15 Best Dwarf Hydrangea Varieties for Small Yards

15 Best Dwarf Hydrangea Varieties for Small Yards

No garden flower can hold a candle to the bloom of hydrangeas. They produce year after year with an explosion of color in the garden and can serve as the easiest centerpiece ever when cut and brought indoors (just don't forget the alum powder). “I think one of the main attractions is the big flower display that goes on for a long time,” says Rip Weaver, executive director of Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama. “Regardless of whether it is French hydrangea, oak leaf, or cluster hydrangea, they all have long-lasting flower displays and are very reliable for a good display year after year.”

While their visual appeal is undeniable, there are also many of us who are drawn to these showy blooms for more sentimental reasons, notes Georgia Clay, Monrovia's director of plant selections. “They are flowers that your mother or grandmother planted, or they remind us of places we have traveled.”

While most of us fall into one or both hydrangea camps (if not both), almost all of us can agree that we would be willing to do anything to ensure that hydrangeas find a home in our yards and porch containers, no matter their size. The space we have to work with. This is where compact or dwarf hydrangea varieties come in. Here's what you should know about the best types of mini hydrangeas you can add to your garden.

  • Rib weaver He is the executive director of Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama.
  • Georgia Clay He is the director of plant selections in Monrovia.
  • Dan Stubiello He is the manager of the live merchandise department at The Home Depot.

Compact French hydrangea varieties

Ruby Caponetto; Produced by: Mark Thompson. Design: Buffy Hargett-Miller
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Sun exposure: Partial, dappled, full shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained yet moist and organically rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.0-8.0)

“Mophead hydrangeas bloom in summer with large, delicate blue or pink flowers. Correctly called 'Mophead hydrangea' Hydrangea macrophylla (For its large leaves), it's also known as French, garden or florists' hydrangea, says Dan Stubiello, merchandise department manager for Live Goods at The Home Depot. Flowering varieties like 'Endless Summer' are also part of this category, he says.

'Long summer'

This top-to-bottom dwarf variety blooms all season long in bright, bold colors such as electric blue and bright pink, depending on soil acidity. It does well in containers with plenty of water and sun. Hardy in zones 4-9, it reaches 18-36 inches tall and wide.

“Pink Goblin”

If you're looking to add a compact French hydrangea to your garden, 'Pink Elf' is suitable for USDA zones 5-9, with partial shade and regular watering to thrive. It reaches a height of 18-24 inches.

“Seaside Serenade” Cape Hatteras

Clay also recommends the 'Seaside Serenade' Cape Hatteras hydrangea, which can reach 3.5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. “Cape Hatteras is a tetraploid variety, so it will remain compact in the landscape, with sturdy stems, thick foliage and long-lasting blooms,” she says. “Flower color is not affected by soil pH, so the bold red flowers will attract attention no matter where they are planted.”

“Heart palpitations”

For a statement effect, the dark green and red-edged blooms of the 'Heartbeat' hydrangea can't be beat. According to the Southern Living Plant Collection, it is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and its mature dimensions are 3 feet by 3 feet.

'wedding dress'

Named for the white flower head that resembles a bridal bouquet, 'Wedding Dress' features outer double flowers around a center of smaller double flowers. Flowers appear earlier than other varieties, lasting from June through September in zones 5-9. This variety remains compact and loves light shade.

“Wee bit angry”

This little hydrangea packs a big punch with an explosion of its deep blue-purple flowers during the summer. It reaches a height of 2 feet. Acidic soil produces a bright blue or purple color, while neutral or higher soil produces red or pink flowers. Grows in zones 4-9 in full or partial sun.

Compact Oakleaf hydrangea varieties

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  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Hydrangea quercifolia
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained yet moist and organically rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic (5.0-6.5)

Oakleaf hydrangeas may bring to mind the long, thick foliage and conical flowers that are best suited to large, winding yards. “Oakleaf hydrangea (H. cercifolia) It looks exactly as it sounds. “These hydrangeas have plumes of creamy white or pink flowers on stems with distinctive lobed leaves like those found on oak trees,” says Stuppiello. “Oakleaf hydrangeas are one of two species of hydrangea native to the United States and are best suited to moist woodland gardens. Or woodland edges.”

If your garden fits the bill in all but size, Clay suggests 'Ruby Slippers' oak leaf hydrangea and 'Munchkin' oak leaf hydrangea.


“The Munchkin' oakleaf hydrangea is an exceptional introduction to the U.S. National Arboretum,” says Clay. “Lots of beautiful bright white flowers that turn a beautiful pink as they age.” She recommends planting a group of them in a small garden or using them as a hedge. The fast-growing summer bloomer is best suited to USDA zones 5-9 and reaches a height of 3 to 4.5 feet.

“Ruby Slippers”

If you're looking for a bit of colour, 'Ruby Slippers' might be for you. According to Clay, they are covered in white flowers during the summer, but as they age, they turn dark pink. You'll also get a fall leaf show when the “dark green, deeply lobed, oak-like foliage turns to lustrous mahogany.” It can be grown in USDA zones 5-9 and will reach 3.5 feet tall.

“Sykes the Dwarf”

Another small hydrangea to consider is 'Sikes Dwarf'. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, it is hardy in zones 5-9 and reaches a maximum height of 2-3 feet. It also features white flowers that turn pink as they mature along with foliage that puts on a show of its own in the fall.

Compact hydrangea varieties

Gratisana/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Hydrangea paniculata
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained yet moist and organically rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.0-8.0)

Hydrangea cluster (H. paniculata) Loved for its easy-to-grow nature, it thrives in USDA zones 3-8. According to Stuppiello, 'Limelight' hydrangea, one of the most popular cultivars, can handle the scorching heat of Zone 9. “Plant hydrangeas in locations with up to six hours of sunlight per day,” he says. “Like most hydrangeas, they appreciate afternoon shade.”

“Little rapid fire”

Look for dwarf varieties that are 3 to 5 feet tall such as 'Little Quick Fire,' a dwarf bunch that proven winners say will start flowering a full month earlier than other varieties in USDA zones 3-8.

“little lime”

'Little Lime' is a great flowering season as it blooms with lime green flowers that fade to white and can turn pink as they age. This compact version of 'Limelight' grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Grow in the ground or in a container in Zones 3-8.


'Bobo' is a compact, 3-foot tall plant that proven winners say will positively overwhelm the white flowers in summer. The flowers may fade to pink. Suitable for zones 3-8, its flowers remain upright rather than drooping like other varieties.


'Bombshell' is a compact hydrangea that grows up to 3 feet tall and 4 wide, and is suitable for zones 4-8. The white flowers remain upright and turn pink with age. Abundant flowers make this a good choice for the cutting garden.

Compact soft hydrangea varieties

Lyudmila Lyudmila/Getty Images
  • Estimate the life of the Zoya: Hydrangea aborescens
  • Sun exposure: partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained but moist
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.0-8.0)

According to the Southern Living Plant Collection, smooth hydrangea (H. aporescens) It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Hydrangea Annabelle. It is native to the southern United States, which is why it is an excellent choice if you are looking for a low-maintenance hydrangea that is well suited to our climate.

“Seaside Serenade” Bar Harbor

Clay recommends the 'Seaside Serenade' Bar Harbor hydrangea if you're looking for countless white flowers but need a compact grower. “Measuring just 4 feet tall and wide, Bar Harbor roses grow on strong, sturdy stems that can handle wind and rain,” she says. “They are stunning in the landscape and make a great flower as well.” Plant in zones 3-8.

“Invisible We White”

No list of compact soft hydrangea varieties would be complete without mentioning the soft compact hydrangea 'Invincibelle Wee White'. According to proven winners, they are only 1-2.5 feet tall when mature. Its flowering season begins in summer and continues through frost, and tolerates partial sun to full sun in USDA zones 3-8.

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