There are several different types of hydrangea, each with its own unique characteristics.
Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla): Also known as mophead or lacecap hydrangeas, these are the most popular type of hydrangea. They have large, round flower heads that can be blue, pink, purple, or white, depending on the pH of the soil. Examples include ‘Endless Summer’, ‘Nikko Blue’, and ‘All Summer Beauty’.
Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata): These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that can be white, pink, or red. They bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned back in late winter or early spring. Examples include ‘Limelight’, ‘Pinky Winky’, and ‘Quick Fire’.
Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens): These hydrangeas have large, round flower heads that can be white or pink. They also bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned back in late winter or early spring. Examples include ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Incrediball’.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia): These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that can be white or pink. They also have distinctive oak-shaped leaves that turn red in the fall. Examples include ‘Snow Queen’ and ‘Alice’.
Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris): This hydrangea is a vine that can climb up trees or walls. It has white, lacecap-like flower heads and grows well in shade. Examples include ‘Miranda’ and ‘Moonlight’.
Each type of hydrangea has its own care requirements, but here are some general growing tips:
Soil and Light: Hydrangeas prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They also need adequate moisture and prefer partial shade to full sun. However, some types, such as panicle hydrangeas, can tolerate more sun.
Watering: Hydrangeas need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
Fertilizing: Hydrangeas benefit from regular fertilization. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply in early spring and again in mid-summer.
Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Winter Care: In colder gardens, protect hydrangeas from harsh winter winds and frost by covering them with burlap or a frost blanket.
The method of pruning hydrangeas in spring can vary depending on the type of hydrangea you have, so it’s important to research which type you have and how to care for it properly.
Here are some general guidelines:
Deadhead any spent blooms: Remove any dead or fading blooms by cutting back the stem to the nearest healthy set of leaves.
Cut back old wood: For hydrangeas that bloom on old wood (last season’s growth), such as mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, prune them back before new growth appears in spring. Cut back any dead or weak stems to the base of the plant, and trim back the remaining stems to the first healthy pair of buds.
Remove dead or damaged branches: Trim back any dead or damaged branches to the base of the plant.
Prune back new growth: For hydrangeas that bloom on new wood (this season’s growth), such as smooth hydrangeas and panicle hydrangeas, prune them back in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Cut back the stems to the desired size, leaving at least two healthy buds on each stem.
Shape the plant: If you want to shape your hydrangea plant, prune it back to the desired size and shape after it finishes blooming in late summer or early autumn.
Remember to use sharp, clean pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant and in general, avoid pruning in the autumn, as this can remove flower buds for the following year.
Hydrangeas are a popular and beautiful flowering shrub that are easy to grow and maintain, making them a great choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners. With their large, colourful blooms that can last for several months, hydrangeas can add a splash of colour to any garden or landscape. With several different types to choose from, hydrangeas offer a variety of options to suit different growing conditions and preferences. Additionally, they are attractive to pollinators and can help create a wildlife-friendly garden. Overall, if you are looking for a low-maintenance, versatile, and visually stunning plant, hydrangeas are an excellent choice.
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