Hydrangea shrubs began blooming a month ago and, depending on the variety, will be in bloom through the fall. It is possible to have a collection of Hydrangeas and have some in bloom from May to September.
n addition to flowers, some Hydrangeas are known for the beauty of their bark when the leaves fall in the winter.
Hydrangeas are popular for planting around the foundation of a home since they thrive with a little protection from out hot summer sun.
Traditionally, they are located on the north side of a structure but can also be planted as a shrub row or as a specimen plant.
The flower colors are dependent on the color they were bred to show plus the amount of aluminum ions in the soil. Acidic soils with a pH greater than 6.0 cause pink flowers. White flowering shrubs are not impacted by the type of soil.
Generally speaking, Hydrangeas are carefree. They benefit from being watered during periods of drought but rarely have disease or insect problems. Powdery mildew, rust, leaf spot and slugs have been reported though our shrubs have never had these problems.
Many Hydrangeas begin to bloom in May and continue to re-bloom as the flowers are removed for drying or for floral arrangements. If you keep in mind the simple rule of pruning the shrubs after they bloom you don’t have to know much about the complications of whether they bloom on this year’s growth (called new wood) or last year’s growth (bloom on old wood).
If you buy a shrub in a pot, dig a hold wider than the pot and as deep but no deeper. Carefully remove the plant from the pot by laying the pot on its side and pressing the entire surface to loosen the root ball.
Loosen the roots and place the plant in the prepared hole. Water it well. Put 2 or 3 inches of mulch on the soil around the roots, then pull the mulch 6-inches away from the stems so there is no point of contact where insects can nest and cause damage to the stems.
Fertilize Hydrangea shrubs in the early spring just as they are leafing out. Otherwise, just water and enjoy the flower show. Newly planted shrubs will not have as many flowers as mature ones.
One of the newest Hydrangeas on the markets is called Let’s Dance Diva! This one is a lacecap variety of Hydrangea macrophylla. Lacecap means that each flower head has a cluster of flowers in the center with lacy, smaller flowers around the outer edge. The flowers themselves are pink-purple.
If you are interested in purple flowers there are several varieties to choose from. Let’s Dance
Rhapsody Blue is another re-blooming type but this one has mophead, or large round ball shaped flowers that can be picked and hung upside down to dry for arrangements. Prune after the early summer bloom. They mature at 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
For pink flowers, Gatsby Pink Oakleaf Hydrangea is a good choice. Oakleaf Hydrangeas are Hydrangea quercifolia and should not be pruned at all. Oakleaf Hydrangeas are taller, maturing at 6 to 8 feet tall.
Annabelle is a standard variety, Hydrangea arborescens that cannot be beat for large, white, mophead flowers. This variety remains compact, with tightly formed flowers ideal for drying. When fully grown the shrubs are 4 or 5 feet tall and wide.
Hydrangea paniculata comes in many colors. The Flower heads are long cylinders of tiny blooms. The Unique variety has cream colored flowers and is easy to grow. It blooms late summer to early autumn.
Shop for Hydrangeas and you’ll find one to suit your needs.