Hydrangeas have oval leaves with serrates edges, but they are mainly grown for their flowers. Who can forget the magnificent flowers of the hydrangeas? Whites, reds, pinks, purples, blues and all shades in-between. Flowers heads are created by long-lasting bracts Flat-top (lacecap), rounded (mophead) or conical, that form the backdrop to tiny short lived, true flowers. The bracts can last for months as the weather cools, they will take on shades of antique green and purple.
Hydrangeas grown best in a semi shaded position where they will receive morning sun but be in shade for the afternoon therefore being protected from the hottest part of the day. Keep in mind, Hydrangeas do not like extremely hot conditions. Typically hydrangeas prefer rich, moist soil that drains easily.
Hydrangeas become available from October on and best time to plant out hydrangeas is in spring once the threat of frost has passed. It is a good idea to improve soil before planting by mixing plenty of compost or organic matter. Always water thoroughly after planting.
WATERING: Hydrangeas need regular watering, particularly in late spring and throughout the summer. The most important thing to remember is not to let them dry out, or they will wilt. It is also important to keep hydrangeas well-watered while blooms are forming, because if they dry out at this stage the display will be ruined for the season.
Hydrangeas growing in the ground require a deep soaking once or twice a week, where plants in pots need daily watering when weather is warm. Through you need to keep the watering up to hydrangeas in pots, they make wonderful pot plants, as this allows flexibility of moving them out of the way when they are looking bare in winter.
FLOWER COLOUR: Hydrangeas are amazingly in that the flower color can be altered, according to the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of the soil. Plants grown in acid soil (pH 5 or less) are usually blue, as soil pH heads towards the neutral and alkaline (pH 7 or more) flowers turn mauve, pink and red. White flowering hydrangeas will remain white regardless of soil pH.
Add to soil in spring lime (calcium carbonate) to encourage pinkness and aluminium sulfate to promote blue color flowers or fortunately Hydrangea Blueing or Pinking Tonic comes in a ready to mixed pack for your early use.
Begin applications late winter and apply once a month until October following the directions on pack. Ultimate results will be determent by the basic soil pH. But it can be fun to experiment and there are some fascinating in-between shades.
Even if not altering flower color, hydrangeas still need fertilizing. Throughout the growing season feed regularly with liquid fertilizer or with slow release pellets.
PRUNNING: Hydrangeas can be pruned any time after flowering is over, although pruning can be left until mid-winter.If hydrangeas are pruned too fiercely year after year flowering will be reduced, so just cut back the current season’s growth to two plump eyes or leaf buds. Don’t cut back into old grey wood. Leave stems that have not flowered as these will produces the following season’s flowers.
DISEASES: Hydrangeas are prone to fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Pull off and dispose of affected leaves. If the problem is severe, spray with a fungicide. Like Mancozeb pus garden fungicide and miticide.