Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’

mophead hydrangea

  • © Missouri Botanical Garden Kemper Center PlantFinder/www.mobot.org

Outstanding Qualities

An old standard of the garden, 'Nikko Blue' has withstood the test of time. This prolifically flowering deciduous shrub is covered with powder-blue to lavender-blue or pale pink flowers starting in early to mid summer. Mix with rhododendrons and azaleas to provide summer color. The lush foliage of hostas and ferns are perfect complements. Try mixing with variegated and silver foliaged plants to play off the blues and pinks.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 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: lavender

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.