The blog patch has been growing a little wild and weedy from neglect lately, so hopefully this little discussion on Hydrangeas will liven things up a bit.
Hydrangeas are amazing bloomers from spring until fall, producing massive round or cone shaped flower heads which make excellent cut flowers. In your landscape they can be used in almost any application from mass plantings as an perennial hedge to individual accent plantings.
Growing Your Hydrangeas
Ok, the basics first. Hydrangeas are perennial, (they come back every spring). Over the years we've learned a few lessons that will hopefully save you some grief. There are several new varieties commonly available, Endless Summer blue Hydrangea (below), Blushing Bride-cream/pink Hydrangea, and Twist and Shout-magenta Hydrangea, as well as the more traditional white varieties.
You want to select and plant your new hydrangeas early in the spring when it's still cool. Select a site where your hydrangeas will get eastern to southeastern exposure from the morning sun. This is crucial to your success! Hydrangeas will burn and wilt if you plant them in the hot western afternoon sun. Try to select a location that receives a good deal of moisture, as Hydrangeas are water hogs and love to be constantly evenly moist. Fertilize all varieties three times during the growing season with an acid loving fertilizer such as Holly Tone. If you have blue variety such as Endless Summer, you will be disappointed unless you learn to supplement them, blue hydrangeas are naturally pinkish in hue, and only turn blue when planted in soils rich in aluminum, (not Nebraska). So you will need to supplement them with aluminum sulfate, (available at most nurseries and home centers) apply the aluminum sulfate as directed on the package three times a season for super unique blue flowers. The only thing better than a free plant is a plant that you can propagate for free, and Hydrangeas are super easy. I ran across this trick by accident but it works fantastic. In the late spring when your Hydrangeas are actively growing, and the branches are about 12-15 inches long, take an outer branch and lay it down on the ground, make a little trough about 3 inches long in the soil where the branch touches the ground and place a rock on the tip to hold it down. Now cover the part of the branch in the trough with a little soil and wait... In about 4 weeks, the part of the branch you covered will grow it's own roots, cut the branch off at the main plant and transplant your new plant to another location, or give to a friend. Happy growing...Green
Endless Summer in Early Spring
Early in Flower
Two Endless Summer Blue Hydrangea in mid spring, beginning to bloom. Excellent backdrop for shade loving annuals such as impatiens.