Ryan Gainey

Product Code: hryan

Hydrangea arborescens 'Ryan Gainey'
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The Ryan Gainey Hydrangea is a wonderful addition to your shade garden. Masses of large, flat-topped, white flowers up to 4" wide grace this fine shrub. Strong stems will hold the flowers upright from July into the winter as the flowers dry and remain on the plant, which creates wonderful winter interest. This Hydrangea prefers morning sun and afternoon shade, and additional moisture when dry. Clear yellow fall color on a plant that only grows 3½' tall and wide. A nice, more compact selection of smooth Hydrangea, and hard to find. Best if planted in zone 4.

Planting & Care for Hydrangea Plants/Shrubs


  • These shrubs need damp soil high in organic matter.
  • Improve poor soil areas by digging in plenty of well-decayed manure or compost a few month ahead of planting
  • Hydrangeas can be planted March-November.
  • Pick a spot that has dappled sunlight or morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • Make sure they are sheltered from frosty winds, which will damage blossoms.
  • Hydrangea macrophylla - varieties are reliable seaside plants for relatively frost-free areas.

Opening Plant Material

  • Completely saturate all container plants by putting in a larger container of water until stops bubbling, then remove the plant from the container. 


  • Hydrangeas can be planted March-November. 
  • Dig a hole no deeper than the depth of the container and 6" or more wider on the sides.
  • Slide plant from pot by tapping on the bottom of the pot.
  • With shovel or knife trim bottom 2" off of the root ball for plants in plastic containers.
  • Rotate the plant to the proper position. Never lift or move plants by the tops.
  • Place the root ball in the hole.
  • Adjust the plant height so the root crown is slightly higher than the ground.
  • Place fertilizer packets into the bottom of the hole (if purchased). *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer
  • Backfill the hole with soil, making sure the top of the root ball is visible and slightly higher than the soil around it.
  • Firm the soil around the plant. Water well to settle soil around the root ball.
  • Water frequently when newly planted. 
  • Mulch plants with well-rotted organic matter after planting. 

Pruning - After Planting

  • Although it is not essential for container plants to be pruned after planting, a light pruning to remove any broken branches during shipment and improve shape will help the looks of your new planting.

Pruning - Through-out the Season

  • Hydrangeas can be pruned in March and April
  • With hydrangeas there are several different types and with that comes different pruning tips. 
    • Hydrangea macrophylla - Cut off spent flowers in spring and remove crowding shoots.
    • Hydrangea paniculata - Prune stems to within two buds of the base in late March.
    • Hydrangea petiolaris - Cut out unwanted shoots when flowers fade.
    • Hydrangea villosa - Remove a third of older stems in spring. 

Watering - After Planting

  • Plants typically take approximately 6 weeks to establish new roots in your soil. During this period, water plants as often as every 2-4 days at the start and at least a minimum of once per week.
  • Beyond the 6 week establishment period, water once per week, unless rains occur.

Watering - Through-out the Season

  • After the first season, plants should only be watered during extended periods without rain.
  • How do you know if your plants need water? The easiest way to tell is to touch the soil around the roots. If it is moist, there is no need to water. If it is dry, give it a good soaking with the hose end (no nozzle) watering the soil only, not the leaves.


Go to our "Plant Features & Video Tab" for more information on container plants and how to plant them. 


Handling & Planting Guidelines

Special Features & Videos on Hydrangea Plants/Shrubs

Special Plant Features & Tips

  • Plant March-November
  • Prune in March and April
  • Flowers May-October
  • Apply acidifying fertilizer like sulfate of ammonia in spring and midsummer to ensure a steady release of plant foods and encourage blue flowers
  • Cherry Explosion Hydrangea was created specifically by McKay Nursery Company
  • Make sure they are sheltered from frosty winds.
  • Excessive lime prevents chlorophyll from forming and causes leaves to yellow and die. Overcome it by applying iron chelates.
  • Depending on your soils pH levels some red hydrangea may turn purple.
  • Plant as a hedge or in a rain garden.
  • Works for mass planting and borders in the landscape. 

How to plant containers 


How to Prune Hydrangea Shrub Types


ItemApprox Weight (lbs.)Approx Base Dimensions (diameter)Approx Height
#7 Grow Bag** 35-50 14-16" 5-8'
#10 Grow Bag** 55-70 18" 6-8'
#15 Grow Bag** 65-80 22" 6-10'
#20 Grow Bag** 75-100 24" 8-12'
1 1/4" B&B** 250-500 22" for single stems, 28" for multiple stems  8-11'
1 1/2" B&B** 325-600 24" for single stems, 30" for multiple stems  10-12'
2" B&B** 500-700 28" for single stems, 32" for multiple stems 10-14'
2 1/2" B&B** 600-1000 30" for single stems, 36" for multiple stems 10-15'
3" B&B** 850-1000 34"-36"  12-16'
3 1/2" B&B** 1000 36"  12-18'
10' B&B** 250 22"  10'
12' B&B** 325 24"  12'
14' B&B** 500 28" 14'
16' B&B** 600 30"  16'
2' B&B** 50 12-16"  2'
3' B&B** 60-250 16-22"  3'
4' B&B** 250 22-24" 4'
5' B&B** 325 22-24"  5'
6' B&B** 150-325 16-24" 6'
7' B&B** 500-700 28-32"  7'
8' B&B** 600-700 14-30"  8'
9' B&B** 700 32"  9'
#3 container* Less than 35  10" 10" 
#5 container** 40 11" 10.5" 
#7 container** 60 14" 12" 
#10 container** 80 14" 14 
#20 container** 160 19.5" 17" 
Bare Root* varies, but always lighter no soil on roots varies depending on item

*#1 - #3 containers and bare root are the only items that can be shipped FedEx and/or by our delivery trucks (see below for more information regarding pick-up and local delivery. 

**Any items over 100 Ibs., #5 - #20 containers or B&B can only be delivered by our trucks due to FedEx shipping weight and size restrictions. Our trusted trucks only deliver around a 100 miles radius from our corporate office in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Any item you order can be picked-up at our corporate office in Waterloo, Wisconsin or our new retail garden center Winterland Nursery for free (bare root orders cannot be picked up at Winterland due to lack of bare root coolers). See our estimated delivery schedule here

Growing Zones: 4-8

Bloom Time: July-September
Color: Green, White
Plant Size: 3.5' feet tall & wide
Flower Color: White
Sunlight: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Low Maintenance: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Attracts Butterflies: Yes
Attracts Bees: Yes
Attracts Birds: No
Edible: No
Native: No

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