Big Leaf HydrangeaHydrangea, macrophylla
Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs producing sumptuous petals of color to add beauty to the garden. But they need to be forgotten once their flowers have died. Hydrangeas can be captured easily in dried flower arrangements, providing the last gasp of the summer garden. Pick the blooms on a clear dry day in late summer and hang to dry. Prune after flowering so they can develop “old wood” to support blossoms the following summer. Avoid pruning after August 1st.
Use and Management
Hydrangea has pink and blue flowers. Flower color is determined indirectly by the soil ph, which affects the availability of aluminum in the soil. In acid soils the flowers will be blue, in alkaline soils the flowers will be pink.
Hydrangeas grow from 4’ to 12’ in height depending on the variety. Hydrangeas are effective as single plants massed and can be placed in containers. They grow in well-drained soil, which should contain plenty of organic matter or humus.
They respond best with several light applications of fertilizer during the growing season. A general-purpose fertilizer applied at a rate of 2 cups per 100 square feet in March, May and July. Hydrangeas have such big leaves that they need plenty of water, so plan to water thoroughly once per week.
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