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.
This evergreen relative of the Hydrangea has the most gorgeous large rounded heads of bright blue flowers which make a real show. Prefers a semi-shaded spot in soil that does not dry out completely in summer. Protect from harsh frost. Evergreen.
Colour: Blue Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 1.8m
Dichroa Blue Sapphire
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Large dark pink '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.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 1m
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.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
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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 or side dress with Aluminium Sulphate.
Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 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.
Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
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.
To ensure that 'Blue Diamond' stays blue plant in acid soil or side dress with Aluminium Sulphate.
Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
A beautiful 'Lacecap' Hydrangea in tones of blue. The tiny central florets are surrounded by a halo of larger deep blue florets resulting in a large showy flat flower head. To ensure the flowers remain blue must be planted in acid soil or side dressed with Aluminium sulphate. Deciduous.
Colour: Blue Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m
Mophead. Brighten up the shrubbery or flowering border with this Hydrangea that has large round heads of carmine red flowers from summer to autumn. Happiest in morning sun or part shade in nice humus rich soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
To maintain the carmine-red colour of the blooms side dress annually with Lime.
Colour: Red Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
Lacecap. AKA 'Hanabi' which is the Japanese name for fire-works and aptly describes the blooms of this gorgeous Hydrangea. The large flattened flower heads have an outer halo of double white florets encircling the dense central zone of smaller, light blue florets. Dazzling! Deciduous.
Best planted in a semi-shaded position in soil that does not completely dry out in summer.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
An unusual double flowered Lacecap Hydrangea with magnificent flower heads in shades of white. The flowers cascade gracefully on slender stems. Easy to grow but will perform its best with protection from the afternoon sun and in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 70cm