These high performing yet undemanding deciduous shrubs were a little out of fashion for a while being considered a little "common". Nowadays they are a "hot" item on the export cut flower market and as a garden plant they have deservedly earned the respect from a new generation of gardeners.
Hydrangeas are really easy to grow and will adapt to most conditions however they will perform their best when given some dapled afternoon shade and plenty of water when it is hot and dry in summer. The name Hydrangea comes from the Greek hydor which means water and aggos which means jar. Most Hydrangeas grown in New Zealand are varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla (large-leaved), often referred to as Mop Head or Lace Cap. The colour range includes shades of white, cream, blue and pink.
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The flower colour, especially in the blue and pink range is often dependent on your soil type. If you have alkaline soil then your flower heads will be pinker, if you have acid soil your flower heads will be a nice strong blue. You can alter your soil ph by adding Lime to intensify the pink shades and Aluminium sulphate for the blue shades. This must be done before flowering. Hydrangeas should be pruned in July or August and are one of the easiest shrubs to prune. Use a nice sharp pair of secateurs to cut just above the swollen leaf buds which will apear on either side of the stems. Cut back by at least 1/3. They are fabulous mass planted in a border, ideal for screening and hedging and simply wonderful picked for long lasting indoor display. Look too for Hydrangea grandiflora varieties which have elongated flower heads in a gorgeous frothy cream which fade to rusty pink as they age.
Hydrangea quercifolia is another top performer with coarse textured leaves that are reminiscent of an oak leaf. The foliage turns a rich red in autumn and holds well through the winter. The gorgeous large cream blooms on fresh green foliage in summer are almost secondary to the autumn display. So take another look at Hydrangeas, we promise you won';t be disapointed.
Aka Birgit Blue. Mop Head. Beautiful bold flower heads of bright blue put on a fine display from summer to autumn. To intensify the blue colour, side dress with Aluminium Sulphate. Happiest with protection from afternoon sun in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Colour: Blue Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Hydrangea Bridget Blue
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Mophead. Brighten up the shrubbery or flowering border with this Hydrangea that has large round heads of carmine red flowers from summer to autumn. Happiest in morning sun or part shade in nice humus rich soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
To maintain the carmine-red colour of the blooms side dress annually with Lime.
Colour: Red Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
Lacecap. AKA 'Hanabi' which is the Japanese name for fire-works and aptly describes the blooms of this gorgeous Hydrangea. The large flattened flower heads have an outer halo of double white florets encircling the dense central zone of smaller, light blue florets. Dazzling! Deciduous.
Best planted in a semi-shaded position in soil that does not completely dry out in summer.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
An unusual double flowered Lacecap Hydrangea with magnificent flower heads in shades of white. The flowers cascade gracefully on slender stems. Easy to grow but will perform its best with protection from the afternoon sun and in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 70cm
A smaller mophead variety with large, rich, rose pink blooms over lush, fresh green foliage. Grow in morning sun in soil that is not too dry. Side dress with lime to maintain the pink colour. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink Habit: Round compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Lacecap. Geoffrey Chadbund is an obliging chap who will have pink flowers in alkaline soil and purple flowers if planted in acid soil. The flowers themselves are broad and flat with a halo of outer florets highlighting the central zone of smaller florets. Very striking. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 90cm x 90cm
Lemon and lime is the happening thing and here is a hydrangea with leaf colour that just lights up the shade. This stunning hydrangea is noted for it bright yellow, lime green foliage, stunning in a dappled light to semi shade position. Prefers most soils with a touch extra over the summer when it is graced with it's lovely pink or white flowers. Deciduous.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
A mophead Hydrangea with very large, pure white flower heads that smother the lush green foliage in summer-autumn making for a wonderful display. Happiest in semi-shade in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 1.8m
Pale green foliage with 'serrated' edges and bronze tips. The summer-autumn blooms are a dainty and a mix of tiny blue central flowers surrounded by a halo of white florets. Very pretty. Plant in morning sun or part shade. Prefers rich acid soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Side dress with Aluminium sulphate to maintain the blue tones.
Colour: Blue / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Blue mophead in acid soils or salmon pink in alkaline soils. The flowerheads are small and compact with very large individual florets. Looks fabulous in a shady spot under trees. Very free flowering and popular for cut flower. Lovely autumn tones – flowers antique red-wine tones.
Colour: Pink / Blue Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m