to plant? Finding the right hydrangea tht's a bit small and more compact, can really make a difference depending on the size of your planting space. In this article, gardening expert and hydrangea enthusiast Jill Drago examines her favorite types of dwarf hydrangea.

dwarf hydrangea

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Hydrangeas are a well loved group of plants that are adored for their large beautiful flowers and for the ease of care. They brighten up any shady space in your garden, and some species can even be grown in the sun. The options are truly endless. But what happens if you want to grow hydrangeas in your garden, but lack the space to plant them?

Obviously you can grow hydrangeas in pots, but you can also grow a dwarf hydrangea variety right in your garden. These smaller varieties are more compact and will give you plenty of flexibility in your garden space. They come in a variety of different colors, and provide plenty of options.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of our favorite dwarf hydrangeas that you can plant this season. Keep on reading to learn all about each particular shrub, including the hardiness zones in which they grow best!

What Are Dwarf Hydrangeas?

Dwarf Hydrangea in Garden
Dwarf hydrangeas are smaller compact varieties that grow up to three feet tall.

When many of us think of hydrangea shrubs we think of larger shrubs covered in big pillowy flowers. These shrubs are amazing if you have the space in your garden.

However, if this isn’t the case or if you have a smaller yard or only a small amount of space that you are able to devote to a hydrangea than a dwarf variety is exactly what you need.

Many of these varieties have the same attributes as their larger counterparts, they just come in a shrunken down version. Many of these shrubs will top out at three feet high, making them a great choice for a low hedge, or an addition to a foundation or perennial garden.

When it comes to maintaining these dwarf hydrangeas their care is the same as it would be with the larger varieties. There is no special pruning required. In fact, the same old wood vs. new wood pruning rules applies to these little guys.

Hydrangea Arborescens

Smooth hydrangeas are known by many names including wild hydrangeas. These shrubs typically have very large ball-like flowers that are traditionally white, but have become more and more hybridized and include more color options.

Smooth hydrangeas can be planted in full sun or partial shade, however if you live in a warmer climate you will want to keep this shrub out of the direct sun.

‘Bella Anna’

Arborescens ‘Bella Anna’
Water Hydrangea ‘Bella Anna’ with soft water: rain or settled.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3-5 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Color: Pink
  • Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun

This pretty pink variety is a long lasting bloomer starting in spring and ending with the frost in the fall. This reblooming variety and will keep your garden full of its magenta blossoms all season starting in the early summer and lasting until the fall.

This variety will perform at its best if you cut the stems back to a few inches from the ground in the spring.  Use the flowers from this prolific bloomer to fill the vases in your home as well. ‘Bella Anna’ is a great attractor for pollinators and is hardy in zones 4-9.

‘Invincibelle Mini Mauvette’

Arborescens ‘Invincibelle Mini Mauvette’
Hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Mini Mauvette’ produces beautiful mauve flowers that bloom from early summer until the first frost.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3-5 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Color: Pink
  • Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun

This mini variety has the large beautiful flowers that growers and lovers of smooth hydrangeas have come to expect from these pretty shrubs. This three foot plant will be covered in large snowball shaped blossoms, but not in white!

These flowers are a beautiful shade of mauve and will be present from the early summer until the first frost because it’s a reblooming variety. Its stems are strong enough to hold up these large blossoms. This variety was bred for gardeners in cooler climates and is hardy in zones 4-8.

‘Invincibelle Wee White’

‘Invincibelle Wee White’
Hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Wee White’ produces massive soft pink flowers that change color to pure white.
  • Height: 2.5 feet
  • Width: 2-3 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Color: White
  • Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun

This is a tiny plant with massive flowers! ‘Invincibelle Wee White’ could fit in almost every space in your garden, no matter how tiny. Its large flowers will open in a soft pink and change to a crisp white shortly after.

This hydrangea is low maintenance, and would be a really nice choice for a foundation planting. Be sure to plant ‘Invincibelle wee white’ in an area that gets about six hours of sun to ensure that the stems will be strong enough to support its large flowers. This pretty white shrub is hardy in zones 3-8.

Hydrangea Macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla is the most well known hydrangea. These bigleaf hydrangea shrubs are covered in beautiful either mophead or lacecap blooms, and large green leaves that are just as pretty as the flowers. Plant them in partial sun, with 4-6 hours of morning sun being preferable!

‘Mini Penny’

Dwarf Mini Penny Variety
Hydrangea ‘Mini Penny’ has blue flowers that turn pink when planted in alkaline soil.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3-4 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: White
  • Sun: Partial Shade, Dappled Sun

‘Mini Penny’ is a slow grower and at maturity will grow to three or four feet high and wide. This is a re-blooming mophead variety with flowers that can reach up to six inches across.

The flowers are sensitive to the pH of the soil and are periwinkle blue in acidic soil and pink in sweeter soils. ‘Mini Penny’ will bloom throughout the summer, until the first frost hits. This bigleaf hydrangea is hardy from zones 5 to 9.

‘Monrey’

Macrophylla ‘Monrey’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Monrey’ produces showy deep pink flowers with white edges blooming from July to August.
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Width: 3-4 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 7-9
  • Color: Pink
  • Sun: Partial Shade

This hydrangea is also known as ‘Buttons ‘N Bows’. This petite shrub has very showy flowers. These flowers will open in a lime green and fade into a deep pink with a white edge adding a dramatic look to any garden.

‘Monrey’ will bloom from July through August and will need extra watering in the heat of the summer.  This plant would make a great splash in containers, or used as a small hedge in a tight area in your yard. ‘Monrey’ would be a great choice for warmer climates as it is only hardy in zones 7-9.

‘Paraplu’

Macrophylla ‘Paraplu’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Paraplu’ produces double flowers in light pink or deep purple depending on the soil pH level.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: Blue
  • Sun: Partial Shade to Full Shade

Speaking of showy flowers, ‘Paraplu’ is really a spectacular showcase of mophead hydrangea blossoms, sporting double flowers. Double flowers are when flowers have extra petals and essentially have a flower within a flower. 

While this plant is sensitive to the pH of your soil, it will vary from light pink to dark purple, and in many cases will settle as magenta. When these flowers are just emerging they will be green. The contrast between the already pink flowers and the new green flowers is stunning.

This plant is used well in all of the typical hydrangea places, but would add a  really nice pop of color when planted near a shade tree (just not under it). ‘Paraplu’ is hardy in zones 5-9.

‘Pistachio’

Macrophylla ‘Pistachio’ Variety
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pistachio’ is a large-leaved hydrangea that blooms with an unusual coloring of flowers throughout the season and until the first frost.
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Width: 3-5 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: Green to Pink
  • Sun: Partial Shade

This reblooming hydrangea variety offers something really special when it comes to flower color. The new blooms will be lime green, but the aging flowers will take on hues of pinks creating a beautiful antique look.

As the flowers age, the pinks will turn deeper pink and sometimes even red. These flowers would be great choices for dried flowers as well. Plant these in containers to add a vibrant pop of color to your porch.

Because ‘Pistachio’ is a reblooming variety you will have flowers to enjoy all season long until the frost hits. This bigleaf hydrangea is hardy from zones 5-9.

‘Rhythmic Blue’

Macrophylla ‘Rhythmic Blue’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Rhythmic Blue’ produces deep blue flowers with a purple center or pink depending on the soil.
  • Height: 2-4 feet
  • Width: 2-4 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: Blue
  • Sun: Partial Shade

This is a reblooming hydrangea that is part of the “Let’s Dance” collection which is a new collection of hydrangeas with improved flower color and foliage. The soil pH sensitive flowers can change color with a rich blue with purple centers, or a pretty pink depending on your soil.

This would be a really nice swap for a larger blue flowered bigleaf hydrangea along the front of your home or a walkway where you might not have the space for some of the larger varieties.  Rhythmic Blue’ was developed to be cold tolerant, and is hardy from zones 5-9.

‘Venice’

Macrophylla ‘Venice’ Variety
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Venice’ is a compact variety producing pink or blue flowers.
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Width: 4-5 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 6-9
  • Color: Blue, Purple, Pink
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Another member of the Cityline series ‘Venice’ is a low maintenance option for your hydrangea gardens. This is a great compact hydrangea variety that does not require any pruning.

The flowers are pH sensitive and will range anywhere from pink to blue. This is a great bigleaf hydrangea option for warmer climates and is hardy in zones 6-9.

Hydrangea Paniculata

Panicle hydrangeas are the sun lovers of the hydrangea family. Plant these shrubs in full sun and they will thrive, six hours or more of sun will suit them just fine. These shrubs can typically get quite large, but below I have listed a few dwarf options that will still seek the sun and fill your garden beautifully.

‘Bobo’

Paniculata ‘Bobo’ Variety
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’ has white flowers that turn pink as they age.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3-4 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Color: White to Pink
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

This panicle hydrangea is covered in large white flowers. The white flowers will turn a really pretty antique pink as they age and flowers from early summer to early fall. ‘Bobo’ has an upright habit which will make this plant a great choice for a container planting, or a perennial garden where you only have a small amount of space.

This cultivar grows a little slower, but will still reach its full size in two years. ‘Bobo’ is a very cold hardy plant and can withstand harsh winters in USDA zones 3-8.

‘Bombshell’

Paniculata ‘Bombshell’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Bombshell’ is a fast-growing variety producing star-shaped white flowers in early summer.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 4 Feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Color: White
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

This panicle hydrangea is a quick grower and will fill your small spaces quickly and beautifully. ‘Bombshell’ is a prolific bloomer and will cover your shrubs in star shaped white flowers from summer until the frost hits.

This is a free growing panicle hydrangea with strong stems. ’Bombshell’ is hardy in zones 3-9 making it an excellent choice for just about any climate.

‘Firelight Tidbit’

Paniculata ‘Firelight Tidbit’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Firelight Tidbit’ grows to three feet in height with white flowers that gradually turn pink or red.
  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Width: 3 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Color: Pink, White
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

This is a wonderful small panicle variety. Growing to only three feet tall this pretty hydrangea is the smallest of all the panicles and would make a great addition to your patio border garden.

Like traditional panicle hydrangeas these flowers begin the season as white and slowly fade to pink or red as the season progresses. ‘Firelight Tidbit’ is hardy in zones 3-9.

‘Flare’

Paniculata ‘Flare’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Flare’ is a beautiful hydrangea that produces white flowers fading to pinkish-red.
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Width: 3 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Color: Pink and White
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

This is a nice compact plant with the classically large flowers one expects from a panicle hydrangea. The flowers begin as white and fade to a pinkish red. This plant would make a great choice for a low hedge or a really dramatic container.

‘Flare’ has a nice and neat upright growing habit, with strong and sturdy stems to hold up its large flowers. This panicle hydrangea is hardy in zones 3-8.

‘Little Lime’

Paniculata ‘Little Lime’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ is a dwarf variety of the Limelight hydrangea which has lovely small lime-colored flowers that bloom in early spring.
  • Plant Size: 3-5 feet
  • Height: 4-5 feet
  • Width: 4-5 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Color: White
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

If you love Limelight then you will love its dwarf variety ‘Little lime’. Just like its larger cousin it sports fresh green flowers that turn pink as they age in the fall. ‘Little Lime’  has very sturdy stems that aid in keeping its flowers upright through the season.

‘Little Lime’ would make a fool proof option for containers. Like its larger variety, it makes a nice hedge or border planting around a poolside or a walkway. Prune ‘Little Lime’ in the early spring to encourage new flower buds to form. ‘Little Lime’ is hardy in USDA zones 3-9.

Hydrangea Quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia, or oakleaf hydrangea, is native to the United States. This species stands out because of its leaves that resemble those of an oak tree.

Its flowers are cone-shaped and made up of showy sterile flowers that protect the mass of fertile flowers beneath. Plant these shrubs in full sun to partial shade, planting carefully in the southern zones and ensuring they receive enough shade so the plants don’t become too over stressed.

‘Little Honey’

Quercifolia ‘Little Honey’ Variety
Hydrangea ‘Little Honey’ is a miniature hydrangea with green-yellow leaves and snow-white flowers.
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Width: 4-5 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: White
  • Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade

‘Little Honey’ is a petite oakleaf hydrangea. Its flowers are white and cone shaped. These flowers are white and will bloom in the early to mid summer The interest with this plant is the foliage.

Instead of the deep leathery green that many oakleaf hydrangeas have, this variety has chartreuse leaves that turn crimson when autumn arrives. With the color change of the leaves as well as the color change of the flowers from white to pink this plant provides multi-season interest for your gardens. ‘Little Honey’ is hardy in zones 5-9.

‘Pee Wee’

Quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ Variety
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ produces white flowers that turn pink in autumn.
  • Height: 4 feet
  • Width: 3 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: Pink, White
  • Sun: Partial Shade

This oakleaf hydrangea variety features white spring flowers that fade to pink in the fall. Its pretty oak leaf shaped foliage is a nice deep green throughout the summer and  a bright red in the fall. This variety would be really nie plantain in a mass as a border planting. ’Pee Wee’ is hardy from zone 5-9.

Hydrangea Serrata

Hydrangea serrata is also known as the mountain hydrangea. These species started out as a member of the bigleaf species, but have managed to become a species of their own. They do have similarities to Hydrangea macrophylla, however.

They can have mophead or lacecap flowers, but their leaves are longer and more slender than the Hydrangea macrophylla. This type of hydrangea should be grown in partial shade ensuring that the plants receive morning sun of about 4 to 6 hours.

‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’

Serrata ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’ Variety
Hydrangea serrata ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’ is a winter hardy hydrangea that can grow in USDA zones 5-9.
  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Width: 2-3 feet
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Color: Pink, Purple, White
  • Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun

This compact hydrangea lives up to its name. The leaves on ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’ are small and narrow, and the shrub is covered with lots of dainty flowers that really pack a punch.These reblooming flowers are lacecaps and are typically blue but are sensitive to soil pH and they may range to pink.

Because of its small mounding habit you should not need to prune this shrub other than to remove some broken branches. This mountain hydrangea is tolerant of winter conditions and is hardy in USDA zones 5-9.

Final Thoughts

These dwarf hydrangeas listed above offer so many options for gardeners that it is hard to imagine not wanting to give them a try. Even if your garden space is large, adding a dwarf hydrangea or two to your garden would add something unexpected. Using these flowering shrubs as a small hedge or in containers is just the beginning. I love the idea of adding a dwarf hydrangea into a perennial garden to ensure season long blooms and beauty.

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