Hydrangea – the Garden Flower with Show Appeal
Depending on the variety these garden gems are either just starting to come into bloom or have been the highlight of the garden for the last few weeks! We’ve put together the below to help you care for your current Hydrangeas or help you decide on which Hydrangeas will work best for your particular garden.
Worldwide there are some 75 species and 600 named cultivars! The plants can grow from 1 foot tall, all the way to close to 100 feet as a climbing vine in some places around the globe. Sargent’s carries a number of cold climate perennial varieties so read on to understand the differences and best options for where to place your Hydrangea.
Big Leaf Hydrangea or Macrophila Hydrangea
The color changing hydrangea! This variety has gained in popularity over the last few years as newer cultivars have come on the market. “The Original” is PH sensitive and the bloom color will reflect the soil PH in the area. Neutral or alkaline soils will result in pink blooms, while acid or lower Ph soils will result in blue flowers. The newer varieties do not react as much to the PH. Summer Crush can be deep pink to red, while Bloomstruck is light blue to purple.
These do best in Shade to Part Sun (Morning or Late Afternoon sun is best, mid-day sun will burn the blooms and wilt the plant).
Care – Late fall after several hard frosts (early to Mid-November) prune back to 8-12” from the ground, lightly mulch or apply leaf litter around the base to help insulate over the winter. Remove the mulch or leaves in early April before the plant starts to push new buds. Fertilize in the spring with a slow release for season long feeding. For more prolific blooms you can fertilize with a bloom booster every few weeks between May and August.
Annabelle Hydrangea or Arboresense Hydrangea
This is an old-fashioned variety that your grandmother may have had! They will do well in shade to full sun if given enough water.
Care – Annabelles are the foolproof hydrangea! Once established they require little more than a spring pruning. They bloom with an abundance of 8 to 10” flowers that start out light green and mature to brilliant white. The blooms are enjoyed from July through September. The more ridged stems will even hold the dried blooms up over winter for added interest.
Mid-April prune the shrub back to 8-12” from the ground. Fertilize in the spring with a slow release for season long feeding.
There are a number of varieties from Bobo to Quickfire Cone shaped blooms develop from July to the first frost and will grow best in full sun. Unlike the Bigleaf hydrangea which are PH reactive, the Panicle hydrangea are temperature sensitive and will change color when nighttime temps begin to cool in late Summer and Early fall. Many will pick up blush tones while other varieties turn green or deep red.
Care – In early May, as the plants are breaking bud, prune to desired height and cut out any crossing branches. Fertilize in the spring with a slow release for season long feeding.