Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Merritt's Beauty’

mophead hydrangea

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

If you are looking for drama in the garden 'Merritt's Beauty' is the shrub for you. In early-to-mid summer, intense, brilliant true-blue to deeply saturated rose-red flowers cover this deciduous shrub. The full and compact mophead flowers are a focal point in the summer landscape. Silver and variegated foliaged plants highlight the bright flower color. Planting in groups or drifts create a spectacular summer show. The intense colors show best in the open. Mix with variegated or silver-foliaged deciduous shrubs or perennials. Keep away from dark foliaged plants, the flowers are lost in the dark tones.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: blue

Sun/Light Exposure: light to open shade

Water Requirements: regular summer watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, variegated, gold

Great Color Partners: blue, purple, rose

Culture Notes
This hydrangea grows best in light to open shade. A location protected from hot sun will keep the foliage and flowers from prematurely fading or scorching. A rich moist to well-drained soil produces the best growth and flowering. Hydrangeas are not drought tolerant and will grow and flower more prolifically with regular summer watering. The typically acidic soils of the Pacific Northwest will cause the variable flowers to bloom with purple and blue tones. For pink flowers, add lime to raise the pH and sweeten the soil. Have a soil test done to determine the amount of lime. Changing the color can often take a few years to accomplish with more than one application of lime. Remove a few old twiggy branches to the ground yearly or prune lightly to improve the overall shape. Heavy pruning can ruin the flowering for the following year. Consult an experienced pruner or take local classes before attempting substantial pruning.