Hydrangea throughout the seasons
Hydrangea macrophylla is one of our garden plants that best showcases the extreme differences in seasons. From looking like nothing more than a bunch of twigs during winter to its stunning bountiful blooms in summer. Hydrangeas are also known as the Christmas flower owing to their amazing flowering during the festive season. As they flower for months on end, Hydrangeas remain on of the more popular garden plants. These days there are numerous varieties that maintain their colour, or flower more often.
The attribute of Hydrangeas that sets it apart is the ability to change colour depending on the pH of the soil, ranging from brilliant pinks to deep blues. Plant them in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade and your Hydrangea will be looking its best. They also work great in pots, which enables you to move them to where they show off best when in bloom. There are varieties that flower more than once a season, producing new flowers after the initial flush. Follow the seasonal guide below to get the best from your Hydrangea year round.
Summer – Time to shine
- Your Hydrangeas should start flowering from November through to January. The flowers really are a sight to behold and make all the waiting worthwhile.
- Feed them regularly with a fertiliser for flowering plants and give them a good layer of mulch to save on watering.
- Prune back old flower heads once they start fading. The dried flower heads can be used for decorating afterwards.
- Once the rain starts, fungal diseases such as rust and mildew can be a problem. It is best to spray them as soon as the rainy season arrives to prevent these. Luckily there are alternatives to agro-chemicals, such as copper and amino acid based products.
Autumn – Time for decline
- As the weather starts cooling down your Hydrangea will start declining and shed its leaves.
- There is no need to continue spraying for mildew, as your Hydrangea will lose its leaves in any case.
- Be careful of over watering during this time.
Winter – Time for rest
- Your Hydrangea will look like a bare shrub only consisting of sticks during this time.
- Let them rest for now.
Spring – Time for growth
- As spring starts buds on the previous season’s growth will start to swell up.
- Prune your Hydrangea by cutting away at least a third of the previous season’s growth.
- The previous season’s growth is also known as new wood and has a lighter to greenish colour than the darker older growth, or old wood.
- Start to feed your Hydrangeas with a fertiliser for flowering plants as soon the large green leaves start to grow. Feeding your Hydrangea from springtime will ensure that you have massive amounts of blooms later on.
Blue vs Pink
- As alluded to earlier, Hydrangeas have the amazing ability to change its flower colour depending on the pH of the soil.
- For blue flowers aim for a lower pH by mulching with acid compost and/or using ammonium sulphate or an acid plant fertiliser.
- For pink flowers, you will aim for a higher pH. You can increase the alkalinity of the soil by applying agricultural lime or a fertiliser for pink Hydrangeas.
- The intensity of the colour of your Hydrangea depends on various other factors such the general health of the plant, climate, hydration and hereditary factors of the specific Hydrangea variety. Therefore a Hydrangea that has naturally lighter flowers will at most achieve a shade of lavender with a neutral soil pH.
- In more tropical climates, with hot and humid weather, Hydrangea flowers may turn green.
A flamboyant Hydrangea in full bloom is one of the delights of summer. They can be used for decorating and flower arrangement with aplomb. Hydrangeas work particularly well for dried flower arrangements. To dry them, just suspend them upside-down in a well-aired room. Have a look at some great decorating tips when using Hydrangeas. Used on its own as a cut flower they are also guaranteed to catch the eye. A Hydrangea will truly become a feature in the garden and will leave guests delighted. Plant one this holiday and you will be able to enjoy its beauty every year.