Lacecap Hydrangea: What Makes This Hydrangea Special And How To Care For It?

lacecap hydrangea

The lacecap hydrangea is one of the common bigleaf hydrangea varieties! It is easily distinguishable by it’s small flower cluster in the center of the flower head. If you’re trying to bring bees to your garden or grow plants to help the bees, choose this hydrangea variety.

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Those tiny leaves in the center are fertile, and what the bees are attracted to. Many other hydrangea varieties only have sterile flowers, which bees won’t go for. These sterile flowers are the ones on the edge of is lacecap hydrangea flowerhead, that look similar to the other types’ flowers.

lacecap hydrangea with a bee
Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

This is a popular hydrangea variety that has a slightly different flower head than what is normally thought of as having smaller flowers in the center instead of the same flowers all around.

This lacecap hydrangea grows on old wood, and is a French hydrangea variety, with large leaves that also make it easy to identify even when not flowering.

Why’s It Called Lacecap?

white lacecap hydrangea

This hydrangea is called lacecap because of how the flower head looks. There are large flowers around the head, and then smaller flowers in the center looking like small caps. These central flowers don’t really look like traditional flowers.

The combination of these flowers give it a lacy look, which is where the name comes from!

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Water Requirements

hydrangea leaves with water
Image by sjfortner from Pixabay

These shrubs do prefer wet conditions, but not too wet, as they can be set to root rot. They usually don’t need to be watered in the winter while dormant, but will need more water in the spring and summer.

If you live in the desert or in another dry climate, these might not be the plants for you to grow as they will take a lot of extra waterings so they don’t wilt in the dry heat.

Soil Needs

Try to have the soil at neutral or acidic (read below for more information). They also need well draining soil. If using a compost, add a small layer to the top soil.

Fertilize with phosphorous in early spring and potentially summer for a healthy plant and to ensure the flowers bloom spectacularly.

pink lacecap hydrangea
Image from Pixabay

Color Varieties

As this is one of the bigleaf hydrangea varieties, so there are some types of this lacecap hydrangea that will change color depending on the pH of the soil! If the soil is acidic, then the flowers will be blue, and if the soil is neutral the flowers will be pink. Read more about that in French hydrangeas!

white hydrangea
Image by Jana from Pixabay

Keep in mind that there are varieties that are just white, and these will not change color.

Sun Requirements

Hydrangeas in general like about 6 hours of sun a day in the summer, and these lacecap are no exception. If they get too few hours of sun a day, there is a chance they won’t bloom, or will have fewer flower heads than you’d normally expect from a hydrangea shrub.

Size & Pruning

The lacecap hydrangea can grow up to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety.

lacecap hydrangea in winter
Image by birgl from Pixabay

The most pruning that this lacecap hydrangea needs is to have the flowers deadheaded once they have finished blooming. Cut down to the end of the flower stem. This will encourage more flowers throughout the season as well as preparation for next year.

If this shrub gets pruned more than this, it could potentially not bloom the following season and take a full year to grow to be able to bloom again. This is because it’s an old wood variety of hydrangea and flowers will not grow off of new growth, only growth that has been there for a while.

As this should only be deadheaded, pruning will occur in summer and autumn. If there are dead branches, cut those down at the same time. Leave this plant alone the rest of the year to keep it happy and healthy!

If the plant is not blooming much or has outgrown the space, it can be pruned further back to encourage new growth. This just may slow down the cycle of blooms.

Keep In Mind

If your lacecap hydrangea isn’t thriving for whatever reason, or you just want it to be in a different place, you can transplant your hydrangea! Just wait until it’s done blooming to move it.

Have a new hydrangea? Try to avoid planting it in the heat of the day, and follow the other ideas in transplanting hydrangeas!

This plant is prone to being eaten by deer, while also being poisonous if ingested to humans and pets, so keep that in mind when choosing a spot to grow your hydrangea!

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Looking for information specific to Colorado? Check out Naturalist Perspective!

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