The Mophead Hydrangea – Discover Why It’s The Most Popular Hydrangea

mophehad hydrangea

Mophead hydrangeas are a beautiful variety of bigleaf hydrangeas. This is the most common hydrangea to see in a garden, because of it’s spectacular flowers and colors, and the ability to change the flower colors.

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With the right circumstances, will be covered in their giant flower heads from summer until autumn.

As this is a bigleaf hydrangea, it will be distinguishable not only from the flower head, but also from the large leaves that grow to about 6 inches long.

Why’s It Called The Mophead Hydrangea?

This hydrangea is likely named after the look of the flower heads, which do resemble a mop slightly being so full with flowers. This is also called the gardeners hydrangea, because of how common it is to see this hydrangea in a garden.

white hydrangea
Image by pixel1 from Pixabay

One variety of this mophead hydrangea is the snowball hydrangea, because it’s white flower heads resemble summertime snowballs.


hydrangea bushes

The mophead hydrangea can grow up to about 6 feet tall, depending on the variety. This shrub will be covered in flower heads, which can be up to 10 inches across, making them stunning and primarily covered in flowers.

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Water Requirements

Almost all hydrangeas have about the same water requirements, which is they like to stay moist but not soggy. They prefer almost humid environments to dry areas, and don’t want to be in too much hot and dry weather.

These hydrangeas won’t need to be watered in the winter, but will need to be watered in the spring and summer.

Soil & Nutrient Needs

Be sure to use a well-draining soil to keep the roots from getting soggy and rotting. If you want to use compost, use it as a fresh top layer to the soil.

In general, hydrangeas prefer a slightly acidic soil, but this can vary depending on the flower color you’d prefer!

Fertilize this mophead hydrangea in the spring with a phosphorous fertilizer to help ensure beautiful blooms throughout the season.

Color Varieties

pink and blue hydrangeas

The mophead hydrangea might be one of the most popular varieties because of the beautiful colors options of the flower heads. The best part about this type of hydrangea is that most of them can change color from pink to blue in every shade depending on the pH of the soil.

In a controlled environment (like a dwarf hydrangea in a pot) it’s almost possible to choose what hue the flowers will bloom depending on the pH of the soil, but in general a more neutral pH will give off pink flowers, and an acidic soil will create blue flowers, around a pH of 5.5.

Sun Requirements

Most hydrangeas prefer part sun/part shade, and the mophead hydrangea is no exception! It will wilt under the hot summer sun, so try to aim for a spot that is shaded in the afternoons, while still getting around 6 hours of sunlight.

This is a slightly picky plant when it comes to sun requirements, as if it’s in too much shade, won’t bloom or have as many blooms. (Read other reasons why your hydrangea isn’t blooming here.)

If you realize after a season that the spot you’ve planted your hydrangea in isn’t optimal, you can transplant your hydrangea. Just be sure to wait until it’s done blooming for the most success and then it will be able to flower the next year!


hydrangea in winter
Image by Pat_Scrap from Pixabay

This is a big leaf hydrangea which is part of the old wood hydrangea types. This means that the hydrangea only grows flowers on wood that has already been there from the previous blooming season, and not on new growth of the plant.

What this means for pruning is that the most pruning you need to do is to deadhead the flowers! Simply once the flowers are dying, cut them off the main branch at the end of their stem. Not only will this allow the hydrangea to bloom more throughout the season, but it also gets it ready for the next year.

Be sure to deadhead in autumn/winter, rather than waiting until spring. This is also when you want to cut off any dead branches or branches that are getting out of control.

Keep In Mind

These bigleaf hydrangeas are beautiful to grow, but will take some space. There are also different varieties of hydrangeas that may grow better in your location, like the panicle or smooth hydrangeas. These may be easier to care for too if you are having difficulty with your mophead hydrangea.

While these flowers are stunning and beautiful, all parts of this plant are poisonous to humans and pets when ingested so take care when planting them if you have young children or pets that like to eat plants.

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