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Thursday, June 20, 2019
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shrubs

Hydrangeas are a lovely and diverse genus, many of which have become essential parts of our garden vocabulary.
Hydrangea Group

Most of us are familiar with the "old fashioned hydrangea": hydrangea macrophylla, and mostly with it in its round headed (mob-cap) form. In England, this variety is called "mob-cap" after the rounded cap worn indoors by married women in the late 18th/early 19th century. Here in North America, they are more usually called mop heads. Having grown up in an English tradition, I found this very odd at first!!
Hydrangea Mophead

This shrub has a lot going for it: it flowers for a very long time starting in the summer when few shrubs but roses are in bloom. Unlike the rose it is equally happy in sun and in shade, though it requires more water in full sun. And, also unlike the rose, it needs no deadheading or summer pruning; the round flowers of macrophylla are lovely from the time they first appear, often in strange shades of ivory & green, slowly deepening to their ultimate colours of blue or pink, and then, as fall approaches, evolving into yet stranger colours of violet, burgundy, wine and tan. These flowers dry well, and, if you like, can be sprayed with gold for Christmas decoration!
Lacecap Hydrangea

As well as mobcaps, hydrangea macrophylla has a lacecap form. Like the dogwood, what appears to be a flower is actually a bract surrounding the true flower, which is comparatively insignificant. In the mobcap above, the bulk of the flower is made of infertile bracts. In the lacecap, the centre of the flower is made up of tiny fertile flowers with a surrounding circle of bracts, looking much like a lace doily, or old fashioned lace cap, hence the name. These plants are generally more open and graceful in appearance than the mobcaps, but have many of the same attributes.

Both kinds of hydrangeas serve a good purpose in garden design. They fit very well with rhododendrons, liking the same conditions of soil and sun, and adding garden colour at a time when rhododendrons are long over. The lacecap is particularly nice here, its grace contrasting with the bulkier shape of rhododendrons. They fit equally well with the long blooming summer & fall perennials, adding some restful substance to the border.

Pannicle Hydrangea

In addition to these two forms of H. macrophylla, hydrangea paniculata (Peegee) is a treasured garden plant. Instead of a dome, the flowers form a cone, initially white (or green) deepening to rosy red and ultimately burgundy in a way reminiscent of macrophylla, but more striking because of the size of the flower. The plant too is larger with quite a different garden effect, with strong wands growing upwards. Often grown as a standard (("tree form") it makes a terrific central feature in a frontal bed.

Macrophylla in both its forms and paniculata are those most often encountered in gardens; but there are many others: hydrangea arborescens Annabelle (a very hardy form, blooming on new wood), hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea - very handsome in woodland), hydrangea aspera (extraordinarily shade tolerant) and of course, the climbing hydrangea: hydrangea petiolaris). These are all excellent plants but more suited to a wilder sort of garden than macrophylla and paniculata.

Some well established favourites:
 

Macrophylla : first the mobcaps

Sister Theresa pure white, each flower with a pale blue eye
Nikko Blue very large turquoise, a bit floppy, but gorgeous in acid soil
Glowing Embers reliably red in any soil

Lovely Lacecaps

Blaumeise (Teller Blue) blue turning brilliant pink in basic (alkaline) soil
Kardinal (Teller Red) rich deep pink turning purple in acid soil
Libelle (Teller White) white with deep blue centre which centre turns pink in basic soil

Paniculatas

Paniculata Grandiflora (the original PeeGee) pure white flowers aging rosy pink
Limelight soft green aging to pink
Brussels Lace a rare form with flowers like a lacecap white with no colour change
Quickfire white flowers turning pinkish red
 

For more information about growing Hydrangeas, read the Learn to Grow Hydrangeas Blog Post
If you're interested in any of these beautiful Hydrangeas, drop by the nursery and check out our collection. As always the selection and availability is always changing so call ahead if you're making a special trip


Friday, May 20, 2016
Posted By: Suvan Breen in Shrubs

 

Oh the fabulous hydrangea! Of all the flowering shrubs this one has always been a show stopper but in 2016 this is not just your grandmas pink or blue hydrangea anymore.

Blue Hydrangea Flowers

I am not sure what I am more excited about, the ever blooming varieties that just go all summer or the new multi coloured flowers that change colour over their bloom time, Hydrangeas are blowing me away right now.

There are so many new varieties and colours that will make you stop in your tracks, come on into the nursery to see what we have for you.

As you may have guessed from their name, Hydrangeas love water, plant in a moist but well drained space, spring is a great time for planting, water the roots deep down to help them to establish in the garden. Once again I highly recommend soaker hoses if you do not have irrigation, this is a great way to reduce your water bill and still deep water your plants.

 

Having said that there are certain things to know about the Hydrangeas we love. Here are the top Hydrangea questions I have had over the years.

Hydrangea Types

Are There Different Types of Hydrangeas?

Yes, there are several types of Hydrangeas with flower colours ranging from white to shades of pink to blue. The classic variety is called Hydrangea macrophylla and can have either the big Mophead type flower or a flattened lacecap-like bloom. Lace cap varieties are great for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. The Mountain Hydrangea, or Hydrangea serrata typically has a white lacecap-like flower. Pannicle Hydrangeas, or Hydrangea paniculata has large white to creamy white flowers in conical shapes. Hydrangea arborescens or Smooth Hydrangeas typically have large white blooms. Finally, the Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia has attractive white flowers but also offers stunning fall foliage colour.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas

What Is An Endless Summer Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. In recent years, plant breeders have introduced new varieties that bloom on both new and old wood. They are often called “ReBloomers”. The end result is a plant the produces more flowers and blooms for longer through the season. It also makes them less vulnerable to late winter, flower bud damaging frosts. Endless Summer was the first of the group but new ones like Twist and Shout, Let's Dance Moonlight and Blushing Bride are also available. More information is available on the Endless Summer Hydrangea Website

Should I Fertilize My Hydrangea?

In most cases, yes. For established plants, feed your plant a fertilizer with a high middle number in early spring just as new growth begins. This will create larger and bigger flowers. For new plants, apply a Bonemeal into the planting hole or use a liquid transplant fertilizer when you water.

Changing Hydrangea Flower Colour

How Do I Change The Colour of My Hydrangea?

Hydrangeas react to the availability of aluminum in your soil. If you want pink flowers, add lime to your soil once a year, the lime blocks the plant from absorbing aluminum. Looking for blue flowers? Add Aluminum Sulphate in water and water the soil around your Hydrangea. Be patient, this process will take 2-3 seasons to achieve the colour switch. White flowering types do not change colour.

Where Can I Plant My Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas want morning sun and afternoon shade, with the exception of Peegees which benefit from full sun. Late afternoon sun is too strong for many Hydrangeas and can burn both the leaves and flowers. Full shade may result in a lack of blooms, make sure your hydrangea gets at least 4 hours of morning light to grow strong. A location with part sun to part shade is ideal.

Pink Hydrangea Blooms

Why Is My Hydrangea Not Blooming?

Back away from the pruners! The most common reason for no blooms is over pruning or pruning at the wrong time of year. Some Hydrangeas bloom on new growth and some bloom on old growth, if your Hydrangea is not blooming, you may have pruned the flower buds. Hydrangeas really do not require a great deal of pruning but if you are pruning there are guidelines depending on the variety you choose. Deadhead your Hydrangea to encourage repeat blooming.

Another common cause of poor blooms is an early spring cold snap. As many varieties bloom on old wood, a late frost can damage the flower buds.

Your Hydrangea will also produce more and better blooms with a yearly application of fertilizer with a higher middle number

Hydrangea Cityline Rio

How Do I Prune My Hydrangea?

The correct method to prune Hydrangeas depends on which type you have.

ReBlooming Varieties

The Hydrangeas require very little pruning and will keep you in blooms all season long. You should only prune to remove dead wood.

Hydrangeas That Bloom On Old Wood

These shrubs should only be pruned to remove dead wood or to manage size. As they bloom on old wood, a severe pruning can remove next years flower buds. If you must prune, do so after flowering. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include:

  • Big Leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Mountain Hydrangea - Hydrangea serrata
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangeas That Bloom On New Wood

For these varieties, prune in late winter or early spring. Varieties blooming on new wood include:

  • Pannicle Hydrangea- Hydrangea paniculata
  • Smooth Hydrangea - Hydrangea arboresens

If you have any other questions about hydrangeas, please feel free to drop by Arts Nursery and ask! We'd be happy to help!


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