The rains are finally here!
This is the perfect time to give your favourite ‘water loving’ plants a try. One plant that should be on your radar this season is the Hydrangea.
First discovered in Japan, the name Hydrangea derives its name from the Greek word “hydor” meaning water and “angos” meaning jar or vessel. This refers to Hydrangea’s need for plenty water.
Unrivaled in the shrub world for beautiful flowers, these elegant plants are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil and produce abundant blooms.
Blooming in shades of clear blue, purple,vibrant pink with some selections in frosty white,green or red, they are hard to resist
As with most plants in your garden, learning the basics of how to plant Hydrangeas can save you a lot of time and money.
- Best time to plant Hydrangeas
It is best to plant Hydrangeas during the rainy season. The idea is to give the shrub plenty of time to establish a healthy root system before blooming and given that they require moist soil, the rains are a plus.
However, if you decide to plant during the hot season, it would be wise to time your planting for early morning or late afternoon .This will offer protection from heat stress.
Note that during the hotter months of the year, your Hydrangea will need to be kept well watered so ensure you have enough water during this period.
2. Where to plant Hydrangeas
They do well in partial shade so pick a spot in your garden where they’ll receive morning sun and less heat in the afternoon.
Its also important to note that you should avoid planting them directly under trees because the trees roots will compete for the rich moist soil around you hydrangea. We don’t want that. 🙂
3. Type of soil
Hydrangeas thrive in rich, well drained, moist soils. It’s a good idea to work in some well rotted manure or compost prior to planting Hydrangeas.
They always appreciate a layer of mulch during the hot dry season to help conserve moisture and feed them up for the coming growing season.
This is the act of cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems.
There are two main reasons to prune hydrangeas : to remove dead or damaged stems and to control their plant height and girth if they outgrow the space they’re occupying. The latter is especially important when you’re dealing with potted Hydrangeas.
To prune or not to prune?
Source: Instagram @bobbiesblooms
Pruning hydrangeas is mostly a matter of choice and it depends on the type of Hydrangea you have.
The first step of pruning is identifying what type of hydrangea you have. For instance, Hydrangea Macrophylla (Lacecap and Mophead), which is the most common Variety, is often pruned after blooming.
Pruning has an effect on the number of blooms in the next season. If its done at the right time and done correctly, you’ll enjoy more blooms the next blooming season.
Getting it right is important!
This is by far the most unique aspect of Hydrangeas:)
An interesting quirk of Hydrangeas is their ability to change the colour of their flowers in certain soils. However, this process takes weeks, months even.
Bigleaf hydrangeas(H.macrophylla) – especially Mophead and Lacecap types are the predominant cultivars that are known to change colour based on the pH of your soil.
Acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5 produce blue flowers: Alkaline soils (pH greater that 5.5) produce pink flowers.
After having your soil tested for pH, its fairly simple to increase acidity(for blue) or alkalinity(for pink).
- To go blue
Apply a solution of Aluminium Sulphate (you can get this at your local agrovet ) * mixed with water three times per year.
*I am not too sure about the ratio so enquire from your local nursery.
- To go pink
Spread ground Limestone over the plant and water it well because excessive alkalinity causes chlorosis, or yellow leaves.
Landscaping with Hydrangeas
They can be used as hedges, screens and even container plants – depending on the variety. They are large showstoppers even when a single hydrangea is planted, which is excellent news for gardeners with small spaces.
The effect they have when they are planted in a group is simply astounding. They grow big, so if you do choose to plant them in a group, space them 2m apart to give them some wiggle room.
With immense flower heads and large green leaves,these beauties flaunt a charm that is hard to resist. Get one from your local nursery and give it a try!
That’s your gardening tip of the week.
I’ll see you next time.