If we had a dollar everytime someone asked, I have a shady spot, what can I plant?, we would be living in the lap of luxury. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually dozens, if not hundreds of plants that prefer the shade. One of the most common is the Hydrangea. Famous for their blue, pink or white, mophead or lacecap flowers, they are an excellent option for those of you blessed with shade. Here are 6 new or unique Hydrangea varieties to tempt you this Spring!
Let's Dance Starlight Bigleaf Hydrangea
This is the first, re-blooming lacecap hydrangea. Starlight has elegant summer flowers held upright on strong stems. Blooms every year. Prefers to be grown in part shade / part sun in moist, but well drained soils. The soil and pH affects bloom colour. Acidic soils produce blue flowers, alkaline soils create pink flowers. Prune after flowering. Grows to a height and spread of 2-3ft. Hardy to zone 6.
Blue Enchantress Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’
Blue Enchantress is an exquisite, new, re-blooming hydrangea with stately ruby-black stems supporting big, beautiful, mophead hydrangea flowers. Blooming continuously through summer, the flowers are blue in acidic soils and pink in more alkaline ones. Flowers age to a vintage cream-splashed green. Prized for cut or dried flower arrangements. A perfect plant for a dappled shade border. Best grown in part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering. Will grow 3-5ft tall and wide. Hardy to Zone 6.
Sweet and Salsa Showstopper Hydrangea
Hydrangea 'Sweet and Salsa'
This exciting new Hydrangea from the HGTV Home Collection features bicolor red and white flowers with shades of pink that appear in late spring into late Summer. Foliage is equally attractive in shades of green and burgundy red-bronze. Bloom colour changes depending on soil pH. Best when planted in part shade or in areas that have cool afternoons. To preserve the flower heads, cut long stems and hang upside down in a cool, dry dark area and soon after, you’ll have created ever-lasting flowers! Grows 2-3ft high and 3-5ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.
Endless Summer Hydrangea
‘Endless Summer’ is the original repeat blooming Hydrangea. It has been around for a couple of years now, but is still an awesome variety. Most older hydrangeas flower on old wood (stems that grew last year). This variety flowers on both old and new wood, giving it the ability to bloom more often and more profusely. Flower colour changes according to soil pH and blooms in late spring through late Summer. Best grown in full to part shade and moist, but well drained soil. For best results, keep soil evenly moist and fertilize with a slow release plant food in spring or early summer before blooms appear. Grows to 3-6ft high and wide. As it is a continuous bloomer, prune this one differently. Do not prune in the fall. Instead, wait until Spring when the plant has started to grow. Prune the branches above the new green growth.
Hydrangea ‘Red n Pretty’
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Monred'
‘Red n Pretty’ Hydrangea is a superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas. Desired for the splendid, abundant, showy flower clusters in shades of red appear in Summer. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, rounded form. Deciduous. Best grown in part sun / part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering, more often in extreme heat. A moderate grower from 4-6ft tall and 3-4ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.
Plum Passion Hydrangea
Hydrangea aspera ‘Plum Passion’
‘Plum Passion’ is the first every purple leaved Hydrangea to grace North American gardens. Discovered in China, this unique shrub was brought to Monrovia by famed plant explorer Dan Hinkley. Foliage emerges greenish-purple aging to deep purple on the upper side of the leaf and rosy purple on the underside. Wispy, mid-sized, summer blooming, lace-cap type flowers are somewhat insignificant in contrast with the dramatic, colourful foliage. Excellent fall colour too! Deciduous. Like all Hydrangeas is does best in shade to part shade in moist, but well drained soils. Reaches 5-6ft tall and wide. Hardy to zone 7.
How to Grow Hydrangeas
Hydranges are fairly low maintenance, easy to grow deciduous shrubs. Find a shade to part shade location with moist, but well drained soil. Dig the hole, situate the plant and apply a Transplant fertilizer or Bonemeal. Be aware that if you use bonemeal, you may actually be turning the flower colour pink as explained in the next section. Water frequently, but avoid over-watering. Yellowing leaves may be an indicator of over-watering. Fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer in early spring before flowers appear. If required, prune after flowering on most varieties. On reblooming or endless summer varieties, wait to prune until spring.
How to Change the Colour of Your Hydrangea Flowers
How to change the colour of your hydrangeas flowers is a very commonly asked question. White flowered varieties will not change colour. Only Blue or Pink flowering varieties are affected. Hydrangea flowers change their colour overtime based on the soil acidity and presence of Aluminum Sulphate in the soil. In acidic soils,(a pH less than 7), Hydrangea take in Aluminum and their flower colour becomes bluish. In alkaline or sweet soils (pH greater than 7), the ability to bring in Aluminum Sulphate is curtailed and the flower colour changes to pink. This transition is gradual and can take a year or more to complete. To turn your flower colour blue, simply purchase and Acidifying fertilizer and/or Aluminum Sulphate (both available at Art's Nursery) and apply in early spring. To change your flower colour to pink, add lime.
For more information about Hydrangeas, visit us in person at Art's Nursery, or give us a call at 604.882.1201. As always, our selection and availability is always changing. If you are making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability.