About Hydrangea

Hydrangea Flowers

Genus

Hydrangea

Species

Known also as Hortensia, the Hydrangea is composed of many flowering plant species. It is native to mostly Asia, which has the greatest diversity of Hydrangea. However, a few species of Hydrangeas are also native to some parts of the Americas.

There are about 75 species of the Hydrangeas, most of which produce white-coloured flowers. However, Hydrangeas also come in shades of pink, blue, red, light, and dark purple.

History

Derived from two Greek words, ‘hydro’ and ‘angos’, (meaning water and vessel respectively) Hydrangea is notorious for its high affinity for water. This love for water gave Hydrangea its famous nickname, the water barrel.

Hydrangea is native to Asian countries such as the Himalayan mountains, Japan, and Indonesia. Still, many believe its first place of discovery is in Japan, where in ancient times, the emperor gave it as a symbol of love to the family of a lady he was in love with.

In the Victorian era, Hydrangeas were more than just beautiful flowers. The white-flowered Hydrangeas were symbols of braggadocio but in more recent times, they represent appreciation.

Hydrangea Flowers

Appearance

Hydrangeas grow in flower-heads often referred to as corymbs. Usually, there are two types of flowers on the Hydrangea flower-head: the small ones that grow from the center of the flower-head and a much larger one extending outwards to form a ring.

Based on the flower arrangement, Hydrangeas comprise two types: Bigleaf Hydrangeas and Lacecap Hydrangeas. Bigleaf Hydrangeas come with a large round flower head, whilst Lacecap Hydrangeas have flat large heads surrounding smaller flowers at the center.

Additionally, many refer to Hydrangeas as snowballs because they grow in large white clusters. The most common types are the bigleaf Hydrangeas, while Panicle Hydrangeas are the roof-shooters, which grow as much as 15 ft tall.

Growth & Maintenance

Hydrangeas are resilient plants. You can find some appearing in warm areas (Oakleaf Hydrangeas), making them ideal for the summer temperatures. There are also the Smooth Hydrangeas, which thrive well in the cold.

Autumn is the most suitable season to plant Hydrangeas. As the plant brings out new buds in early summer and blooms in spring, planting in the autumn season gives enough time for root development before it starts to blossom.

Autumn is the most suitable season to plant Hydrangeas. As the plant brings out new buds in early summer and blooms in spring, planting in the autumn season gives enough time for root development before it starts to blossom.

To plant Hydrangea, dig holes that are a couple of feet wider than the root-ball. Allow consistency between the hole's depth root-ball size. This approach will allow the plant to sit nicely on the surface of the soil.

Lastly, the application of fertilizers depends on the type of Hydrangea you plant. The Bigleaf requires fertilizers during March, May, and June. However, for Oakleaf and Panicle, it’s best to add fertilizers during April and June. Smooth Hydrangea, on the other hand, require fertilizers when the temperature gets colder.

Read more from the Our Guide To Spotting Flowers series

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By Miles Warner 21 September 2020