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Hydrangea 'Lady in Red'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lady in Red' is one of my favorite hydrangeas. It is a low maintenance shrub and has several noteworthy characteristics.This Lady in Red is growing in the woodland garden.

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.This fall, 2009 photo shows Lady in Red as it is developing its autumn colors.

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.

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Reader Comments (24)

Ohmigosh, I see why you love those! Gorgeous!

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiza

Lady in Red is a hydrangea I covet. Unfortunately, I'm too far north to get blooms on the macrophyllas. (sigh) It really is a beautiful plant.

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I can't imagine seeing these growing randomly in the woods. Yours are beautiful. I have been trying to add a couple of hydrangeas every year. I just moved a couple out of too much sun. I can't wait to see if they bloom well this year.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

Love those red petioles!
In fact love your garden altogether.
Hydrangeas are so atmospherioc in woods!
I think some of Englands best gardens are romantic woodland gardens and it seems to me that that is what you are doing here. Right plant right place!
Best Wishes

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

I love Hydrangeas. They look pretty all times of year. I have 2 of them, one is blue and other one that I got few weeks ago is initially red. I am waiting to see if it will keep the color or will turn to blue.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervrtlaricaana

Sadly, I am not a fan of the hydrangea. As a lad, my father encircled the lawn with them, and every time I kicked a football into them, I was immediately arrested, tried and convicted. Sentencing was swift; a beating followed by lawn duties. I had to mow ours (front and back), plus both our elderly neighbours. Then they would show their appreciation by giving my dad a beer whilst I had to write out, 5,000 times, "I must not be a twat and kick the football anywhere near the hydrangeas".

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Idiot Gardener

Hello there deb !
Thank you for visiting my blog : )
If I had the room and location a woodland garden would be my choice too ! I do the best I can with the shaded garden to make it woodsy ? LOL
Your Lady in Red is gorgeous : ) I have about 7 different hydrangea and they are all great plants .. I also have a Lady in Red but that is a fern with gorgeous red stems .. just something about those gals eh ? LOL

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

I have three Lady in Reds - got two of them as end of the season purchases at Marvin's in Pelham before they closed up. I have rooted one which is tiny. Love the blooms. Very nice photography. What kind of camera do you use - I am seeing the need to upgrade mine.


May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

You've convinced me! I must get one!

Great profile of this beautiful plant.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Bay

Your Lady in Red is gorgeous. I love the way they change colour according to the seasons and soil ph.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn belle

What a beautiful hydrangea! I always love the lace caps. This one is not quite hardy enough for me but I think I will have to search for a lace cap that is. I do have an Oakleaf hydrangea (my favorite) - it is just a baby but I hope to enjoy watching it grow. I always thought it was so cool that you could change the color of the hydrangea flowers with the soil. I am partial to the blue - beautiful.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthevioletfern

I would love one of those but I don't think its suitable for our climate - the blooms are just incredible especially that blue one with the little bee nestling in to find the nectar. great photos.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

I love hydrangea and can't believe that this one changes color as the seasons change. Thank you for sharing it with us :-)

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle / azplantlady

This is a stunning shrub, and you've profiled it beautifully. I just planted a lacecap this spring, and it immediately got frost burn, so I don't know if it will produce the lovely lacy blooms. It looks a little blackened and tattered right now, but I have hopes. Meanwhile I can look at yours!

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Very nice Debs!

I particularly love the white Hydrangeas, such a classic colour and always brightens up any shady spot :)

May 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Now that is a very lovely hydrangea, I've never heard of it before. And fall color too is a real plus! I'm growing Endless Summer hydrangea, and it's just about to start blooming for the summer. It was mostly blue last year when I planted it, but throughout the summer and fall the flowers were many shades of blue, pink, and purple. Right now, they look a bit pink, but we'll see!

May 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Hydrangeas are one of my favorites plants in the garden. I don't think I've ever seen 'Lady in Red', it's really pretty. I love when Hydrangeas have nice foliage as well as the pretty flowers.

May 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Oh my, I love the red veins, and the fall color is spectacular. With our acidic soils here, I expect the blooms would mostly be blue, and although I've never been fond of blue hydrangeas, this one is very eye-catching.

I love this hydrangea too. I planted it in a grouping with four other hydrangeas and it has left them in the dust when it comes to size and vigor.

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

Hi my first time posting. I absolutely love love hydrangeas. Is any one interested in sharing there collection. I have over 30 species of hydrageas. Many babies to share. I'm interesteed in collecting the newest.

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternannette

I would like to add to my collection the annabel invincibelle spirit. I literally have every variety. Been collecting for over 25 years. Paeonia and hydrangeas are my favs. I can provide pics.

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternannette

I bought one of these at a Home Depot here in SE Michigan because I was intrigued by the name. It did so well, blooming within a few weeks after planting that I went back at the end of the season and bought two more. That was two years ago and they have gotten bigger and more beautiful each year. I mulch them heavily with shredded leaves in the fall and there have been no issues with their hardiness in my zone 5 garden.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrish E

My mother in law thought she would help me and jacked my Lady in Red while I was away for the weekend. She even shaped it . I can’t tell where the blooms were and am worried what I should do. It’s early August and don’t want to mess the blooming process for next spring. Any advice?

August 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTami

Hi Tami,
Good news! Lady-in Red hydrangea blooms on old wood, so now is a good time to prune your Lady-in-Red. It will have time to develop new buds for next year prior to winter. If you need to correct your mother-in-law's pruning job, go ahead now, and don't tell her!
Best wishes,

August 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

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