Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lady in Red' is one of my favorite hydrangeas. It is a low maintenance shrub and has several noteworthy characteristics.
Its blue-green foliage has distinctive red veins and stems, and they are stunning when backlit by the sun.
Blooming in late spring, the lace cap flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. They open pinkish white to bluish white, depending on the soil ph, with the blue flowers blooming in more acid soil. The 'Lady in Red' hydrangeas in my woodland garden are located in an area with rich, sweet soil. The black earth here is one of the main things that prompted me years ago to develop a garden in this area. (If you want to read the story of the making of my woodland garden, click here.) The flowers on these shrubs are pink. I have more Lady in Reds on the other side of the property, where the soil is more acidic, and their flowers are blue. All of the flowers will change to rose or burgundy as they mature. Beautiful!
'Lady in Red' will grow about three to five feet tall and wide, and they look great grouped together or with other woodland plants. They should be planted in partial shade in moist, well drained soil in zones 6-9. Avoid hot summer sun and keep watered during dry spells. We had a drought a couple years ago, and hauling buckets of water down into the woods to keep them watered was a chore! But it was worth it, for they are mildew resistant and generally easy care plants. They don't require much fertilizer, maybe just once in early spring with an all purpose fertilizer. Because of the nice mounding habit, pruning is optional. However, any pruning for shaping should be done after flowering and before July to August, since new flower buds are set on old wood.
The lovely leaves of 'Lady in Red' turn shades of reddish-purple in the fall, stretching enjoyment of this great shrub well into three seasons.
My 'Lady in Red' hydrangeas are so beautiful this year I want to plant some more!
You may also like my previous post Oakleaf Hydrangea for All Seasons.