I remember hydrangeas from my childhood holidays away in the Sounds where we would see hundreds of colourful pompom heads of pink and blue amongst the landscape. Most of us associate the Hydrangea with our grandparents gardens where they would bloom in their flower patches with hundreds of bee’s happily buzzing through the garden. Today people are falling in love all over again with Hydrangeas because of their beautiful appearance, easy maintenance and fantastic display of colour all summer long.
Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plants which need very little attention. Flower colours range from lime green to a creamy white, pinks, reds, blues and purples. The leaves that are dormant in winter burst away in spring with lush green vibrant foliage. Heights of Hydrangeas range from 50cm -1.5m.
There are two main groups to describe hydrangeas. One is Mophead (which is the most common) with large round flowers resembling pompoms; the second is Lacecap which bear round, flat flower heads.
Commonly we have customers asking why their pink hydrangea is turning blue (or visa versa) the simple answer to this is a hydrangea will change the colour of their flower to match the pH of the soil. Use Hydrated Lime to keep pink hydrangeas pink and Aluminium Sulphate to keep blue hydrangeas blue. Generally the powder fertilisers take a while to start working, but Yates have a liquid form which if your flowers are in bud, this is fast acting enough that it will change the colour.
When planting, be sure to use good soil with fertiliser (either general garden fertiliser or a potting mix) blended in with compost. Also it’s a great idea to add mulch around the root base to keep their feet cool.Plant preferably in dappled shade as this helps with the vibrancy of the flowers and with water retention. You hardly need to do any maintenance once planted apart from applying a bit of water during dry weather and dead-head flowers when they have finished.
Prune Hydrangeas in autumn to early winter. It’s tempting to prune all of the stems closely back to the ground. However this is a bad idea. To ensure flowering every year, trim half of the stems back to 10cm and the other half to 20cm (e.g. cut one stem to 10cm and the one next to it to 20cm and carry on this process over the bush). This ensures you will get even flowering throughout the summer.