If you're looking for a garden flower with some show appeal, hydrangea flowers are the way to go. They’re native to Japan and South East Asia and will flower in different pastel hues, depending on the type of soil they’re growing in.
Large balls of delicate flowers cover this shrub in summer and spring and although their appearance may seem high maintenance, with the right conditions, hydrangeas are actually fairly easy to care for.
Hydrangeas produce masses of flowers and have year-round foliage interest - all produced with the minimum of maintenance. The flowers beguile as they bloom pink and blue, depending on soil type - the more acidic, the more lilac the colour and the more alkaline, the bluer they go.
The hydrangea genus is native to southern and eastern Asia (from Japan to China, the Himalaya and Indonesia) and North and South America.
Plant your hydrangea in light shade. However, you can plant in a sunnier place if the soil is not too dry in summer. Plant away from frost pockets or to reduce late frost damage to new spring growth.
Hydrangeas tolerate part shade as well as sunny spots in the garden.
Keep newly planted hydrangeas well-watered. If there is one thing hydrangeas need it is plenty of moisture. However, waterlogged roots can lead to root rot so make sure soil is free-draining.
Distance from other plants
Plant hydrangeas 3-10 ft (90-300cm) aprt as the plants can grow fast and spread without annual pruning.
Annual or perennial?
Perennial. The flowers bloom in spring and still look attractive in winter as skeletons of what they once were.
Common pests and how to combat them
Hydrangeas are pretty robust. However, hydrangea scale can be a problem. Use a pesticide spray in mid-summer or replace badly infested plants.
Did you know?
In 1739, the botanist Grovonius gave this plant the Latin name Hydrangea. He thought that the shape was reminiscent of an ancient water pitcher. Combining the words 'hydro' (=water) and 'angeion' (=barrel or pitcher) resulted in the name Hydrangea.
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