Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

Hydrangea (Hydrangea) - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

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Plant InformationType: perennial
Propagation: cuttings
Light: full sun to part shade
Flower Color: white, pink, blue
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 2-4 feet
Soil Requirements: acid, moderately rich, average moisture
Zones: 4-10
Uses: shrub border near a house, cutting, drying

Hydrangea are easily recognized by their enormous clusters of summer-blooming white, pink or blue flowers. Nowdays, you can also find attractive reds, purples, and other varieties too. They make a nice hedge, and also look good as a solo specimen, or in large containers.

The most attractive blossoms are unable to produce seeds. these sterile blossoms are flat, four-petaled and 1 inch or so across. Some plants bear clusters containing only sterile flowers, but most have clusters that include fertile ones, tiny starlike blossoms usually at the centers of the clusters.

Big-leafed hydrangea are available in blue, white or pink. These varieties are often forced into early-spring bloom by florists for sale as a house plant. Flower clusters are 4 to 8 inches across but some varieties have 15-inch clusters. Plants may blossom when only 1 foot tall; most garden plants become 3 to 6 feet tall. They have 6- to 8-inch shiny coarsely toothed leaves. All varieties are useful in borders and near a house. The flowers may range from pink to blue depending on the soil's acidity.

How to grow

Variety Zones Pruning
Hills of Snow 4-10 Early Spring
Big Leafed 5-10 After Flowering
Peegee 4-9 Early Spring
Oak Leafed 5-9 After Flowering

Hydrangeas grow in full sun or light shade. To liven up a shady area, choose light colored blossoms. To improve moisture retention and soil texture, ammend with compost or leaf mold before planting. Big-leafed hydrangeas require acid soil: pH 6.0 to 6.5 for pink flowers, pH 5.0 to 5.5 for blue ones. For seaside gardens, choose big-leafed hydrangeas. For hedges, plant hills-of-snow hydrangeas 2 to 3 feet apart.

Propagate from softwood cuttings of young growth in late spring or early summer, from semihardwood cuttings of more mature growth in mid- or late summer, or from hardwood cuttings of dormant leafless growth in fall or winter. Hills-of-snow and oak-leafed hydrangeas can also be propagated by digging up and replanting the underground branches known as suckers and by forcing a branch to grow roots by ground layering.

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