Some of Tim's Favorite Hydrangea Serrata Cultivars for the North

The photos and descriptions below are excerpted from Tim's book
Hydrangeas in the North
Available for purchase at Tim's e-store or from Amazon
Click on thumbnails for full view

‘Beni’, meaning ‘red,’ is a very compact, medium-scale serrata growing to about three feet tall and wide.  Its blooms begin white in mid-June and gradually take on a red coloration, finishing as a bright scarlet. 

‘Blue Deckle’ stands out from all other serrata hydrangeas for its incredible hardiness and its ability to bloom on its new growth.  I wonder sometimes if it shouldn’t be classified as a separate species of its own.  It is also very sun tolerant.  It is a smaller shrub, growing to only two feet tall and three wide, producing short-lived blooms in mid-June (though they’d probably last longer if they were in more shade), then a second wave of blooms in fall.  It can be in full bloom in early October.  Its blooms are formed of flat, serrated, pointed sepals, ranging from soft lavender pink to light blue, with varied colors often occurring on the same plant, and even within the same bloom.  This plant has bloomed very well for me in an exposed location, without any extra pruning or mulching.  It’s a great selection for the North, except maybe for its lack of blooms in August and September.

‘Hokkaido’ is an attractive cultivar with sky blue blooms.  It is wild-looking when young, with lanky branches reaching every which way, but grows into a shrub of fine form.

‘Miranda’ is one of my favorite serrata cultivars.  Its blooms are very dome shaped and its rounded sepals take on a nice deep sky blue in acid soils.  It is smaller in stature, reaching only two to three feet tall and wide. 

‘Omacha’ also has very dome shaped blooms, with its fertile florets taking on a hue of rich blue and its sepals starting pure white and maturing with a pale flush of pink.

‘Purple Tiers’
also goes by ‘Miyama Yae Murasaki’.  It has beautiful blooms formed of double, steely violet sepals held up above their fertile florets.  Its sepals dry to a beautiful bright patina green.  A very beautiful selection no garden should be without.

‘Tiara’ is a serrata of immense beauty, with soft, radiant blue or pink, dome-shaped flower heads.  Its sepals are smooth and rounded, with just a hint of white at the center.  The foliage of this cultivar takes on purple tips when it is grown with more sun.  This serrata also has the deepest purple and red fall color of any I’ve seen.  Its stems even glow a bright orange-red reminiscent of red-twig dogwoods.    It forms a dense, somewhat spreading mound, about two feet tall and three feet wide.  It is best grown with a little more sun, so its fall colors can be more appreciated.

'Tokyo Delight’ is another serrata often categorized as a macrophylla.  Its larger-than-life form and vigor are more like macrophylla traits, but this cultivar has blooms and the characteristic stem-hardiness that confirm it as a serrata to me, at least.  It produces large white lacecap blooms which take on the gradual change to red as they mature and recurve.  The fertile florets appear as either pink or deep blue, depending on the pH.  It can grow over six feet tall in a sheltered location in the North as well, due to the hardiness of its stems.