The already varied and very garden worthy Hydrangea genus has recently had a few additions, with quirky Dichroa & Deinanthe, along with the climbers Pileostegia and Schizophragma, being reclassified into this genus. The traditional hydrangeas are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or climbers, with flowers often in large, colourful clusters. The true flowers, are normally quite small, but surrounded large sterile flowers, which give them a very showy feel. Generally flowering in late summer, into autumn and preferring some shade. The cultivated mophead and lacecaps (H. macrophylla) do not like very dry spots and will indicate this by wilting, but some extra watering or siting in a spot with more moisture will help.
The most familiar hydrangeas of all, the mop-heads, are of very limited value to wildlife as all of their flowers have been bred into the showy but sterile form, lacking nectar and pollen. However those with the fertile flowers, lace-cap cultivars and all species forms, attract bees, hoverflies and butterflies, often in some abundance. H. macrophylla is become increasingly established in the wild in the warmer parts of the country, and steps should therefore be taken to limit their spread outside of cultivation. The climbing hydrangeas can provide good shelter and nesting sites for smaller birds.