Hydrangea


QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE

1. Light/Sun Exposure - Part shade to sun.  Southern gardeners should place their hydrangeas in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.  Northern gardeners can plant hydrangeas in areas with more direct sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - 3 to 9. See also varietal information.

3. Planting Distance - 4 to 5 feet apart in ground.

 

4. Mature Height/Spread - See Varietal Information.

5. Bloom Time - Summer to frost.

6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Please note that many of our pots are biodegradable. If your plant is not in a traditional plastic pot then you may place the entire biodegradable pot in the ground; otherwise, gently remove the root ball from the pot. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly. 

SPECIES INFORMATION

Macrophylla - Also known as Big Leaf hydrangeas, Macrophyllas are probably the most popular hydrangea in American gardens.  The mopheads feature the traditional globe-shaped clusters of blooms while lacecaps produce tiny fertile flowers in the center surrounded by a ring of infertile flowers.

Paniculata - Native to Japan and China, the name comes from the panicle (cone-shaped) shaped blooms that can be up to 18 inches in length.  These hydrangeas require more sun than the Macrophyllas and are very receptive to pruning. Paniculatas often feature a dramatic color change in the fall.

Arborescens - Known as the Smooth Hydrangea, Arborescens can be found thriving in a wide range of North American climates. They easily find a home on ravines, along rocky, river banks and of course in the garden. These hydrangeas bloom reliable on new wood and are very tolerant of full-sun.

Quercifolia - Commonly known as an Oakleaf Hydrangea, this upright shrub is native to woodland habitats in the Southeastern United States. The conical flower panicles emerge in summer on plants with large, oak-like foliage. Quercifolias are also known for their colorful fall foliage, boasting colors such as red, purple and bronze as the seasons change.

VARIETAL INFORMATION

Macrophylla, mophead

'Garden Party': Large blooms that are either blue or pink depending on soil pH. An extra hardy rebloomer that blooms on new and old wood. 4-5 feet tall with a similar spread.

'Pistachio': Zones 5 to 9. Cherry red blooms edged in green. A unique rebloomer that flowers on both new and old wood. 3-4 feet tall with a 3-5 feet spread.

'Blushing Bride': Pure white blooms that mature to blue or pink depending upon soil pH. A rebloomer that flowers on both new and old wood. 3-5 feet tall.

'Endless Summer': Cobalt blue to intense pink depending upon soil pH. A rebloomer that flowers on both new and old wood. 3-5 feet tall.

"Queen of Pearls': A pure, glistening white mophead that starts out white & matures to green. Blooms on new wood the first year in June/July. 4-5 feet tall with a 3-4 foot spread.

'Penny Mac': Masses of light blue to medium blue flowers until first frost. Reblooms throughout the season and flowers on new wood. 3-5 feet tall.

'Sister Theresa': Large, white flower heads up to 4-5 inches across adorn showy foliage mounds. Snow white flowers that become green tinged with red with age. 4-6 feet tall with a 4 foot spread.

'Reblooming Expressions': Uniform large blooms against dark, glossy-green foliage. Mophead flowers are pink to pinkish rose or blue to lavender-blue depending upon soil pH.  A rebloomer in cooler regions. 

'Candy Kisses': Beautiful rebloomer with yellow petals that are edged in pink. Hardy in zones 5 to 9. Will be 3 to 4 feet tall with the same spread.

'Red Sensation': A reblooming hydrangea on burgundy-red stems. The flowers begin blooming red then fade to shades of purple. Hardy in zones 5 to 9. Will be 2 to 3 feet tall with a 3 to 4 foot spread.

'Ruby Blossom': Beautiful double blooming mophead of deep red. Hardy in zones 5 to 9. Will grow to be 3 to 4 feet tall with a similar spread.

'Perfection': Zones 5 to 9. Fully double, pink or blue/purple blooms on strong stems. Will grow to be 2 to 3 feet tall with a 3 to 5 foot spread.

'Snow Storm' - Pure white flowers against dark green foliage. Earlier to flower than most and will rebloom until frost. Good in zones 4 to 9, and will grow to 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

'Violet Crown' - With a height and spread of 3 to 4 feet, this beauty has blooms of blue to violet blue from late spring to first frost. Great for zones 5 to 9.

'Raspberry Limeade' - Blooming on both old and new wood, anyone in the country will be able to enjoy these beauties. Mature height and spread will be 3-4 feet tall and wide. Stunning hot pink with chartreuse accents.

'Lady in Red': Delicate lacecaps emerge pinkish white then darken to red. Unique foliage with red stems and veins. Blooms on old wood. 3-5 feet tall with a similar spread.

'Variegated Lacecap': Large green leaves with creamy edges. Soft blue flowers. Blooms on old wood. 3-5 feet tall.

'Mariesii Variegata perfecta': Large green leaves with creamy streaks. Soft-pink lacecap flowers. Blooms on old wood. 3 to 5 feet tall.

'Twist and Shout': Lacy deep-pink bloom centers that are surrounded by gorgeous blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue, depending on the soil pH. Sturdy red stems and glossy deep green leaves turn red-burgundy in fall to offer year-round interest in the garden.  A rebloomer that flowers on both new and old wood. 

'Star Gazer': Zones 5 to 9. Large mauve/blue or pink centers with white picotee edges on this compact beauty. Will grow to 3 to 4 feet tall with a 3 to 5 foot spread.

'Wedding Gown':  Hardy in zone 5 to 9.  Double white blooms that begin as mopheads and end up as lace caps.

Blooming from summer to frost, hardy in zones 5 to 9.

Paniculata

'Limelight': Bright chartreuse blooms that change color to a rich deep pink in autumn. Will bloom on new-growth and maintains color regardless of soil’s pH.  5-7 feet tall.

'Vanilla Strawberry':  Zones 4 to 8. Blooms emerge pure white, change to pink and finally to strawberry red.

'Pinky Winky' - With large flowers opening white and changing to pink, this beauty will be a best seller. Growing 6 to 8 feet tall and spreading the same, the two-toned blossoms will perform well in zones 3 to 8.

Arborescen, mophead

'Annabelle': Huge, beautiful white blooms on a cold hardy shrub. Blooms earlier than most hydrangeas on new wood.

Quercifolia, oakleaf

'Little Munchkin': Large flower panicles that emerge white and mature to pink. Oak-like foliage transforms to mahogany red in the fall. 3 feet tall with a 3-5 foot spread.

'Ruby Slippers': Beautiful paniculata blooms open white, but quickly turn pale pink and then deepen to rose. Hardy in zones 5 to 9. Will be 4 to 5 feet tall with a similar spread.

 

SOIL PREPARATION

Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.

Special Note:   The bloom color of some Macrophylla Hydrangeas can be manipulated. Low pH levels will enhance the blue shades and can be achieved by adding aluminum sulphate to the soil.  In order to promote pink flowering, the soil needs to be more alkaline. Lime can be added to raise the soil’s alkalinity value. Bear in mind that these changes do not take effect quickly and you may have to wait a whole season for visible differences.

CONTINUING CARE

Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e. in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Grooming - Hydrangeas bloom on old and new growth, depending on the variety.  The general rule for pruning hydrangeas is “don’t”.  Pruning too early or too heavily may cause them not to bloom.  You may carefully remove dead leaves or blossoms as needed. If it becomes necessary to prune a plant to reduce its size, it is best to cut back after flowering. 

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.

Winterizing - The time to protect your plants in the garden is after the ground has frozen. At that time, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.

For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection. They may also be moved into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar. If moved to a protected area be sure you water them well once every 2 to 3 weeks as needed.

In spring, remove mulch from in-ground plantings and remove any dead or damaged parts on any plants.  Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance. 

 

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.