How to Grow Hydrangeas
By early- to mid-summer, the large flower heads of hydrangea (Hydrangea sp.) begin to dot the landscape, weighing down the branches with saturated color.
Hydrangeas make a great addition to landscape borders, and the blossoms are gorgeous as cut or dried flowers.
Here are some tips for growing this eye-catching plant in your yard.
Pink mophead blossoms look like pompoms.
Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that transform from bare winter stalks into lush, green branches dripping with blooms in summer.
These graceful, rounded shrubs range from 3 to 10 feet tall or more. Larger varieties look more treelike and substantial in shrub borders, while smaller varieties can be tucked into perennial beds or even containers.
Colors of blossoms include white, pink, lilac, red, blue, purple, and even greenish.
Blossom color can change as the flower matures, or as the plant itself matures, and it’s not uncommon to see more than one color on one plant (or even within one blossom!).
You can also change the color of many hydrangeas using soil supplements, as explained below.
There are more varieties of hydrangea than people can agree upon, but most garden hydrangeas fall within a few main species:
- Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) include the familiar “Mopheads” and “Lacecaps” that are used in cut flowers and florists’ arrangements. Hardy to zone 6.
- Climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea anomala) are hardy to zone 4 with white, lacecap-style blooms. They can be trained to grow up trellises or spill over walls.
- Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) are native to the U.S. They have a distinctive peeling bark and spectacular red fall foliage. Hardy to zone 5.
- Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) boast late-season, pale pink to lime green blossoms. They are the most cold hardy variety, reliable to zone 4.
- Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) are another native U.S. plant and hardy to zone 4.
Hydrangeas make a stunning border shrub.
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