Hydrangeas: Blaze of colours in the shade

Garden Life
For a long time, hydrangeas have been regarded as quite old-fashioned flowers. Nowadays, however, these persistent flowering shrubs experience a renaissance. Their romantic flair makes them the favorite of many gardeners. Below, you will learn more about the requirements, species and maintenance of hydrangeas.

Soil and habitat

Hydrangeas like deep, slightly acidic, humus-rich soils. Up to a height of 1.5 m, they can also be cultivated as container plants.
Hydrangeas feel most comfortable in a partially shaded, airy place.
For fully shaded to semi-shaded locations, hydrangeas macrophylla, hydrangeas petiolaris, hydrangeas aspera and hydrangeas arborescens are well suited. Sunny locations are well tolerated by Hydrangea quercifolia and Hydrangea paniculata.


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

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

Hydrangea arborescens reaches a height of up to three meters and forms white to greenish-white flowers. Blossom time reaches from June to September. Characteristic for hydrangea arborescens are their very slender branches. A particularly popular representative of this type is the snowball hydrangea.


The most important point in care is watering. During warm, dry weather, hydrangeas need to be watered at frequent intervals. Potted hydrangeas should never dry out completely.
If you intend to influence the colour of your hydrangeas, you need to pay attention to the soil conditions. In acid soils, hydrangeas develop blue blossoms, whereas they have pink ones in alkaline soils.
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. However, do not cut them back too much; this has a negative effect on flowering.

Picture: © Phobeke - Fotolia.com