Can hydrangeas grow in shade? Top tips for success in north-facing gardens

Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball' growing with lots of white flower heads
(Image credit: Sarah Raven © Jonathan Buckley)

Hydrangeas are highly sought-after garden plants. Their showy flowerheads bloom for months in summer, and when the colour fades out of their papery petals in autumn, the globe-shaped heads remain, serving much-appreciated interest throughout the colder months too.

There are certain conditions that are better suited to growing hydrangeas. As woodland plants, hydrangeas tend to perform well in garden landscapes with less sun exposure. Which is good news for owners of north-facing plots. But planting them in any old shady area won't guarantee you success.

Sarah Raven headshot
Sarah Raven

Sarah’s love of gardening extends to all areas, from growing cut flowers and delicious vegetables from seed, to designing stunning gardens packed full of variety, colour and scent. Always with a focus on helping the environment and biodiversity, Sarah’s gardens are havens for birds, bees and other pollinators.

Nick Hamilton headshot
Nick Hamilton

Nick's extensive gardening knowledge is the result of years of practical experience, trial and error, but also success with organic and peat-free methods. Most days, Nick can be found working at Barnsdale Gardens in his preferred "hands-on" capacity. He continues to produce exhibits that have won Gold Medals at events like Gardeners' World Live and in the Chelsea Flower Show's Great Pavilion.

Teresa Conway
Deputy editor on Homebuilding & Renovating

Teresa was part of a team that launched Easy Gardens in 2018 and worked as the Editor on this magazine. She has extensive experience writing and editing content on gardens and landscaping on brands such as Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors and Living Etc magazine. She has developed close working relationships with top landscape architects and leading industry experts, and has been exposed to an array of rich content and expertise.

In 2020 Teresa bought her first home. She and her partner worked alongside architects and builders to transform the downstairs area of her two bedroom Victorian house in north London into a usable space for her family. Along the way she learned the stresses, woes and joys of home renovation, and is now looking to her next project, landscaping the back garden.