Heavy blooming Hydrangea plant varieties for sale. Planting and growing instructions for bush, tree, and climbing Hydrangeas. How to manipulate flower color in pink and blue shrubs.
A Hydrangea, in full blossom, is the most endearing of flowering shrubs. In spring and summer, these old-fashioned bushes cover themselves with globes of white, pink, red, purple, or blue blooms.
Growing Hydrangeas is simple as long as you understand which variety you are raising.
The problems gardeners encounter when caring for this plant are, essentially, limited to these two:
In the first instance, the problem lies in the pH of the soil. Bigleaf Hydranges planted on sweet soil (pH of 6 or higher) will bloom pink. Acid soil gives rise to blue blossoms.
Failure to bloom is usually the result of improper pruning. The gardener is pruning one variety as if it were another and, in so doing, removing the flower buds.
French or Bigleaf Hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) are upright-growing shrubs with broad leaves up to 8 inches long. They range from 3-6 feet in height and spread by suckering. They grow quickly and perform best in zones 6-9.
There are two types of macrophyllas: Hortensias, which produce large balls of sterile flowers, and Lacecaps, which bloom in flat, plate-sized clusters with tiny, fertile flowers in the center ringed by larger, sterile blooms.
The vast majority of Hydrangea plant cultivars are members of the Hortensia group. Prune them after the flowers fade.
Oakleaf Hydrangeas (H. quercifolia) feature large (to 8 inches long) lobed leaves which look much like those of an oak tree. The foliage is deep green throughout summer, but really sparkles in the fall garden when it displays its red, orange, and purple autumn colors.
Hydrangea quercifolia grows 4-6 feet tall and will spread, by suckering, into a 6 foot wide clump. This type blooms in the spring, producing cone-shaped flower clusters up to a foot long. The long-lasting blooms start out white and, like the leaves, undergo a color change--from green through rose and tan--as the season wears on.
This species is more cold hardy than H. macrophylla. Plant it in zones 5-9 and prune it right after the blooms fade.
Oakleaf Hydrangeas are best used as specimen plants in the landscape.
Pruning Tip: To grow this species solely for its sensational foliage, cut it to the ground each year in early spring.
If you want flowers, cut canes that bloomed during the previous season back by half their length. Also remove old, weak, or damaged shoots.
Hills-of-Snow Hydrangeas (H. arborescens) is a compact (to 4 feet) and cold hardy species which can be planted in zone 4. Six inch rounded flower heads smother the bright green foliage in midsummer.
Peegee or Panicle Hydrangeas (H. paniculata) are tall shrubs or trees growing to 30 feet in height. Their foot-long conical flower heads are quite showy in midsummer. The flowers open white and progress to pink or purple. They cling tenaciously to the branches well into winter unless they are cut and brought into the house to make bouquets or wreaths.
How to Prune a Peegee: Frequent heading back of overly vigorous new shoots will be required in order to maintain it as a hedge. Do this in late spring and early summer.
To grow it as a shrub, cut the previous season's canes back to 2 buds, and remove weak, damaged, or crossing canes.
Trim trees by topping them, crepe murder style, in early spring.
The Climbing Hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris) is a vine which climbs by clinging to its support, or may be grown, without support, into a sprawling shrub. H. anomala needs to mature before it will bloom, but, when it does, it produces show stopping, white, dinner-plate-sized, lace cap style flower clusters.
Cinnamon-stick-hued, exfoliating bark adds to the ornamental value of older specimens.
How to Prune a Climbing Hydrangea: Wait until it is climbing well before trimming off wayward shoots that refuse to cling to the support. Cut flowering shoots back to 2 buds in early spring.
Purple Hydrangeas and Japanese forest grass fill a raised planter with color.
If you live where winters are bitter or you wish to grow a type of Hydrangea that is not winter hardy in your zone, take heart. Hydrangea plants grow beautifully in containers.
The low-growing Hortensia is the kind most often displayed in containers.
Use compact Hortensias to fill the tiniest strip of land with flowers.
The exuberant blooms of H. macrophylla will keep the most formal landscape looking lively.