Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea:
Meet the New Dark Leaf Rock Star

Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea with cranberry blooms in the garden

Meet Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea, the first true dark-leaf mophead hydrangea, and the newest Rock Star to join the First Editions® collection. With dark purple, almost black leaves, Eclipse® is sure to make an impact in your garden all season long. This new dark-leaf hydrangea will change how you think about and use hydrangeas. Say goodbye to the old way of thinking about hydrangeas and say hello to an Eclipse® worth staring at!


close up of the dark purple, almost black leaves on Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

The Dark Leaves!

The dark leaves on Eclipse® are as impressive in the garden as they are in the plant world. Eclipse® is the first mophead hydrangea to have dark leaves that will come back just as dark next season. The team at First Editions® worked on Eclipse® for over eight years to select, trial, and test Eclipse® to ensure that was the case, even for warm climate gardeners where other dark leaf hydrangeas can start to go green. All the history and effort behind Eclipse® means you can confidently use this plant in your garden, knowing that you get to enjoy dark leaves year after year.

cranberry hydrangea flowers on Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

The Hydrangea Flowers!

While the leaves are quite a sight, you can’t forget about the hydrangea flowers! Eclipse® has spectacular cranberry or amethyst-colored blooms that provide fantastic contrast to the dark leaves. Like other Hydrangea macrophylla, the color of the flowers depends on the soil pH. But in general, Eclipse® hydrangeas grown in alkaline soils will have cranberry flowers, while those grown in acidic soils will have amethyst flowers. Eclipse® is also a reblooming hydrangea, so you can enjoy a garden full of hydrangea blooms throughout the season.

Eclipse®: It’s All in the Details

Mature Height: 3-5 feet
Mature Width: 3-5 feet
Sun Exposure: Morning sun, afternoon shade
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Heat Zone: 9
Shape: Mounded
Leaf Color: Dark purple, almost black
Bloom Color: Cranberry blooms or amethyst blooms, depending on the soil pH

Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea in the garden surrounded by other plants

How to Plant Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea

Are you ready to plant Eclipse® hydrangea in your space? Watch our video on how to plant shrubs or follow these four easy steps to plant like a pro!

Step 1: Pick Your Spot

The first step is picking out the spot where you’ll plant Eclipse®. Be sure to pick a place that will fit Eclipse® at its mature size of 3-5 feet tall and wide, receives morning sun and dappled afternoon shade, and where the soil is well-drained and rich in nutrients. If you don’t have the ideal soil type, amend your soil before planting.

Step 2: Dig the Hole

Once the spot is picked out, you can start digging in the dirt! Grab a shovel and dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the pot Eclipse® came in and deep enough so the base of where the plant meets the soil is flush with the ground.

Step 3: Place the Plant

Once the hole is big enough for Eclipse®, place the plant in the middle of the hole and fill in with soil.

Step 4: Water

Watering after planting will help Eclipse® settle into its new home. With a garden hose, give Eclipse® a good drink of water, let the water soak in, and then water it once more.

Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea planted in the garden

Hydrangea Care Tips for Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea

Need tips on how to care for Eclipse® hydrangea? We’ve got all the details on how to care for Eclipse® and keep it thriving season after season.

Sun Exposure

Plant Eclipse® in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. This mix of sun and shade will help Eclipse® thrive and keep those blooms coming.


Eclipse® does best when planted in soil that’s rich in nutrients, otherwise known as loam soil. But don’t worry if that’s not the soil you have in your garden. You can always amend your soil to get the best soil before planting. To learn more about soil types and how to amend your soil, read our blog on the best soil for shrubs.


Bigleaf hydrangeas love water, but they do not love being overwatered. Read our blog all about how to water shrubs and follow these tips when watering Eclipse®:

  • Before watering, always check the soil and only water when the soil is drying out.
  • When the soil starts to dry, give Eclipse® a good soak at the base of the shrub and the ground underneath the entire width of stems, called the dripline. Avoid watering over the top of the plant and flowers.

While Eclipse® will naturally rebloom, applying fertilizer at key times of the year will help your hydrangea produce more blooms.

  • Pick up a bloom-boosting, slow-release, granular fertilizer at your local garden center and follow the directions on the packaging for how much to apply.
  • Apply once in early spring when you see new leafy growth and again in late June or early July to help promote the rebloom.

Eclipse® blooms on both old and new wood, so be careful how and when you prune. Follow these tips for the best results:

  • In late spring, only prune off any brown stems that didn’t survive the winter.
  • As blooms fade in the summer, feel free to deadhead. To deadhead Eclipse®, cut the faded bloom off just below the flower and above the next set of alternating leaves.
  • No matter what you do, don’t prune in the fall! Next season’s early season blooms are being set on your plant this year. If you prune in the fall, you might miss out on those first blooms.

Eclipse® is hardy to Zone 5, so it’s already equipped to survive the winter. Read our info on how to overwinter shrubs and follow these tips for how to overwinter Eclipse®:

  • For those in cold climates, continue watering until a hard freeze. Add winter protection around the base of the shrub, like oak leaves, mulch, or pine needles. Adding winter protection is especially important for newly planted Eclipse®.
  • If you live in a warm climate that doesn’t see much, or any snowfall and winter rain, give your plants a little water throughout the winter if they start looking dry.

Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea planted in a decorative pot sitting in the garden

How to Care for Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea in Pots

Eclipse® can also be used in pots to bring dramatic color to your front entry, patio, or porch. Follow these hydrangea care tips to care for Eclipse® planted in containers.

How to Plant in Pots

Watch our video on how to plant shrubs in containers for all the details, and be sure to follow these steps when planting Eclipse® in a pot:

  • Plant Eclipse® in a pot that is at least larger than the one it came in and has drainage holes in the bottom. A container around 15-18 inches wide should do the trick.
  • Use potting mix to fill up the pot and place Eclipse® in the center. Make sure the soil line is a couple of inches below the top of the pot.
  • Once placed, fill up the sides with potting soil so the soil lines match.
  • Finally, use a garden hose to water at the base of the plant, let the water drain through, and soak it once more.
Watering Pots

Shrubs in containers tend to dry out quicker than those planted in the ground. You want to check the soil in your pots regularly and water when it starts to dry out. When it’s time to water, don’t do so over the top of the plant and blooms. Instead, water at the base of the shrub and give it a good soak.

Overwintering Pots

Did you know that you can overwinter the Eclipse® you have planted in decorative pots and save for next season? Learn all about how by watching our video on how to overwinter pots or by following these steps in the fall:

  • If you can move the pot, place it in an unheated, protected space like a garage or shed.
  • If the pot is too large to move, apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant and wrap the sides of the pot in a blanket.
  • Continue to water your container Eclipse® throughout the winter. It will only need about a cup of water a month to keep it hydrated.
  • Once you’re past the last frost the following spring, move it back outside or remove the winter protection.

Eclipse bigleaf hydrangea planted by other dark-leaf plants

Total Eclipse® of the Yard

Maturing at 3-5 feet tall and wide, Eclipse® is bound to make an impact in the landscape no matter how it’s used. Check out these ideas for using this dark-leaf hydrangea in your space.

Gardening in Dark Mode

Get ready to turn your garden to dark mode with Eclipse®! A hot garden trend for 2024 is using dark-hued plants in the garden. What better way to jump on this trend than by gardening with Eclipse®? Whether you treat Eclipse® as a dark leaf hero or create a moody monochromatic garden, there are tons of ways you can bring this trend into your space. Need an idea of where to start? Here are two ways to turn your garden to dark mode with Eclipse®:

  • Treat Eclipse® as a dark leaf hero by surrounding it with bright plants like Iceberg Alley® Sageleaf Willow and Amber Jubilee Ninebark.
  • Pair Eclipse® with other dark-hued plants like Northern Exposure Black Coral Bells and Bleeding Hearts False Sunflower to create a moody monochromatic garden.

Check out our blog to learn even more about how to use dark leaf plants in your garden design.

Plant Eclipse® in a Deco Pot

Don’t leave your front entry, patio, or porch out of the fun! Plant Eclipse® in a decorative pot to add dramatic color to other areas in your landscape. Whether you’re a small space gardener or looking to bring some dark-mode vibes to your patio, the dark purple leaves and cranberry or amethyst blooms will spice up those spaces!

Plant Combinations with First Editions® Best Buds

There are countless ways you can use Eclipse® in the garden. To get your ideas flowing, here are our top plant companion ideas, what we call First Editions® Best Buds. These plants are all in the First Editions® collection and will make designing a garden with Eclipse® a breeze!



illustration showing Parkland Pillar Birch next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Parkland Pillar® Birch
Zones 5-7

Looking for a vertical accent? This tree will do that while contrasting the dark leaves on Eclipse® from summer through fall.

illustration showing Cobalt-n-Gold Hypericum next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Cobalt-n-Gold Hypericum
Zones 5-7

The finely textured blue-green foliage and yellow flowers will shine bright against the dark leaves on Eclipse®.

illustration showing Tiger Eyes Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac
Zone 5-8

Are you looking for a sharp color contrast? The chartreuse leaves in summer and orange leaves in fall will do just that!

illustration showing Little Spark Spirea next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Little Spark® Spirea
Zones 5-8

Compact and bursting with yellow and pink, this spirea will make the dark hues from Eclipse® stand out.

illustration showing Fiber Optics Buttonbush next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Fiber Optics® Buttonbush
Zones 5-9

This large shrub features a unique texture and interesting blooms that will pair gorgeously with the flowers on Eclipse®.

illustration showing Centennial Star Blush Magnolia next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Centennial Blush Star Magnolia
Zones 5-9

The early season pink blooms add seasonal interest, echoing the subsequent cranberry blooms on Eclipse®.

illustration showing Cinnamon Girl Distylium next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Cinnamon Girl® Distylium
Zones 7-9

This low-growing evergreen has plum-purple new growth, which will look amazing with the dark purple leaves on Eclipse®.

illustration showing Double Mint Gardenia next to Eclipse Bigleaf Hydrangea

Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea +
Double Mint Gardenia
Zones 7-9

Add contrast to the dark leaves and blooms on Eclipse® with this shrub that features fragrant, reblooming white flowers.

How to Shop for Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea

Ready to use this dark-leaf hydrangea in your space? Eclipse® will be available to buy online and retail garden centers starting in 2024. Purchase Eclipse® online during our shipping season or use our Find a Retailer tool to locate a garden center near you that sells First Editions® plants. Be sure to call your local garden center and ask when Eclipse® will be available so you can mark the date.

Start Gardening with Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea

We can’t wait to see you have fun with Eclipse®! Share your experiences by posting a photo of your plant on social with the hashtag #TotalEclipseoftheYard. And be sure to follow First Editions® Shrubs & Trees on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube for tips and inspiration throughout the year. And sign up for the monthly First Editions® newsletter. We can’t wait to see you transform your space with Eclipse®!


close up of cranberry flower on Eclipse bigleaf hydrangea

Frequently Asked Questions About Eclipse®

Q: Where should I plant Eclipse®?

A: Eclipse® will perform the best when planted in a spot that receives morning sun and dappled afternoon shade and in soil that is well-drained and rich in nutrients.

Q: When should I prune Eclipse®?

A: Eclipse® is a reblooming hydrangea, so we recommend very little to no pruning to get the most bloom power. The only time to prune Eclipse® is in early spring when new leaves emerge and only prune off the brown stems that didn’t survive winter. Throughout the summer, stopping in mid-fall, you can deadhead fading flowers by cutting the bloom off just below the flower and above the next set of alternating leaves. Most importantly, NEVER prune Eclipse® in the fall. If you prune in the fall, you might miss out on next year’s early-season blooms. So, make it easy and put the pruners away in the fall.

Q: Where can I buy Eclipse® hydrangeas?

A: You can buy Eclipse® at one of many First Editions® retailers or online during our shipping season.

Q: I have a question about my specific Eclipse® hydrangea. Is there anyone I can reach out to?

A: We’re always happy to help answer your gardening questions. Browse through our Inspiration & Resources page for tons of planting, care, and inspirational information. Or, reach out to us on our Contact Us page.