These high performing yet undemanding deciduous shrubs were a little out of fashion for a while being considered a little "common". Nowadays they are a "hot" item on the export cut flower market and as a garden plant they have deservedly earned the respect from a new generation of gardeners.
Hydrangeas are really easy to grow and will adapt to most conditions however they will perform their best when given some dapled afternoon shade and plenty of water when it is hot and dry in summer. The name Hydrangea comes from the Greek hydor which means water and aggos which means jar. Most Hydrangeas grown in New Zealand are varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla (large-leaved), often referred to as Mop Head or Lace Cap. The colour range includes shades of white, cream, blue and pink.
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The flower colour, especially in the blue and pink range is often dependent on your soil type. If you have alkaline soil then your flower heads will be pinker, if you have acid soil your flower heads will be a nice strong blue. You can alter your soil ph by adding Lime to intensify the pink shades and Aluminium sulphate for the blue shades. This must be done before flowering. Hydrangeas should be pruned in July or August and are one of the easiest shrubs to prune. Use a nice sharp pair of secateurs to cut just above the swollen leaf buds which will apear on either side of the stems. Cut back by at least 1/3. They are fabulous mass planted in a border, ideal for screening and hedging and simply wonderful picked for long lasting indoor display. Look too for Hydrangea grandiflora varieties which have elongated flower heads in a gorgeous frothy cream which fade to rusty pink as they age.
Hydrangea quercifolia is another top performer with coarse textured leaves that are reminiscent of an oak leaf. The foliage turns a rich red in autumn and holds well through the winter. The gorgeous large cream blooms on fresh green foliage in summer are almost secondary to the autumn display. So take another look at Hydrangeas, we promise you won';t be disapointed.
Mophead. Tall growing with large rounded flower heads in crisp white, this highly rated Hydrangea will do best in semi-shade where the flowers will age to an attractive green tone. Plant in humus rich soil that does not completely dry out in summer for best results. Deciduous.
Flower Colour: White / Green Habit: Upright Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 1.5m x 1.5m
Large hot pink to purple 'Mophead' flowers appear from summer to autumn offset by glossy green foliage. Plant in morning sun or semi-shade in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Colour may vary depending on soil type. Deciduous.
Mophead. An strong growing upright Hydrangea with large round pink flower heads from summer through to autumn. Plant in morning sun or semi-shade in nice rich soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Side dress annually with Lime to maintain pink tones. Deciduous.
This Hydrangea hails from the USA and is commonly known as the 'Smooth Hydrangea' because of the thin soft heart shaped leaves. Large heads of white flowers open from green buds in summer. The flowers turn green again as they age. Needs a semi-shaded position. Deciduous.
'Annabelle' is very hardy and will flower well even if cut back quite hard each year. Ensure your soil does not completely dry out in summer for best results. The flower heads are poised gracefully on the tips of the branches and this Hydrangea looks simply stunning in full flower.
Flower Colour: White / Green Habit: Upright Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 1.8m x 2m
Mophead. The flower colour of this Hydrangea is quite unusual with tones of lilac, blue and dusky pink. Very striking in full flower and lovely to pick. Happiest in morning sun or semi-shade in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Flower Colour: Lavender / Blue Habit: Compact Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 1.5m x 2m
Lacecap Hydrangea. Stunning Hydrangea with large flat flower heads made up of deep blue florets that surround the tiny central flowers that are in turn a deeper shade of blue. Nice glossy green foliage sets the flowers off. Plant in morning sun or semi-shade in rich acid soil. Deciduous.
To ensure that 'Blaumeise' stays blue plant in acid soil, side dress with Aluminium Sulphate.
Flower Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 100cm x 100cm
Pretty in pink this compact Hydrangea has large 'Mop Head' flowers of deep 'crushed raspberry' pink. Lush foliage with bronze-maroon overtones. Grow in morning sun in soil that is not too dry. Side dress with lime to maintain the pink colour. Deciduous. AKA Merveille Sanguine or Raspberry Crush.
Flower Colour: Red Habit: Compact Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 60cm x 60cm
A really pretty Lace Cap Hydrangea with soft powder blue florets that highlight the central head of smaller blue flowers. Nice compact growth habit. Happiest in morning sun or semi-shade. To ensure flowers remain blue plant in acid soil or treat with Aluminium Sulphate. Deciduous.
Flower Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 1.5m x 1.5m
Gorgeous rounded tight 'Mophead' blooms in vivid blue will decorate the garden from summer through to autumn. Nice compact growth habit. Happy in the garden or a container in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Morning sun or part shade. Deciduous. PVR.
To ensure that 'Blue Diamond' flowers stay blue plant in acid soil, side dress with Aluminium Sulphate.
Flower Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 80cm x 80cm
Mophead. Lush fresh green foliage and large rounded heads of cornflower blue will delight in summer-autumn. Plant in morning sun or semi-shade in rich acid soil for best results. Side dress with Aluminium sulphate to maintain the blue colour. Deciduous.
To ensure that 'Blue Prince' flowers stay blue plant in acid soil, side dress with Aluminium Sulphate.
Flower Colour: Blue Habit: Upright Mature Size 7-10 yrs (HxW): 100cm x 100cm