Hydrangea

26 Feb

Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), 4-8 ft., blooms spring through fall, pink or blue, full sun to light shade, good cut flower.

Big, bold leaves and large clusters of long-lasting flowers in white, pink, red, or blue. Flower clusters may contain sterile flowers (conspicuous, with large,petal-like sepals) or fertile flowers (small, starry petaled); or they may feature a cluster of small fertile flowers surrounded by ring of big sterile ones (these are called lacecap hydrangeas). Sterile flowers last for a long time (often holding up for months), gradually fading in color.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Native to Japan. Hydrangea macrophylla has a symmetrical, rounded habit. Plants grow to 4 to 8 ft. high (or more) and as wide. Thick, shiny, coarsely toothed leaves to 8 in. long; flowers of white, pink, red, or blue (often depending on soil pH) are held in big clusters.

Garden hydrangeas come with two common flower types: ones with rounded flower clusters are called mop-head or hortensia types, while varieties with lacecap flowers have flatter sprays of large sterile flowers surrounding small fertile flowers.

Great performer in areas where winters are fairly mild; disappointing where plants freeze to ground every year (they may never bloom under these conditions, since flower buds of most varieties are produced on old wood). Protect in colder zones by mounding soil or leaves over base of plants. Prune after bloom.

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