Essential guide to Hydrangeas

Ornamental Gardening
// August 8, 2016
Hydrangeas

When you think of hydrangeas, you immediately get a picture of beautiful bold colors like blue, white, pink, red, etc. adorning your garden in thriving clusters. They manage to give a garden characteristic while making it seem alive and flourishing. Their broad flower heads garner attention no matter where they grow and set your garden a glow with beauty.

But first, let’s clarify! What are hydrangeas?

They are shrubs or climbing plants, native to Asia and America, and are characterized by their large flower heads and multiple colors. They tend to bloom in the Summer and last almost through the Fall. They are also fairly long-living shrubs, some of which have the peculiar but wonderful ability to have their flowers change color in accordance with the pH level of the soil.

blue hydrangea

Famous Hydrangea species:

Hydrangeas not only come in different colors but also vastly different species and types. Here are some of the most popular for home gardens.

  • Bigleaf Hydrangea: Probably the most liked and known species of hydrangea, they are spring bloomers. Coming in either red, pink, blue or white, they basically have two types: (1) Round bloomers called ‘mopheads’ (2) Flat bloomers called ‘lacecaps.’

pink hydrangea

  • Hardy Hydrangea: Scientifically called Hydrangea paniculata, these are also summer blooming hydrangea shrubs. As they mature, they also change color, going from green to white to red or pink.

hydrangea flower

  • Smooth Hydrangea: A deciduous shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall and also relatively wide, it produces breath-taking white flowers during blooming season. The ‘Annabelle’, and the ‘Grandiflora’ are well-known types within this species.

hydrangea species

  • Climbing Hydrangea: A shrubby, sprawling climber, this particular species of hydrangea can climb to astounding heights. Its wide heart-shaped leaves and cluster of flowers add to the beauty.

climbing hydrangea

  • Oakleaf Hydrangea: A species where the deep green leaves that slowly turn orange and red as Fall approaches. Along with this, the blooming white pansies too make this a shrub that is not to be missed!

white hydrangea

Hydrangea Plant Care:

The beginning is the most important step, as is with most plants, and so we start with the soil. Hydrangeas flourish in porous, moist soil with a fair amount of compost. They aren’t highly dependent on sunlight and can even develop well in partial shade. However, they do need some space, especially if you’re growing hydrangeas in clusters. Do keep them around 3 to 5 feet apart.

pink hydrangea

Pruning is probably the next most important step in taking care of your hydrangea. It is good to follow the four D’s of pruning, i.e., removing any dead, diseased, dying or damaged plant material. But also you should know that some hydrangea bloom on dead wood, which shouldn’t be pruned. If you’d like to give your garden a change of color, you can transplant your hydrangea to another type of soil. They will eventually change color accordingly! Last but not the least, remember to water your hydrangea well, particularly during the first two years.

hydrangea flower pruning

Now that you know some of the ins and outs, when it comes to the hydrangea, you can start planting your own! They are the perfect way to bring a monotonous garden to life.

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