Hydrangea aspera – This large species is native to eastern Asia and bears a loose lacecap-type flower (from August to September) with tiny purple fertile blooms in the center and larger sterile pale pink, mauve or white flowers on the outside edge – these attract butterflies. It has coarse hairy leaves up to 10″ long and is deciduous in nature. Grows 10′ high and wide. Hardy to zone 6.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bombshell’ – A good compact choice for those of you having trouble fitting the usually large PeeGee types in your garden. ‘Bombshell’ is well branched and floriferous, bearing pure white cone-shaped flowers (from midsummer into fall) that fade to a rosy-pink. This cultivar tolerates drought once established. Grows 30-36″ high by 3-4′ wide. Hardy to zone 3.
Hydrangea arborescens ‘INVINCIBLE Spirit’ (syn. ‘NCHA1’) – The first pink Hydrangea arborescens to be released to the gardening public, it blooms on new wood from summer right up to late fall. The rich pink flowers (6-8″ wide) emerge from dark pink buds and fade as they mature. Widely referred to as the pink ‘Annabelle’. Grows 3-4′ high and wide. Hardy to zone 3.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ (syn. ‘Snow Flake’, ‘Brido’) – The Oakleaf Hydrangea is a native of the southeast United States and has deep green oak-like leaves that shift to crimson and purple in the fall. The cone-shaped blooms are composed of double white flowers (with a green-tinged center). This species also has beautiful peeling bark. 5-8′ high by 5-10′ wide. Zone 5.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’ (syn. ‘Acuminata’, ‘Aigaku’) – This RHS Award of Garden Merit winner is the standard among Lacecap Hydrangeas with a ray of pale blue (may shift to pink in alkaline soils) sterile flowers surrounding the tiny darker blue fertile blooms in the center. Grows well in open shade and has reddish-purple autumn tones. Height and spread 4-6′. Zone 6.