Hydrangea macrophylla
Common name: 
Bigleaf Hydrangea
French Hydrangea
hi-DRAN-je-a mak-ro-FIL-ah
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf, deciduous shrub, growing to 7 ft tall with spread of 8 ft (2 × 2.5 ft) large clusters of pink or blue flowers in summer and into autumn.  Leaves are opposite, simple, orbicular to elliptic, to about 15 cm long, the margins are usually serrated, and the tip gradually tapers to a sharp point (acuminate).  The flowers are in clusters and are arranged in a plane or a hemisphere or even a whole sphere. There are two types of flowers, the central non-ornamental fertile flowers and peripheral sterile, ornamental flowers.  The petal color of the latter is pale pink, red, fuchsia, purple or blue.  Flower color is affected by soil pH.

  • Sun to part shade, best in moist, well-drained soil amended with organic matter

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6     Native to Japan and possibly Korea

  • There are hundreds of cultivars in the nursery trade, they are separated into two broad groups: mopheads (syn., hortensias) and lacecaps.  Mophead flower clusters are half or nearly fully spherical in shape, resembling pom-poms.  Lacecaps bear round, flat flower clusters which have a center core of non-ornamental, small flowers surrounded by outer rings of larger flowers having showy “petals” (botanically sepals or tepals).

  • macrophylla: Greek, makros, large, and phyllon, leaf, i.e., large leaf

  • Oregon State Univ. campus:  many around the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)

Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flower clusters and foliage

    flower clusters and foliage

  • flower cluster

    flower cluster

  • stem


  • leaves


  • plant habit, late summer

    plant habit, late summer