Friday, 13 June 2008


While the greater number of H.macrophylla cultivars are raised to be forced as early flowering pot plants, they remain a very popular garden plant and many of the forced specimens are planted outside, when they have finished flowering. Suburban front gardens abound with them and they produce annually masses of bold flower heads. They are also called garden hortensias (Hortensias were named in honour of Hortense, lovely daughter of 18th century botanist Prince de Nassau) or' the mopheads' and I absolutely love them. Most of the hydrangeas in my garden belong to that group. The rest are Hydrangea arborescens, a smooth variety with striking white blossoms that adore their place in full/partial shade. They can also be pruned harder to maintain shape and desired height. I don't have any of the lovely 'Lacecaps' but that will surely change in the future.

All Hydrangeas are greedy feeders, and what you need for vigorous growth is rich soil, with plenty of moisture-retaining material like peat etc... As far as pruning is concerned, little is needed apart from the removal of dead flower heads in March. The fading flowers are quite attractive and provide some winter protection, so removal before March is not recommended. I was once told to prune it hard in order to get richer blooms; I did get larger flower heads but the blooms were nowhere as rich as before. Quite expectable, if you have in mind that hydrangeas bloom on the previous years' wood; this year I didn't prune apart from remove last season's faded blooms, and there's flower clusters galore again...

I have also never experimented with manipulating their flower colors, although the pink ones were bought as blue varieties and then turned pink/mauve due to alkaline soil. I love them just as they are but will try and 'manipulate' one next year... just for the fun of it.

3 komentari:

Brenda Kula said...

Well, you just told me why mine won't bloom! Okay, now I know what to do. I was mentioning my lack of blooms to someone just today.

Niels Plougmann said...

Your Hortensias are lovely, wheter they are blue or not. You can change the soil PH level by using a special fertilizer with aluminum-sulphate
it works for sure: See this link.

Bayer has a similiar product here in Europe: but I do not know the English name: here it is called 'farv mig blÄ' which translates into something like -color me blue:

It is also a good idea to use a special fertiliser for the acid loving plants - like FX. ammonium sulphate.

Barbara said...

I just found you via Ewa's blog and wanted to say a little hello after having read some of your interesting posts. BTW I love hydrangeas too.Up to now I never manipulated them. I don't minde which colour they have as long as they are blooming. I guess this year isn't a very good one for them as I have noticed. Maybe they cannot bloom every year so rich as last year.
Enjoy your garden. Greetings from Switzerland,

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