What Side of Your House Should You Plant Hydrangeas?

Trying to figure out what side of the house to plant your hydrangeas this season? Depending on where you plant them, plant placement can make or break your plants. In this article, gardening expert and hydrangea enthusiast Jill Drago looks at the sides of your house that get the best type of sun exposure for hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas blooming planted outside of house on eastern side


Hydrangeas are easy-to-grow plants, just as long as you have them planted in the right spot. So what is the right spot to plant your hydrangea? These popular shrubs make beautiful foundation plants as well as hedges, privacy screens, and bed plants.

For some reason, hydrangeas have earned the reputation of being finicky plants. Their flowers are incomparable, and when they are lacking in a garden, it can be disappointing. This causes people to question which side of their home they should be planting their hydrangeas.

Planting them in the wrong area can cause lackluster bloom production, amongst other common issues. Let’s take a deeper look at which side of your home your hydrangeas belong before you start putting them in the ground.

The Short Answer

The best location for most hydrangeas is the east side of your home, but this will depend on your growing location and the structures of the home and any trees or structures around that could block the sun. The east side of your home is usually best because your home will get morning sunshine and ample afternoon shade, allowing the hydrangea to recover from the hot summer sun.

The Long Answer

Close-up of the front yard with large flowering shrub. Large and lush hydrangea bushes grow in front of a large, black house with a brown roof and large white and black windows. Bushes have lush, dark green, oval leaves and large inflorescences of blue and purple sterile flowers.
Keep track of the amount of sun that the planting location recieves.

It is easy to say, “Plant your hydrangea on the east side of your house”. However, more important than the side of the home is the amount of sun and shade each side gets. Every single home is different.

Walk around the perimeter of your home a few times a day to look at sun exposure to help determine the best plant placement. Or, if you have one particular space in mind, keep track of how much sun the space gets throughout the day and at what time. Once you have that data, you can choose the right species for your yard.

Equally as important as the amount of sun they receive is the soil that they will be growing in. Hydrangeas do not like having wet feet. Too much moisture can lead to root rot as well as other issues. Therefore, you will want your soil to be moist but well-draining.

Sun Requirements

Close-up of blooming shrub in a sunny garden. Dense shrubs have tall stems covered with large, oval, dark green leaves with serrated edges. Large, spherical inflorescences consist of many blue sterile flowers.
A garden spot with dappled sun should receive 3-5 hours of sun per day.

There are a lot of terms that are frequently used when we are talking about sun requirements for plants. Let’s break that down so you can make the best decision about what to plant in your garden spaces.

Sun Classification

  • Full Sun= 6+ hours of sun per day
  • Dappled or Light Shade= 3-5 hours of sun per day
  • Partial Shade= 2-4 hours of sun per day
  • Deep Shade= 1 hour or less of sun per day

Keep Species In Mind

Close-up of blooming shrub in the garden. The bushes are lush, large, have thin purple stems covered with oval, pointed leaves, dark green in color. Large cone-shaped panicles, consist of many small white-cream sterile flowers that turn pink.
Paniculata hydrangeas prefer full sun, while climbing and bigleaf hydrangeas prefer partial shade.

Hydrangea Paniculata loves full sun and can take 6 hours or more of sun per day. This species is always a beautiful addition to any garden. They typically grow up to 6 feet in height or more, although there are dwarf varieties available.

They bloom on new wood and produce beautiful football-shaped flowers that are usually white, fading to shades of pink or red as the season goes on. However, if you are planting any other hydrangea species, you will need a bit more protection from the sun.

All other species grow best in partial shade, getting about 4 hours of sun per day. This sun should be in the morning. Spending the afternoons in the shade will give them time to recover from the morning sun and perk up a bit.

Looking at Each Planting Location

No two yards are the same, so what makes each side good or bad for growing hydrangeas? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of planting them on every side of your home landscape.

North Side

Close-up of blooming low bushes in a flower bed, in the backyard. The bushes are lush, have large, rounded inflorescences of bright pink showy flowers. The leaves are oval, opposite, dark green with serrated edges. Red and pink roses and yarrow also bloom in the flower bed. In the background, there is a beautiful brick, dark brown house with white doors and windows.
The north side receives morning sunlight and is great for most varieties.

I would consider the north side the second best place to plant hydrangeas. The north side gets good morning sunlight.

This is not always the case, of course. The north side of my home is where my driveway sits. The driveway generates a lot of heat. I have one hydrangea planted near my driveway in the shade of a lilac bush, and it needs a bit more water than the rest of them planted in my yard.

South Side

Gorgeous front yard garden. Beautiful garden border with panicled hedge. The bushes are lush, have large, simple, oval leaves with serrated edges and large panicles of snow-white sterile flowers. There is a magnificent gray house in the background.
The south side of the house will be a great place to grow panicle hydrangeas.

Aside from the west side of the house, the south side will typically get too much sun for many types of hydrangeas to grow happily.

This being said, if you have deciduous trees creating dappled shade on the south side of your home, they will grow happily there underneath the area shaded by the tree.

Another option for the south side is to plant panicles. They will enjoy the sun but might need to be watered a bit more frequently for them to thrive.

East Side

A close-up of bushes that grow next to the stone cottage. The bushes are tall, lush, have dark green, oval leaves with narrowed tips and serrated edges. Large oval inflorescences of pale pink flowers grow on the tops of the stems.
The east side of the house is the best planting location, as it gets the morning and afternoon sun.

This is the best side of the house for your hydrangeas, traditionally. The east side of your home will likely get wonderful morning sun and afternoon, providing them with ideal conditions for growing strong plants and beautiful flowers.

West Side

Close-up of a flowering bush next to a small barn, in a summer garden. The bush is tall, has long thin stems covered with oval leaves with serrated edges and large spherical inflorescences of pale blue flowers. The barn is wooden.
The west side of the house is the most difficult growing location as it receives the most afternoon sun.

This is historically the worst side for planting. This is because the west side will get the most afternoon sun. The afternoon sun can really fry your hydrangeas, leaving them with little time to recover before nightfall.

If you are dying to plant on the west side of your home, I would opt for panicles just like other sunny areas. As mentioned earlier, these are the only hydrangea variety suited for mostly sunny conditions. You may still struggle with keeping them from drying out.

Try placing a soaker hose or a drip irrigation line around the base of the shrub to ensure that they get enough water to combat the heat of the afternoon sun.

What About Containers?

Close-up, view of the porch near the entrance to the house and pots with blooming pink hydrangea. Large, beautiful, decorative flowerpots with lush flowering shrubs. The plants have bright green oval leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges and produce rounded clusters of showy pink flowers. The porch is beautiful, neat, light, with beautiful beige tiles with brown triangular patterns. Entrance doors are dark green with glass inserts.
If you don’t have the right place in the garden, then consider containers.

Containers are wonderful options if you don’t have the perfect growing conditions in your garden. Potted hydrangeas could be placed on a patio, porch or deck. These potted beauties can easily be overwintered in your shed or garage so you can enjoy them year after year.

When you are selecting a container, be sure to pick a container that is large enough to give the roots to grow. It is recommended that the container is about twice the size of the existing root ball of the plant.

These potted plants still require the same dappled sunlight as the shrubs planted in the garden. Keep your eye on container-growing hydrangeas. They may need to be watered more frequently. This is because there is less soil and available water in containers.

Final Thoughts

As always, there is no finite answer to any gardening question. This is no different. There is always a better option, and in this case, the better option is to plant your hydrangeas on the east side of your home.

Every garden is different, though. For instance, the east side of my home does not get enough sun for the hydrangeas to thrive, so I have them planted on the shady west and south sides of my home. Scout your garden beds for the best spot and choose the right species for your home!

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