One of the most beautiful flowering shrubs that can be found throughout rural and urban gardens from the south to the north is the Hydrangea. If you want carefree shrubs that bring delight and beauty – you want Hydrangeas in your cottage garden.
This shrub grows next to our barn and is enormous! It gets more sun than the rest, but it has thrived for many, many years. I have given plants away to friends – it sends shoots underground creating many small plants. These gorgeous white blooms will naturally dry and fade to a beautiful rust color in the fall.
This lovely “Lady In Red” Lacecap Hydrangea was a gift some thirteen years ago. Ladies from our church came by for tea and gifted this beautiful Hydrangea. It was gorgeously red, but the acidic soil of the south has turned its blooms a shade of blue.
This Hydrangea was started some three years ago from an old shrub at my Mother-in-Law’s home. Hydrangeas are very easy to propagate. I simply chose a cutting about 5 to 6 inches long; I kept two small leaves; dipped the stem in rooting hormone and kept the soil moist. In just a few weeks roots developed and it was ready to be planted in the Fall. Today it blooms gloriously next to the steps to the side porch…the blooms have various shades of blue, lavender and pink…I suppose the soil is quite diverse there!
The Do’s and Don’ts In Caring For Hydrangeas
- In the South, plant where there is early morning sun…the intense heat of the sun can burn a Hydrangea
- Make sure your soil is moist and not heavy with clay
- Do not prune certain Hydrangeas after August…that’s when the next year’s blooms are being formed…on “old wood”
- Only Annabelle and PG (Paniculata) Hydrangeas bloom on “New Wood”.
- Always prune away dead branches and faded blooms
- After some time you can prune away some of the “Old Wood” if your Hydrangea gets too big
- With that said…give your Hydrangea plenty of room…they LOVE to grow!
- Fertilize with slow release fertilizer or manure.
- Keep soil moist…don’t worry if the blooms wilt mid afternoon – they will be fine the next day…it’s just the heat of the day
- Propagating is easy…see my method above….
- Drying Hydrangeas – I’ve had success with allowing cutting the blooms and allowing the water to evaporate away…but, they work best if allowed to partially dry on the bush. Silica gel also allows for the color to remain intense.
I’ve heard it said that the holy trinity of flowering shrubs for the south are the Gardenia, Camellia and the Hydrangea…I believe this to be so in giving you beautiful blooms throughout the year…If you’ve ever wanted to grown or have admired the Hydrangea I urge you to give it a try…You may end up like me arranging a whole garden dedicated to these lovely blooms.