Hydrangeas are a prized ornamental species that is comprised of over 600 cultivars from across the world. They are professionally harvested for their fresh and dried flowers.
The impressive stature of the full-sized varieties has always been desired by top horticulturists, and dwarf hydrangea varieties are the latest trend for container gardens.
Dwarf hydrangeas display the same cherished color schemes as the larger varieties, such as hot pink with white, blue with green, and pistachio; but, some hydrangeas’ flower color is determined by the pH of the soil, with an acidic soil producing flowers that are shades of blue and alkaline soil resulting in shades of red.
Consider that then deciding which of the following 14 small hydrangeas is best for your container garden, along with the USDA hardness zone, the plant’s sun requirement, and its height at maturity.
Here are 14 compact and dwarf hydrangeas that are great for pots and containers.
1. ‘Little Lime’ Hydrangea paniculata
This beautiful dwarf version of the popular hydrangea ‘Limelight’ is a great low-maintenance addition to any garden. Flourishing from USDA hardness zones 3 to 9, this is one of the hardiest varieties, making it an ideal choice for any large container.
This variety hosts greenish summer blooms that turn a beautiful pink as they age in autumn. The flower color of this variety is not influenced by the pH of your soil.
2. ‘Mini Penny’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The gorgeous ‘Mini Penny’ hydrangea expresses the classic large mophead-style blooms that turn pink or blue, depending on the pH of your soil. Because of this varieties small size at maturity, it’s a wonderful choice for growing in containers or along borders.
This variety is quite disease and mildew resistant, making it a great low maintenance choice for any garden area.
3. ‘Paraplu’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The ‘Paraplu’ hydrangea is a true dwarf variety with a mature height of around 3 feet, which makes it excellent for growing in containers.
This variety bears showstopping doubled hot pink flowers. This variety blooms on old wood, so is it recommended to be pruned after each flowering to continue having blooms throughout the season.
4. ‘Bombshell’ Hydrangea paniculata
This quick growing ‘Bombshell’ Hydrangea is a true beauty that bears white flowers almost non-stop from summer to fall. It is a very hardy and compact variety and will grow great in a container.
The ‘Bombshell’ is typically grown in a rounded mound that only reaches 2-3′ tall. It was discovered growing in the Netherlands, in May of 2003, as a naturally occurring branch mutation on the popular full-sized ‘Grandiflora’ hydrangea.
5. ‘Monrey’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The beautiful ‘Monrey’ variety of dwarf hydrangeas have deep pink, mophead-type flowers edged in white, which is a rare color combination among the hydrangea species. It is a great choice for shaded containers or in the foreground of border areas.
It is less hardy than other varieties and needs constant soil moisture. This variety will typically bloom from July to August.
6. ‘Pistachio’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The ‘Pistachio’ hydrangea gets its name from the pistachio color of its flowers. This variety is a reblooming dwarf hydrangea that is a great addition to gardens that can accommodate larger containers.
As they age, the yellowish green flowers turn burgundy in the center, creating a spectacular array of colors. This variety’s flower color is not affected by soil pH.
7. ‘Bobo’ Hydrangea paniculata
This truly dwarf 3-foot-tall shrub shows abundant white blooms that mature to a burgundy in fall. In this variety, the color of the bloom will not be affected by the pH of your soil.
The ‘Bobo’ variety provides late summer bloom when few other shrubs are in flower, making it a great addition to a pollinator garden.
8. ‘Fire Light Tidbit’ Hydrangea paniculata
The ‘Fire Light Tidbit’ hydrangea is a dwarf version of the very popular full-size ‘Fire Light’ hydrangea.
It boasts the same showstopping mophead-style flowers that begin white in summer, turning brilliant pinks and reds by fall. It is an exceptionally hardy variety that reliably blooms even in cold climates.
This compact variety is a great choice for growing in large containers.
9. ‘Rhapsody Blue’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The dwarf ‘Rhapsody Blue’ variety comes with the classic showy mophead-style hydrangea blooms but will be either pink or blue depending on the soil’s pH.
The flowers bloom on both old and new wood, which extends the flowering season and reduces the effect of harsh winters or improper pruning.
This shrub is very compact, growing only 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, which makes it easily grown in containers, especially where winters are too cold for this variety to survive planted in the ground.
10. ‘Venice Raven’ Hydrangea macrophylla
This bigleaf ‘Venice Raven’ hydrangea variety was developed in Germany. It is extremely disease resistant and measures at only 1 to 3 feet tall at maturity, which makes this variety an ideal choice for containers.
Its rounded snowball-like flowers bloom a deep beautiful pink in the spring then turn greenish as they mature.
11. ‘Little Quick Fire’ Hydrangea paniculata
This dwarf ‘Little Quick Fire’ variety is a bigleaf hydrangea that is easily grown in larger containers. It has beautiful showy white flowers that mature to a reddish-purple in the fall.
This compact variety thrives in urban conditions, partly due to its tolerance of air pollution. The ‘Little Quick Fire’ variety will be one of the first to bloom in the early summer and will have flowers that last throughout the season.
12. ‘Rio’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The magnificent ‘Rio’ variety is another bigleaf hydrangea that is perfect for pots or containers. It is an early bloomer that produces large showy blue flowers with striking green marks that resemble eyes.
The ‘Rio’ hydrangea is a German hybrid developed for its low form and tight-growing shape. It is virtually maintenance free due to its small and compact nature and resistance to mildew.
13. Endless Summer ‘Twist-n-Shout’ Hydrangea macrophylla
Another beautiful dwarf bigleaf hydrangea, the ‘Twist-n-Shout’ variety is specifically designed for container gardening. Depending on the pH of the soil, the flowers will be either pink or blue and will turn burgundy or purple in the fall.
All Endless Summer brand plants produce flowers on both old and new growth, resulting in excellent repeat flowering throughout the summer as emphasized by the trade name.
14. Endless Summer ‘Bella Anna’ Hydrangea macrophylla
The ‘Bella Anna’ variety is another hydrangea from the Endless Summer collection, making it an excellent choice if you want new flowers all summer long.
This compact variety grows very easily in containers, is low maintenance, and will tolerate a range of soil types. It is a great choice for rain gardens or in regions with high amounts of rainfall.
These 14 dwarf and compact hydrangea varieties are a great choice for containers and pots because they are generally low maintenance, resilient in USDA hardness zones 3 to 9, and bloom beautiful showy flowers throughout the growing season.
When determining which of these hydrangea varieties is best for you, consider which USDA hardness zone that you live in, the plant’s sun requirements, the height at maturity, and of course, the color.
Remember that some of the varieties of the full sized and dwarf hydrangeas have their flower color determined by the pH of the soil. Happy planting!
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.