Unique hydrangea

Magnifiques hortensias du Trégor, Bretagne

Hydrangeas are highlights of the summer with their magnificent flowers in hues from pink to blue. Easy to care for, they are among the most beautiful flowering shrubs.

Native to Asia, hydrangeas are now grown everywhere. They generally bloom from the beginning of summer to the end of fall. The soil’s acidity is what determines the color of their flowers. This is why some plants boast elegant fuchsia colors and others are in hues of blue. The more the soil is acid, the bluer the flower will be. Hues will shift from pink to red if the soil is neutral or chalky. Hydrangeas are appealing whatever the color of their flowers. They are perfect for shaded spots and bring touches of bright colors to enlighten those darker corners.

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In gardens or on balconies

Clearly, hydrangeas, or Hydrangea macrophylla as their latin name goes, are among the most decorative shrubs in any garden.

In flower beds beneath majestic deciduous trees, as part of seaside flowered hedges, or climbing on a north-facing wall, they sooth our view with their round flowers that turn almost golden in the fall. These are not their only strengths… Hydrangeas are also very comfortable in pots for those who have a balcony instead of a garden.

Finally, they require very little care and maintenance. Prune once a year, after the last frost spells around March, as this will help boost flower-bearing. Cut branches older than three years at the base, near where young shoots emerge, to lighten up the hydrangea’s silhouette and spur the growth of these new shoots. Also, at the end of fall, remember to cut wilted flowers.

When should they be planted?

hydrangeaTheir many assets have convinced you to indulge and you have also fallen victim to the hydrangea’s charms…

Make the best of either of two most favorable seasons to plant them in your garden: from the beginning of September till fall, as long as the soil is still warm (in this case, mulch well before winter hits), or the beginning of spring, once the last frost spells are past.

Once your hydrangea has settled in, check on it every once and a while…

This type of shrub regularly comes under attack by scale insects. If so, you’ll find white balls on stems, or leaves will turn black. To avoid this, go for a winter treatment of scale-insect organic spray.

Discover: a video showing how to correctly prune hydrangeas

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Image credits: Hydrangeas 1 and 2: ©Aquaphoto Fotolia; hydrangea 3: ©Esanud Fotolia