Garden

Hydrangea - Hydrangea macrophylla


GeneralitŠ°


The scientific name is hydrangea, and these shrubs come mainly from Asia, in particular from China and Japan; very common in cultivation, among the many species in the gardens it is usual to choose deciduous hydrangeas, in particular the macrophylla species.
They are shrubs of size ranging from 40-50 cm, up to a few meters, with deciduous, dark green leaves, large and wrinkled, which make the whole bush full and rounded, already in early spring.
The main reason why the hydrangeas are grown is definitely the flowers: large spherical or umbrella-shaped inflorescences, white, blue, pink, purple.
The small flowers that make up the corymbs of the hydrangeas are very particular, in fact generally towards the center of the inflorescence we find fertile flowers, very small, with stamens and pistils sometimes evident; on the outside of the inflorescence, instead, there are sterile flowers, wider, consisting of sepals which in practice serve as decorative bracts.
Among the many varieties of hydrangeas grown in the garden, including cultivars and hybrids, we can find inflorescences consisting entirely of sterile flowers, and also others consisting only of fertile flowers.
The garden-grown hydrangeas in Europe bloom from late spring, May or June, until the first cold of autumn; the flowers are often left on the shrubs even in winter, where drying up becomes very pleasant and special. In the nursery we can find flowering hydrangeas starting from January-February.

Despite the delicate and fragile appearance of the inflorescences, the hydrangeas are vigorous and rustic shrubs; most species lose their foliage on arrival of cold, to enter vegetative rest; therefore during the winter the thin branches do not fear the frost, not even the intense one.Surely the element to pay more attention to by cultivating hydrangeas is water: we can plant our plants in a sunny or shady place, let's remember to always keep the soil cool and moist, from April to September; therefore we remember that the hydrangea placed in full sun in August will need to be watered several times in a day. This great need for water usually leads to growing hydrangeas in shady or partially shady places; after all these shrubs are among the few that bloom and develop without problems even without receiving sunlight directly.We can also grow hydrangeas in pots, in this case the water needs increase, and the use of a saucer, which always keeps a good quantity of water available, may be necessary.Hydrangeas, like most hydrangeae, prefer fresh and loose, fairly rich soils; show the particularity of varying the color of the blooms according to the ph of the soil: in a strongly acid soil the hydrangeas produce sky-blue flowers; the more the soil becomes alkaline and the more flowers become pink; in neutral soil the hydrangea flowers are cream colored.For this reason it often happens that a hydrangea with blue flowers, just bought in the nursery, produces pink flowers in a couple of years, once placed in the garden. If we want to make the flowers of our pink hydrangea blue, we can add an aluminum-based soil improver to the soil; remembering however that the use of these soil improvers does not quickly produce the variation of the color of flowers.Hydrangea soil



Hydrangeas, like most hydrangeae, prefer fresh and loose, fairly rich soils; show the particularity of varying the color of the blooms according to the ph of the soil: in a strongly acid soil the hydrangeas produce sky-blue flowers; the more the soil becomes alkaline and the more flowers become pink; in neutral soil the hydrangea flowers are cream colored.
For this reason it often happens that a hydrangea with blue flowers, just bought in the nursery, produces pink flowers in a couple of years, once placed in the garden. If we want to make the flowers of our pink hydrangea blue, we can add an aluminum-based soil improver to the soil; remembering however that the use of these soil improvers does not quickly produce the variation of the color of the flowers.

To obtain a beautiful hydrangea shrub it is necessary to keep it compact by pruning the longer branches, proceeding with pruning towards the end of winter, when the buds are already very evident: it removes about half or a third of the branches, also cleaning the plant from any flowers from the previous year and from broken or very delicate branches.
The hydrangeas purchased in the nursery already in bloom, in January or February, are grown in the apartment until late spring; placing a flowering hydrangea in the open air in winter causes a very strong stress to the pint, which can seriously damage it; in fact to obtain the flowers in winter these shrubs are forced, cultivating them in a temperate greenhouse.