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Hydrangeas: Blaze of colours in the shade

For a long time, hydrangeas have been regarded as quite old-fashioned flowers. Nowadays, however, these persistent flowering shrubs are experiencing a resurgence. Their romantic flair makes them a favourite of many gardeners. Below, you can learn more about the requirements, species and maintenance of hydrangeas.

Soil and habitat

Hydrangeas like deep, slightly acidic, humus-rich soils and feel most comfortable in partially shaded, airy locations. Hydrangeas grow up to a height of 1.5 meters and can also be cultivated as container plants.

For fully shaded to semi-shaded locations, hydrangeas macrophylla, hydrangeas petiolaris, hydrangeas aspera and hydrangeas arborescens are best suited. Sunny locations are better suited to Hydrangea quercifolia and Hydrangea paniculata.

Types

Hydrangea macrophylla can reach a height of up to two meters and require large amounts of water. Its flowers are ball-shaped and bloom in white, pink or blue. The flowering period lasts from December to March. This type is very popular for indoor use.

Hydrangea sargentiana has large, velvety leaves and can reach a height of two to (rarely) four meters. The flowers form flat umbels of up to 30cm in diameter. With their sweet scent, they attract many nectar gathering insects.

Hydrangea arborescens reach a height of up to three meters and form white to greenish-white flowers. Hydrangea arborescens are characterised by their very slender branches.

Care

The most important point in hydrangea care is watering. During warm, dry weather, hydrangeas need to be watered frequently. Potted hydrangeas should never be let to dry out completely. If you intend to influence the colour of your hydrangeas, you will need to pay particular attention to the soil conditions. In acid soils, hydrangeas develop blue blossoms, whereas in alkaline soils they develop pink ones.

In spring, it’s time for pruning. Old flowers are cut off and if you want to thin out your plant, remove some of the older stems. Be careful not cut back your hydrangeas too much as this can have a negative effect on flowering. 
 
Picture: © Phobeke - Fotolia.com

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