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Slide 16

Hydrangeas are very popular because they produce a glorious show in gardens, they are versatile and they can grow well in coastal areas as well as in shadier woodland areas.

When we think of hydrangeas, we usually think of big-leaf hydrangeas and mountain hydrangeas These are deciduous shrubs and are usually identified by the shape of their flowers. Mop-head types have large, ball-shaped/pom-pom like flowers. Lace-cap types have flat, delicate clusters.

The sheer number of choices among hydrangea species, hybrids, and cultivated varieties can be overwhelming even for the most advanced gardeners. How do you choose from the mop-heads, climbers, lace-caps, and oak-leafs, to name just a few? And how do you care for hydrangeas?

Why Aren't My Hydrangeas Blooming?
One common cause for lack of flowers is too much shade. Hydrangeas do well in partial shade. Plant your hydrangeas in an area where they receive morning sun. They can also thrive in full sun but may need extra water on hot summer days. (Big-leaf hydrangeas do particularly well in full sun in coastal areas once they are established.)

Cultural practices are sometimes the cause of the lack of flowers. If hydrangeas are given too much high-nitrogen fertilizer, they may produce lush foliage with few flowers. Good watering practices are also important for healthy plants.

Winter die backs can be a problem in colder regions. Plant your hydrangeas in a more sheltered spot.

The biggest culprit for a lack of flowers is incorrect pruning. Big-leaf hydrangeas flower on old wood. Hydrangeas tend to need minimal pruning, but if you would like to reduce the size of the plant or prevent it from flopping over too much, technically the best time to prune these shrubs is immediately after flowering. The easiest thing to do at this time is take out some of the older canes, which will reduce crowding and encourage new growth. However, when cold winters kill the tips of the branches, prune in spring. Before the hydrangea starts to leaf out, remove deadwood and cut the stems back to a healthy set of buds. If you have an established shrub, you can also take out several of the older stems at this time. Make sure that you do not remove too many buds; otherwise you will lose the blooms.

Ever-Blooming Hydrangeas
If all of this sounds too complicated, there is hope! New varieties have been introduced in recent years that flower on both old (last season’s) and new (this season’s) stems. These are sometimes referred to as ever-blooming hydrangeas. They flower almost continuously throughout the season.

These ever-blooming varieties include "Endless Summer®", Mini Penny™, ‘Oak Hill’, and ‘Penny Mac’ to name just a few. It will tell You on the labels or ask our knowledgeable staff for the repeat bloomer varieties!

Long Blooming Hydrangeas
There are other vigorous old and new cultivars that flower over a very long season. These are sometimes called free-flowering hydrangeas such as Nikko Blue.

Changing the Color of Hydrangea Flowers
The color of big-leaf hydrangeas is not only determined by cultivar, but the soil pH. The soil pH will determine how available aluminum is to the plant. Acidic soil will give you blue flowers (aluminum available to the plants), and alkaline soil will give you pink flowers (aluminum unavailable to the plants).

To decrease the acidity of your soil (to change flowers from blue to pink), add lime to your soil. to increase the acidity of the soil (to change flowers from pink to blue), add aluminum sulfate to your soil.

Here at Van Bourgondien Nursery we have many varieties of hydrangeas and all the accouterments you need to be a successful hydrangea gardener!

Happy Gardening!



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