Lemon Daddy Hydrangeas: A Favorite Shade Shrub – One of my favorite bushes are hydrangeas. They come in so many varieties and are reliable, often constant bloomers. They tolerate full sun to full shade.

Lemon Daddy Hydrangeas are a perfect shade shrub for your garden. What is great about them is even when they are not blooming, the color “pops” due to the hard-to- miss lemon color or chartreuse (yellow green) foliage.

This is perfect when your shade garden could use some brightening up. The more sunlight the leaves get – the more lemony the color, the more shade – the more chartreuse.

Last year I ended up moving some Lemon Daddy’s I had planted two years ago because they got too much shade and never bloomed.

I transplanted them all to partially shady spots: one near my front door for a vibrant welcome, one near my kitchen window where I can see it, and one in the back yard near my peonies (vestiges of my sunny garden).

I actually like them so much, I bought three more as replacements for potentillas (that needed a sunnier location). The bright lemon color pops from behind the boxwood and is visible to passers by from the street.

Lemon Daddy Hydrangeas: A Favorite Shade Shrub
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Lemon Daddy Hydrangeas: A Favorite Shade Shrub

I had been watching the potentilla we planted one and a half years ago die a slow death. There simply wasn’t enough sun even though there was strong mid-day sun.

But don’t kid yourself – a full sun location is 6 hours plus – preferably from mid-day to late afternoon.

The sun-loving potentilla just didn’t work in this location. In fact I had gone through several bushes in that location with the previous residents being PJM Rhododedrons – those winter hardy, shade loving, beautiful purple flowering bushes in spring. However, they died as well.

I was thinking that there had to be something wrong and after having a soil test done, I discovered that my soil was alkaline probably due to leftover stucco construction materials in the soil around my house.

Despite amending the soil with acid when we planted the rhododendrons, I obviously didn’t add enough acid either when they were planted or on an ongoing basis. Rhododendrons, and their close cousins azaleas, are acid loving shade shrubs.

Given that there is only so much time I want to put into garden maintenance, I decided it was not worth the constant maintenance the rhododendrons would required to keep them going.

Luckily hydrangeas are very tolerant of soil pH thriving in a broad range of conditions.

When planting your new Lemon Daddys, follow standard planting instructions. You should be sure to scratch the root ball to break up the roots (a dandelion digger or cultivator will work fine for this.

This prevents the roots from continuing to grow in a tight circle and encourages them to grow freely in the soil for a healthier plant. You should dig a hole two times bigger than the root ball and when planted the root ball should be level with the ground.

Since hydrangeas like to be hydrated, be sure to amend the soil with compost or peat moss to maintain even soil moisture. Then look forward to seeing your new Lemon Daddy Hydrangeas thrive!

I am an evolving shade gardener and believe the garden is an extension of the home. I love being outside and feel that the space outside my home should be “decorated” as much as the interior space of my home is.

Shade shrubs and shade perennials are the backbone of my Midwestern garden. I invite you share my shade garden with me throughout the season.

Read More – How to Make Your Hydrangeas Produce More Flowers



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