Hydrangeas are beautiful perennial shrubs that no garden or yard should be without. Most begin to flower in early summer with some flowering until frost in September. Hydrangeas planted in groups of 3 or more will put on a show of colour that can make heads turn.
Hydrangeas originated in the east, most likely China and or Japan. Some may have also origins in the American’s. The name hydrangea comes from the Greek “Hydro,” meaning water and “angos” meaning jar or vessel. Roughly translated to “Water Barrel” referring to the hydrangeas needs for lots of water and its cup shaped flowers.
Hydrangeas can be planted in the spring, late summer and fall is the best time, with special care (watering) all season. Most prefer a partial shade location but can take full sun again watering is the key. Hydrangeas have very few insect or disease problems when cared for properly. Pruning however is always a question as some hydrangeas flower on old growth wood, some on new growth and some on both.
Hydrangeas can be divided into 3 main types, hydrangeas arborescens or smooth leaved such as Annabelle (an old favorite) and some newer ones called Incrediball and invincibelle flower off of new wood.
Hydrangeas paniculata grandiflora or panicle, the best known is the Pee Gee hydrangea. Other newer varieties include Bo-Bo, Fire and Ice (starting with white flowers turning pink and then turning a bright red ) one of my favorites, Limelight, Little lamb, Phantom, Vanilla strawberry and pinky winky to name a few. These hydrangeas flower on last season‘s growth or old wood. Very little pruning is required except to remove spent flowers.
Hydrangea macrophylla or big leaf hydrangeas can have their color changed by adding lime to create a pinkish tone or sulfur to create a blue color. This group can contain the florist hydrangea one might receive as a Easter gift and can be planted outside. Many new varieties have been developed like endless summer, Jade, Cityline, Revolution, Pirates Gold ( a yellow & green foliage) very striking Masja and more. This group can flower off new & old wood so very little pruning is required again be sure to dead head spent flowers.
Antler’s carry over 17 different kind of Hydrangeas, currently with a 25% off discount, please drop by for a more complete pruning guide and a look see.