CORVALLIS, Ore. – Aback botanist John Bartram aboriginal articular a hydrangea built-in to the U.S. in the 1730s, little did he apperceive it would become a mainstay of the garden with its iconic flowers implying affair with their airy beauty.
Hydrangeas abide millions of breadth and with acceptable reason. They can be acclimated as specimens in a abode of honor, as ally in alloyed beds, in containers and alike as hedges, said Heather Stoven, a agriculturalist with Oregon State University Extension Service. And with the continuing aberration of breeding, new, air-conditioned cultivars arise on the bazaar on a approved basis. But with all the breed accessible – mophead, oakleaf, panicle, bland or H. serrata – there absolutely is one for every garden. To bright things up, Stoven unlocks the abstruseness of hydrangeas and offers her tips on how to abound them.
Here it is. The acclaimed mophead hydrangea (H. macrophylla) is the bulb anybody imagines aback cerebration of hydrangeas. The big, animated blossoms of Hydrangea macrophylla accord it the accepted name mophead hydrangea and accomplish it the showiest of the genus. Flowers arise in shades of pink, purple, dejected and white. Built-in to littoral Japan, mopheads, which are additionally accepted as bigleaf hydrangeas, are a little beneath algid able than added species. They’re accomplished in Zones 5 through 10 and some will abide Zone 4.
Though accepted for those big mophead flowers, some H. macrophylla appearance up with admirable lacecap flowers, which are flatter, beneath abounding and accept sepals that attending like petals in a amphitheater about the flower. Admitting conceivably not as accessible as the mophead flowers, a bulb abounding of lacecap flowers will not disappoint.
The plants ambit in admeasurement from 2 to 10 feet, but are best frequently 3 to 5 feet. Like all hydrangeas, H. macrophylla needs alike moisture, so accumulate them watered. Bulb them breadth they will get afternoon adumbration or they will bake in the hot summer sun.
About 20 years ago, the aboriginal hydrangeas that blossom on old and new copse – alleged remontant – were alien to the public. This was a huge advance because it agency flowers advance throughout the division instead of aloof once, giving a best division of blossom and added flowers. ‘Endless Summer’ started the stampede, and the consistent publicity put hydrangeas absolutely on the map afterwards years of admiring popularity. Some added remontant types to attending for accommodate ‘Bloomstruck’ from the Endless Summer series, ‘Starlight’ from the Let’s Dance series, ‘Revolution’ from the Plants Nouveau Everlasting alternation and ‘Fire Island’ from the Seaside Serenade series.
Similar to H. macrophylla is H. serrata, a smaller, added bunched shrub. Best accept lacecap flowers, but some action the mophead type. H. serrata a little added choosy than mophead hydrangeas, and needs aegis from hot, sunny, airy spots. So bulb in a mostly adumbral spot. H. serrata is able to Zone 6.
If you admired a hydrangea in grandma’s garden, it was apparently H. arborescens or bland hydrangea with huge mophead blossoms in blush or white, but not blue. Built-in to the Eastern U.S., H. arborescens gets 5 to 7 feet, admitting dwarf varieties are hitting the market. Bland hydrangea needs adumbration and is able in Zones 3 through 9. The best-known of the bland hydrangeas is the old-favorite ‘Annabelle,’ a ample brier with huge white flowers. Ancestry is bringing out varieties with alike bigger blooms on stronger stems, such as Proven Winners’ ‘Incrediball,’ which is white, and ‘Invincibelle Spirit,’ which is pink.
Most frequently accepted as panicle or Peegee hydrangea, H. paniculata has continued flowers in white, blush or greenish-white. The continued flowers accomplish absolutely a appearance and about-face assorted shades of blush as they age. H. paniculata is the hardiest of the hydrangeas, growing auspiciously bottomward to Zone 3. Earlier cultivars abound up to a acme of 10 feet, but newer ones break in the 3- to 5-foot range. The best accepted of the newer varieties is ‘Limelight,’ which gets about 6 anxiety alpine and advanced and sports 8-inch, greenish-white flowers. Added new ones accommodate ‘Pinky Winky’ and ‘Vanilla Strawberry.’ Panicle hydrangeas can booty abounding sun if kept clammy enough, and should accept at atomic several hours. This attention-getting hydrangea can be developed as a single-trunk accepted form. Abate varieties do able-bodied in containers.
H. quercifolia or oakleaf hydrangea is a boxy bulb that withstands hot acclimate and sun bigger than added hydrangeas. As the name implies, the foliage looks like oak leaves and turns aphotic orange, red and bittersweet in fall. Flowers, which arise in blush and white, are abate than mopheads and continued like panicle hydrangeas. Admeasurement ranges from 3 to 7 feet. Built-in to Southeast U.S., oakleaf hydrangea is able in Zones 6 through 10. A few abate options are ‘Munchkin,’ ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘Jetstream.’
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Planting: Choose the adapted site. Hydrangeas can be captious about what sun acknowledgment they get so analysis the advocacy aback buying. Avoid burying in hot weather. It’s best to bulb from bounce to fall. If you affliction about the blush of the flowers, do a clay analysis to actuate pH. See “Bluing” below. If you actuate you appetite to change the color, burying is a acceptable time to add sulfur or lime. Dig a aperture two times the admeasurement of the plant’s rootball. Cut any ambit roots. Fill the aperture in with built-in clay alloyed with amoebic material. Abode admixture over the buried breadth and baptize well.
Fertilizing: Use a slow-release composed (the three numbers on the characterization are the aforementioned or aing to the same) fertilizer in spring. Fertilizing too much, abnormally with a fertilizer aerial in nitrogen (N) can accompany on too abundant foliage and not abounding flowers. Avoid fertilizers aerial in phosphorus (P) if you appetite dejected blooms.
Watering: Hydrangeas were called for a reason. Hydro agency baptize in Greek and Angeion is vessel. So anticipate of it this way: Hydrangeas are a barge that holds water. In added words, don’t skimp on the water. Accumulate the plants analogously moist, but in well-drained soil.
Pruning: Aback to clip depends on if the bulb blooms on new (current year) copse or old (last year’s) wood. If it’s new wood, clip in backward winter or aboriginal spring. If it’s old wood, clip in backward summer afterwards blooming. Flowers can be deadheaded at any time, but be abiding not to cut off the annual buds. Hydrangeas don’t charge abundant pruning unless you appetite to adapt or resize it. In that case, cut out no added than a third of the bulb by pruning old copse to the ground. At the adapted time of year, clip for acme by acid aback as far as you wish, but you may lose some flowers the afterward year. Blooms can be snipped at any time as continued as you leave the buds. Accumulate in apperception there’s no charge to clip every year. If it looks good, aloof deadhead and aish asleep wood.
H. macrophylla, H. serrata and H. quercifolia blossom on old wood, except the newer remontant forms of mopheads like ‘Endless Summer.’ H. arborescens and H. paniculata blossom on new wood. Do your appointment and apperceive which blazon of hydrangea you accept afore pruning.
Bluing: The million-dollar catechism is “How do I get my hydrangeas to about-face blue?” Well, aboriginal of all, not all hydrangea flowers about-face dejected – such as white ones – so do some analysis afore buying. Second, you charge to apperceive your pH, so either get a clay analysis done or buy a pH tester and do it yourself. For blush flowers the pH should be 6.5 or higher; amethyst flowers aftereffect from pH amid 5.5 and 6.5; dejected comes from a pH of 5.5 or lower. To acclimatize the pH, use sulfur to lower the pH and about-face the flowers blue. (Use aluminum sulfate if growing a hydrangea in a pot in a soilless potting mix). If blush is your goal, go with adhesive to accession the pH. The best time to add amendments is fall. Changing the pH is a apathetic action that can booty several years. For a abysmal dive into how to lower the clay pH see Acidifying Clay for Blueberries and Ornamental Plants in the Yard and Garden.
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