Hydrangea Heaven during July.
Hydrangeas are a flowering shrub that really start to come into their own during July. They will flower right through until at least October and are available in a number of different sizes, colours and flower shapes. They are really a show stopper during the Autumn months, when other plants you may have in the garden are coming to their end of season.
Hydrangeas in the right location!
Most Hydrangea will flower best when they receive morning sun and afternoon shade. They love to be planted in an area that has moist but free draining soil. There are a number of different types of Hydrangeas, including mopheads, lacecaps and the paniculata. Mopheads are the big globular heads of flowers and can cover a large space. The Lacecaps then have flat flower heads with florets surrounding a cluster of flowers. Paniculata hydrangeas are the hydrangeas ones with the cone shaped flowers and they will tolerate more sun than the regular mophead varieties, so keep this in mind when planting.
Hydrangeas love water, the clue is in the name, Hydra. During the last few weeks of really dry weather your Hydrangeas would have appreciated a good watering. It is better to give a long drink, so leave the hose for a few minutes when watering the hydrangea, rather than just giving them a quick splash. This will ensure that the Hydrangea will continue to put down long roots in search of water rather than short roots near the surface.
Applying a layer of mulch such as bark chip will hep to retain moisture in the soil. It will also help to suppress weeds around your Hydrangeas. You could put down a layer of cardboard first, dampen with a hose and then a layer of bark.
The pruning of your Hydrangeas is just as important as the watering. Bear in mind the variety of hydrangea that you have as it’s not a case of one size fits all. Some Hydrangeas flower on this years new growth and others flower on last years old growth.
When pruning Mophead Hydrangeas, remove any dead or diseased branches. Leave the old heads of the flowers on the plants over the winter months, this protects the new growth from early frost in the spring. If it’s getting too big and you want to cut it back, I recommend cutting a third of the branches each year so that you will continue to have flowers every year. Alternatively, you could always bite the bullet and cut right back and forgo any flowers this year. This is very much a personal decision.
Paniculata Hydrangeas can be pruned in early spring. Remove one third of the stems, leaving 2 sets of green leaves on the stems . This will encourage strong new growth for the season ahead.
Lacecap Hydranges will flower on last years growth. In April remove the flower heads to just above a pair of new green buds. Make sure to be cautious when cutting the plant as it’s easy to knock the new buds off by mistake.
Feeding your Hydrangea
There are particular feeds that you can give Hydrangeas, or you can also use a multipurpose feed. One way or the other, I recommend using a feed with a slow release fertiliser and to start feeding your Hydrangeas from April onwards. This will encourage bud and flower growth. Ensure what ever feed you choose is not too nitrogen heavy as this will encourage leaf growth rather than flower growth.
Hopefully these tips will help you to have an amazing show of Hydrangeas over the coming months ahead.
As always if you need any assistance, then just call into see me at Rockbarton, Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
Photo: Lacecap Hydrangea at Rockbarton