A disclaimer is in order here as I captured the photographs of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pia’ as the blooms began to age to this lovely dusky lavender. The blooms at their height are actually pink. Hydrangeas with colored blooms are normally blue in acidic soils and pink in alkaline. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pia’ is notable in that the flowers will stay pink even in acid soils, a rarity in hydrangeas.
Pia is a dwarf hydrangea, only reaching 2-3 feet in height/width, with mounded habit. Flowers grow to about 4″ or so. See a photograph of Pia at height of bloom at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Hardiness is zone 5-9, although in colder zones, Hydrangea macrophylla cultivars will often die to the ground in winter. Growth will resume from the root ball when spring arrives, although flowers will arrive later in the season.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pia’ prefers moist, rich soil.
Gardeners are often confused by the catch-all phrases ‘partial shade’ or ‘partial sun’. In truth, it is the time of day the sun exposure occurs that is often most important. Garden roses can survive nicely in the south with as little as a few hours of sun a day…so long as the sun occurs in the afternoon. With hydrangea, it is the opposite: avoid afternoon sun if possible, as the leaves will droop miserably. Unless the conditions are truly adverse the leaves will eventually perk up, but why stress a plant needlessly. If morning sun is provided bloom will be enhanced, although many hydrangea cultivars can bloom well in some of the darkest reaches of the garden.
Hydrangea macrophylla are at their most beautiful in the early morning or in the late afternoon shady spot, so always take extra care in selecting the planting spot.