Types of Hydrangeas
Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue'
- The most popular type of bigleaf hydrangea
- Large flower heads
- Purple, blue, and pink in color
Hydrangea macrophylla normalis
- Identical to mopheads except for the shape of their blooms
- Purple, blue, and pink in color
- Center buds are the fertile flowers
- Large, showy blossoms are the sterile flowers
Hydrangea 'Tiny Tuff Stuff'
Hydrangea macrophylla Serrata
- The least common variety of bigleaf hydrangea
- Much smaller flowers than the other varieties
- Extremely hardy and built to survive harsh winters and climates
- Known for their cone shaped flower heads
- Blooms change color throughout the growing season
- Very cold hardy
- The only variety of hydrangeas that will form trees
Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Garnetta'
- Also known as wild hydrangeas, this type is native to the United States
- Grow to be quite large and are therefore sometimes planted as hedges
- Incredibly large, showy blooms
- Leaves shaped much like those of a red oak tree
- Foliage changes color in the fall
- Requires a relatively hot summer to bloom well
- Does not do well in continuously moist areas
Hydrangea 'Ruby Slippers'
- Native to Asia
- Can grow 30 to 80 feet long
- Large blooms
Hydrangeas enjoy morning sun and partial shade in later parts of the day. Both full sun and full shade are not ideal and can cause lower flower output.
Hydrangeas require consistent moisture throughout the growing season. We recommend giving your plants a deep drink of water one to two times a week. Water deeply until the ground feels wet, but is not waterlogged. Giving them a light sip of water every day is not recommended becasuse the water will not seep down into the roots sufficiently. A good way to check if your hydrangea needs water is to stick your finger four inches into the grounds. If it feels dry at that depth, then it's time to water!
On particularly hot days, hydrangeas will show signs of distress. This midday wilt is built-in protection for the plant and doesn't necessarily mean that your hydrangea needs water. Recheck it at dusk to see if it has recovered in the cooler temperatures before watering.
Hydrangeas enjoy a nutrient-rich soil, but be careful not to over-fertilize. Too much high-nitrogen fertilizer will cause foliage to be nice and full at the expense of fewer blooms. Spreading a nice layer of compost and fertilizer in the spring and applying a secong round of fertilizer mid-summer should be sufficient for most varieties.
You may have heard that hydrangeas can change color and that's true, but only for certain varieties. Hydrangea macrophylla blooms change color depending on the pH of the soil they are growing in. For these plants, acidic soil produces blue flowers and neutral to alkaline soil produces pink!
If you are looking to change your hydrangea from pink to blue or vice versa, be patient! This process can take several months and you may not see noticeable results until the following season.
The best time to prune hydrangeas is in the spring.
Bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on old wood, so best practice is to leave as much of last year's growth as possible and prune stems back to a pair of healthy buds if pruning is necessary. These types should not be cut back in the fall, as they are in the process of going dormant and cutiing the old wood will reduce blooms in the following season.
All other varieties bloom on new wood, which is the current season's growth. For these plants, it is recommended to cut off faded blooms in late summer to encourage more growth. Established plants of these types can be cut back to the ground in the fall, but cutting younger, less established plants in this manner can make it difficult for them to survive the winter.