Essential Hydrangeas For Your Garden!

Hydrangeas are synonymous with summer and are a welcome sight in the garden when spring blooms fade in the rising heat. These beautiful perennials provide multiple long-lasting blooms all summer long. Our expert horticulturalists have identified some varieties of large leaf hydrangeas that are great additions for your own home garden!
1. Big Daddy Hydrangeas: These hydrangeas have blooms as big as birthday balloons and are perfect for flower arrangements. These giant balls of color can be found at Marion Square, Corrine Jones, and Tiedemann Park and Nature Center.
2. Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangeas: One of the few hydrangeas native to the United States, this is a hearty shrub ideal for wooded areas. Snow Queen Oakleafs always begin with white blooms that tend to become more pink and then brown as they age. You can find many of these lovely hydrangeas at Marion Square along King Street.
3. Endless Summer Hydrangeas: True to their name, these hydrangeas can bloom for much longer than other varieties. The size and blooms are smaller but each plant can have many more blooms than a larger hydrangea. The Conservancy planted Endless Summer Hydrangeas in the garden beds at Shaw Community Center.
4. Lacecap Hydrangeas: A bit more delicate than the rest, this variety is harder to grow but can be twice as rewarding to see bloom! With only one bloom during the summer season, pretty flower petals circle a crop of tiny flower buds in the center and wait for their turn to open. Visit Chapel Street Fountain Park and you can find a few Lacecaps hiding in the shade along Elizabeth Street.

Hydrangeas bloom during the summer and need to be watered often to keep blooming. Hydrangeas need 6-8 hours of sun, with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Interesting fact: Did you know that you can change the color of your hydrangeas? Depending on the pH level of the soil in which they are planted, all hydrangeas (except for white hydrangeas like the Snow Queen Oakleaf) have the potential to be blue or pink.

It is much easier to change blooms from pink to blue than vice versa. To obtain a blue hydrangea, aluminum must be present in the soil. To ensure that aluminum is present, aluminum sulfate may be added to the soil around the hydrangeas. To make the aluminum available to the plant, the pH of the soil should be low (5.2-5.5). Adding aluminum sulfate will tend to lower the pH of the soil. Another method for lowering the pH is to add organic matter to the soil, such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, or grass clippings.

For hydrangea blooms to be pink, the plants must not take up aluminum from the soil. If the soil naturally contains aluminum, one must try to keep it away from the hydrangea’s system. Here are a few tricks that might work:

1. Add dolomitic lime several times a year. This will help to raise the pH. Since hydrangeas take up aluminum best at lower pH levels, raising the pH will help to keep the bluing effect of aluminum out of the hydrangea’s system.
2. In areas that naturally produce blue hydrangeas (soils with aluminum), consider growing pink hydrangeas in large pots. If hydrangeas are grown in pots, it would be best to use soil-less mixtures, since these mixes would probably not have aluminum in them. In a pot, it will be much easier to control the requirements for growing pink hydrangeas.

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