Zorro HydrangeaHydrangea macrophylla 'Zorro'
View more from Hydrangeas
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Probiotic Root Stimulant
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Zorro'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Zorro Hydrangea is a magnificent modern variety growing to 5 feet tall, with lacecap flower clusters on black stems. New leafy stems are also black, with large dark-green leaves. The large, flat, flower heads have a circle of outer flowers that are large, and a center of many tiny flowers. In acid soils the flowers are a wonderful rich, indigo blue color, making a gorgeous display in your garden. The black stems and flat flower heads give this variety a modern, stylish look quite different, and much more weatherproof, than older mophead types. Grow it in your garden beds, as a screen or edging, or in a large tub.
Grow your Zorro Hydrangea in partial shade – morning sun only, or a north-facing position, are ideal. It will also grow in continuous light dappled shade. The soil should be rich, moist and well-drained, with plenty of organic material added, and used annually as mulch. Water regularly during summer. Usually free of pests or diseases, this variety needs very little pruning – just dead-head back to the first buds in fall, and remove any weak stems in spring.
If you like hydrangeas you are going to love the Zorro Hydrangea. This wonderful garden shrub is big and bold, and its foliage is striking, with large, dark-green leaves carried on jet black stems – a super-dramatic look. The big bold flower heads are flat and very weather-resistant, so no need to run out and salvage your flattened bushes after every rainstorm. This is a lacecap variety, with broad, flat heads with an outer ring of large flowers and an inner group of many tiny flowers. It has a modern, vibrant appeal that gets away from the traditional look of mophead varieties – lovely, but many people see them as old-fashioned. For a young, modern, low-maintenance garden, lacecaps are the way to go. You will love this bush for its look, and even more so for its amazing indigo-blue flower color, which lasts and lasts, from mid-summer right into fall. The flower stems are also black, adding even more drama to the wonderful look. This variety flowers only on older stems, so for cooler areas check out our current collection of repeat blooming hydrangeas that bloom in cold zones. If you live in warm zones, read on for more on this wonderful bush.
The Zorro Hydrangea is a full, rounded deciduous shrub, reaching 4 to 5 feet tall and wide, with many branches from the base. It remains leafy to the ground, sending up new stems from the base regularly. The leaves are large and attractive, giving this plant a bold look even when not in bloom. The leaves are about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, with a heavy, wrinkled texture and a rich dark-green color. They turn yellow and red in fall.
Flowers develop at the end of stems of the previous year, and they expand slowly, until by mid-summer they are showing color. By then they will be about 5 inches across, spreading out into a flattened cluster of many blooms. Each cluster consists of two flower types – large, 4-petalled florets, up to 15 in total, and many tiny blooms, mostly in the center of the flower cluster. Like the leafy stems, the flower stems are also glossy black, creating a very striking appearance. Both types of flowers are colored brilliant indigo blue, with the large florets colored a little lighter than the central ones, giving great color depth. The best blue colors happen when you grow this plant in acid soil. In neutral soils the color will be more purple, becoming pinky-purple in alkaline soils. Flowers remain attractive for many weeks, becoming greenish, but still attractive, by early fall.
With its bold look and flowering as it does through summer, the Zorro Hydrangea is perfect for garden beds anywhere in your garden. It makes a beautiful screen against a wall or fence, or as a tall edging along a driveway or path. Plant it beneath large trees, or in a woodland, or grow it among evergreens around your home. It can also be grown in large tubs, where, with suitable soil and care, it can be guaranteed to have intensely-blue flowers.
The Zorro Hydrangea is best grown in warmer zones, from zone 6 to zone 9, as it only flowers on older stems that have lived through the winter months.
Plant your Zorro Hydrangeas in partial shade – morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. The shade at the foot of a north-facing wall or fence is also a good location, or beneath tall deciduous trees, in light dappled shade. The soil should be rich, moist and well-drained. For the best blue colors the soil should be acidic, but growth is good in soils of any pH. This plant is not drought resistant and should be watered regularly during the summer months.
It is easy to grow the Zorro Hydrangea, because it is vigorous and usually free of pests or diseases. Mulch each spring with rich organic material – preferably lime-free if you want blue flowers – and water regularly. Very little pruning is needed. Remove the dead flower heads in fall, back to the first pair of buds on the stem. Remove any broken, dead or weak branches in spring. Old plants can have a few of the oldest stems removed close to the ground, back to where younger stems have sprouted.
The big-leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, was introduced into Europe and North America in the 19th century, mostly as plants already selected by Japanese and Chinese nurseries. Both mophead – with large blooms in rounded heads – and lacecap – with large and small blooms mixed in flat heads – have been grown since then, but most of the lacecap types were developed last century. A major breeder of them was The Federal Research Institute for Horticulture, in the castle of Wädenswil, Switzerland. There, between 1952 and 1987 they developed a series of 26 new lacecap varieties from a first cross between a mophead and wild lacecap plant. One of the outstanding plants they created is called ‘Blaumeise’, which was released in 1979. In 2001 André van Zoest, at his nursery in Reeuwijk, the Netherlands, found a unique plant among a crop of ‘Blaumweise’ that had distinctive black stems. He named it ‘Zorro’, and in 2005 he was given European Breeders Rights for it. It was a founding plant in his nursery’s Royalty Collection® brand of outdoor hydrangeas.
This wonderful hydrangea received the Award of Garden Merit in 2012, from the famous Royal Horticultural Society in England, a true stamp of approval and quality for garden growing. The demand for top-quality hydrangeas – especially blue ones – is always high, so we know these superb plants will soon be gone – order now.