I have to admit that I'm a diehard hydrangea fan. Not because they're the easiest plant to grow but because I'm mesmerized by their fluffy ball of petals and their unique and intense colors...they really can be a show stopper.
If you live in the right location, they also can be a beautiful plant for the shade. Their deep green foliage and intense shades of pink or blue captivate you quickly and make you look more than once.
There are different varieties of hydrangeas and they look quite different from each other. I'm going to be talking about the mophead/bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla) and lacecap varieties in this post although the oak leaf hydrangeas are gorgeous in a more understated way.
There are two main colors in the mopheads and lace caps being the pinks and blues but I often see light purple flowers and different shades of blues on some bushes. If the soil ph varies too much this can cause the flowers to change in shade although pink varieties will stay pink and blues won't necessarily turn pink. That being said, it's best to buy the color hydrangea you would like and don't worry about changing the colors around by amending the soil.
Hydrangeas are not made for deep shade, but I've found that planted on the east side of our house, they do much better in the shaded areas. They grow beautifully if they are in rich moist soil and I actually lost a few plants last summer because it was so hot and it was relatively dry. My hydrangeas will often wilt during this kind of weather so I would water them as much as possible to keep them healthy.
They also bloom in early summer for weeks at a time taking over the blooming from your spring bulbs and perennials. They really fill in the gap for extended blooms in your perennial bed.
They also didn't put out leaves or bloom well during the last dry summer. That means I'll need to put down extra mulch and be dilligent about watering the next time our summer is hot and dry.
|A photo of one of my own hydrangeas in early bloom|
I told you they can be fussy. But in the right spot, in rich moist soil in indirect sun, they are a thing of beauty. I snapped all these photos taken on one of my walks along the lakefront. We have four bushes at home too.
This lace cap variety had fertile flowers on the inside surrounded by large showy flowers on the outside.
What I also love about these mophead/lacecap hydrangeas is that they are only 4-6 feet tall and perfect as a landscaping plant. It's one of the reasons I picked it to put in our front flower beds.
|This is a neighbor's bush and I LOVE the blue color. I have pink myself but the blues always draw me too.|
I've even cut the flower heads off when they get close to being done blooming (the flowers begin to fade a bit) and just bring them inside in a vase (no water) and let them air dry. You'll want to do this NOT on a humid day so the petals don't wilt. You may want to try one flower and see how it drys to make sure you don't lose them all. I would make a wreath completely out of the blooms...gorgeous!
If you haven't grown these beautiful plants before, you may just want to check them out and see how much they can brighten the loneliest spot in your garden! Blessings!
Do you grow hydrangeas? Which is your favorite color?
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