Hydrangeas were first introduced by Sir Joseph Banks from a Chinese garden in 1739. They’re the birth flower of June, and almost always blooming then. If you have arrived at this page, there is probably a good chance that you already know what they look like. I have, however, included a few pictures of them, simply because they are so beautiful.
Big Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) are the most commonly planted kind, and the ones with the largest and most show-stopping blooms. There are also other kinds of hydrangeas, but for now, this article will focus on the showiest and most popular type; big leaf hydrangeas.
Where do Hydrangeas Grow? Hydrangeas are hardy to -20 degrees celcius, although cold winds at -15 degrees celcuis will kill tender wood to the ground. In colder areas, damage to the buds may occur in winter and late spring, so be prepared to provide some winter protection by covering the plant with an old sheet, blanket or cardboard container when temperatures drop below freezing. If you live in an area with winters a bit colder than -20 degrees celsius, a cylinder of chicken wire placed around the plant and filled with leaves can provide excellent cold protection.
Choosing a location for a Hydrangea Bigleaf hydrangeas prefer partial shade. Morning sun and afternoon shade is perfect in inland areas, while on the coast, no shade is required. Give them moist, well-drained soil. Avoid planting Hydrangeas on hot, dry, exposed sites.
Planting a Hydrangea Incorporate compost, well-rotted manure or mushroom manure thoroughly into the top eight to 12 inches of soil with a shovel. Organic matter holds nutrients and water in the soil and helps prevent stress from fluctuations in soil moisture levels.
As with any other shrub, plant the root ball level with the soil surface, and water thoroughly immediately after transplanting.
Fertilization and Watering Hydrangeas Don’t fertilize Hydrangeas at all until they are established. This will be 4 to 8 weeks after transplanting. Once established, feed with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Hydrangeas are water-demanding. Water whenever the plant begins to wilt in the absence of rainfall. Avoiding this wilt is particularly important during the spring months when the flower heads are forming, so be sure to monitor the soil moisture around your hydrangeas during dry weather.