Lacecap Hydrangeas

“Lacecap Hydrangeas”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

When we moved into our home many years ago, the first neighbors we met were an elderly couple who lived across the street.  After we got to know them, they shared many of their plants that they had propagated with me.  They had a large wooded lot filled with azaleas, pine trees, and hydrangeas.  However,  they were not the hydrangeas I was used to seeing.  I had always thought that hydrangeas were the French or mophead types.  Percy and Ethel grew the lacecap ones.   They had huge bushes of them all around their back property line.  They grew pink, blue and the variegated foliage type lacecaps. 

This is one of Percy’s lacecaps.  After Percy and Ethel passed away, the new owners ripped out all the hydrangeas and azaleas for new landscaping.   They just dumped them in the back of the empty lot next door, and when I saw this, I had to rescue those poor plants.  Luckily, it was in early spring, and they transplanted well.  These shrubs now are filling in a large area of my back garden.  I have propagated them and given away cuttings to friends and family.  Now, Percy’s lacecap hydrangeas are in Virginia, Destrehan, Metaire, and Mandeville, LA.  I know he would be pleased.

Another lacecap I have is from my sister.  It is white and has become quite large.  This, too, I have propagated and given away.  This striking shrub always elicts comments when in bloom.

Lacecaps with their flat, round flower heads are a great addition to a garden.  I also grow the oakleaf and mophead types.  If you cut the flowers of any hydrangea for indoor use, submerge them completely in cool water for about an hour and then place in a water filled vase.  If you do not do this, the flowers quickly wilt.  But by conditioning them, they will last for days.  If they start to wilt in the vase, submerge them again, and they will revive.  I love having arrangements of them in my dining room.  It reminds me of Sunday dinners when I was a child.  Even just one flower makes a striking display.

Hydrangeas need morning sun and afternoon shade.  If you do not have a shady area in your garden, these plants can be grown in containers.  All they need is well drained soil and a container about 15-16 inches.  Growing them in containers gives some flexibility for placement where they can thrive.

So thanks to Percy and Ethel, I found a great plant that always reminds me of great neighbors, great gardeners, and great people.


  1. Phillip said,

    June 6, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I’ve got to get my hydrangeas photographed. They are so beautiful this year! The only plant I have more of is roses. I have an equal mix of both mopheads and lacecaps. I don’t think I can choose a favorite among the two. The mopheads are more showy but I love the understated elegance of the lacecaps.

  2. eve said,

    June 6, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Wow! I live next door to you in Gulfport MS and I have never heard of lacecaps….I am going to see if I can find some around here. Those look incredibly healthy. I have a place behind my shed that gets lots of Sunshine in the morning but shade in the afternoon…I think they would look great there. : )

  3. Jan said,

    June 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Phillip, I agree with you about not being able to choose a favorite among mopheads or lacecaps. I can’t wait to see photos of your hydrangeas – I’m sure they are gorgeous as is everything else in your garden.

    Eve, thanks for stopping by. That sounds like the perfect place to plant hydrangeas. You might want to mix the two types. I have both side by side in the back garden and just mopheads in one area in the side garden, and just lacecaps on the other side.

  4. June 7, 2008 at 2:17 am

    The lacecaps are lovely but your story is lovelier. I’m glad you were able to save a bit of Percy and Ethel’s garden and pass their legacy on to others.

  5. Jan said,

    June 7, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    It is nice to remember such great neighbors with these plants. I hope someday, I’ll be remembered the same way, as a person who shared a love of plants and gardening.

  6. riihele said,

    October 19, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Hei there

    Hydrangeas are absolutely gorgeous plants.
    Good stuff that you rescued them.
    Keep so well and safe.

  7. Jan said,

    October 19, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Riihele, hydrangeas must be my favorite flowering shrub, and I have a great many of them all over our property. I am glad that I was able to rescue Percy’s plants. It would have been such a shame for those big plants to just be tossed out when they still had so much life left.

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