Hydrangeas are notoriously showy, hardy, pest-free, and long flowering... what more can a gardener ask for?
Hydrangeas are a classic garden shrub that are a must-have in every garden. Their name comes from the Greek word ‘hydor’ which means water, thus explaining their penchant for lots of water. There are many types of hydrangeas but they can be classified into 3 types. Read on for gardening tips for planting and caring for your type of hydrangea shrub.
Type 01: Arborescens Hydrangeas
These hydrangeas are the old fashion ‘Annabelle’ variety. Large white blooms cover this plant from July – September without fail.
Tips: These varieties grow best in partial shade preferably morning sun and afternoon shade. They are the most water-hungry out of all the hydrangea varieties. These Hydrangea flowers bloom on new wood so it is important to cut them back hard to 2 feet every Fall or Spring. Cutting them back this much allows them to have stronger stems to hold the huge flower heads.
These hydrangeas usually grow 4’-5’ tall. What are some of our favourite varieties? Well, Annabelle of course, Hayes Starburst which has double florets that look like stars on every bloom, and Incrediball which like the name reflects has huge white flower heads.
New this season Wee White Hydrangea is the first miniature Hydrangea Arborencens growing only a tidy 2`x 2` perfect for small spaces.
Type 02. Paniculata Hydrangeas
These Hydrangeas have beautiful cone-shaped flowers that bloom in late July/August as pure white and gradually turn bright pink in September as the weather begins to cool. Some favourite varieties of Paniculata Hydrangeas are Pee Gee, Limelight, Pink Diamond, and Quickfire.
Tips: These hydrangeas are larger in growth ( 6`-8`) and can tolerate part sun to full sun. Their stems are thick and sturdy. The flower heads can be pruned after blooming or left on for winter interest and pruned in early Spring. These hydrangeas do not need to be cut back aggressively every year and are typically a more drought-tolerant variety once established.
Our Favourite is the Bobo Hydrangea Paniculata
Type 03. Macrophylla Hydrangeas
This is a large showy group of hydrangeas that often have pink or blue blooms. The most famous in this group is the Endless Summer Hydrangea but other beautiful examples are; Nikko Blue, Twist and Shout (a lace cap variety), and the Cityline Series (Paris, Venice, Berlin).
Tips: These hydrangeas bloom on old wood so a common mistake made by many gardeners is that they prune them back year after year and they stop blooming. Only prune back to the first pair of buds beneath the old flower in the spring. This variety can range from 3’ – 4’ in height. The colour of these hydrangeas often changes with your soil type. Soils with more aluminum present will produce blue flowers. Soil additives like aluminum sulphate or sulphur can help in changing hydrangea colours.
Hydrangeas are a summertime staple in gardens and with over 49 varieties of hydrangeas available in North America, and so many colours, sizes and varieties available; I am not sure how you can choose just one!
Peace & Plants,
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