Hydrangea "Lady in Red"

This hydrangea was released in 2005 by the esteemed Michael Dirr of the University of Georgia. The name pays homage to the foliage of the plant rather than the flowers (although red blooms can be produced in soils not acidic). The unique foliage makes this hydrangea truly unique and quite spectacular. Red stems and red-veined leaves appear in the spring and as autumn approaches, the leaves turn a rich maroon/purple. It is described as being mildew resistant and hardy to zone 5 with winter protection.

For me, this hydrangea has been one of the most robust growers in our garden. Planted in a bed with five other hydrangeas, "Lady in Red" left them in the dust, quickly attaining a height of 4' and an equal spread. At this writing, it is already that height but the plant habit is neat and compact and is quite attractive in the landscape.

The blooms are the lacecap type and it is a strong bloomer.

The only thing I don't like about this hydrangea - every time I think about it, that schmaltzy 80s song with the same title starts playing in my head.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Hi Phillip. Now I have that schmaltzy song running thru my head:)

    It is a beautiful shrub. I've mired the variegated foliage but this is a first for redish tinted leaves.

    I will definitely check this one out. It may actually do well enough in my area with some protection. Especially if it is a strong grower and able to recover quickly from winter damage.

  2. My neighbor has this one. I can't wait to see it bloom. She got it last year. ...is dancing with me...

  3. La dame en rouge danse avec moi.

    I had to learn that stupid song in French. So thanks for bringing that scorched memory back to my brain.

    Lovely hydrangea though. You've got some nice ones. I have a simple variegated one from cuttings and a Forever and Ever. Last year I rooted 10 cuttings from a very old hydrangea with the deepest purple blooms I've ever seen. I doubt my soil will give me that color, and I'll have to wait until next year to see it bloom. I love the red stems on this one.

  4. I love the looks of the red stems on this one. I will have to check it out for my zone. Just as if I needed another hydrangea but I do love them. It should be a beauty with the fall colors changing its leaves to deep red. The blooms on your does have a touch of red on the edges of the petals. It is a pretty one.

  5. The red stems are quite unique looking. I have a lacecap, don't think the stems are red, should pay closer attention.

  6. Definitely a Lady, but in red???

    Now I, like many others have that cheesy song in my head. It's like the bad smooch record at the end of an 80's disco

  7. This one is a winner for us as well, Phillip. It is blooming for the first time ever this year after the zapping of late frost in 2007, then drought the next then it was moved. It has grown so large very quickly and is covered in blue flowers. The foliage is fabulous. We cannot get a photo of how blue the flowers really are. You have done an admirable job of that. Kudos!

  8. It's interesting to see how blue your flowers are compared to mine. My Lady in Red definitely has pink blooms. I found that it's grown considerably in a short amount of time as well. In fact, I'm going to have to move it or the camellia that's near it very soon.

  9. I have this hydrangea and it dies to the ground every winter and I always wonder if it's coming back.
    Zone 5...

  10. Now Phillip! That song reminds me of my 1988 prom and big hair! LOL I have lady in red and the only complaint I have about her is she sulks and wilts if she's thirsty (which is alot!) I have had her 3 years and got my first blooms this year.

  11. I'm so jealous! I've had my 'Lady in Red' since 2005. It just sits there about 1.5 feet tall looking sad and NEVER has flowers. All my other hydrangeas bloom - but not L.I.R. --- It makes me a Lady in Waiting!!! ;)


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