Research: Identifying Hydrangeas
When I moved into the cabin, it already had a hydrangea bush. I have two more now. They were both gifts that came in as house plants. They are planted nearby each other in the front and have been much more successful than expected. We also have wild hydrangea growing around us.
I’ve done a little research to try to figure out what I have and how I should care form them. There are a lot of different kinds of hydrangeas, but most garden centers stick with these:
French or Bigleaf Hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla)
This is what you see everywhere.
Mophead Hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla hortensia)
Globe-shaped clusters of large male flowers
Lacecap Hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla normalis)
Flattened flower heads with female flowers in the middle and male flowers on the outside
They start to bloom early in the summer and have flowers until early fall. People are forever telling me how to turn them blue. I really don’t want them to be blue. I think they look very good the color they are.
Smooth Hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens)
Large bushes with flowers that start out green, then turn white.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia)
The leaves are shaped like oak leaves and may be green or colored red or orange. The flowers are white.
Panicle Hydrangeas (hydrangea paniculata)
Cone shaped clusters of white or pink flowers.
Mountain Hydrangeas (hydrangea serrata)
The flowers look like Lacecap Hydrangeas, but the flowers and leaves are smaller. The flowers may be blue or pink. They can take colder temperatures.
Hydrangeas at the Cabin
So what do I have? I’m not positive, but I think the first one is a Mophead Bigleaf Hydrangea. I think the next one was a Lacecap Hydrangea. And I think the last one is a Mountain Hydrangea, because the leaves are smaller and thinner.
I haven’t done much but trim back any sticky outy bits to keep their shape and cut back any dead flowers. People keep telling me how to turn them blue, but I really like them the colors they are.
“To make soil more acid, just sprinkle ½ cup of garden sulfur over the soil beneath the hydrangea, and water it in. To make it more alkaline, do the same with lime. Endless Summer Color Me Pink and Color Me Blue products supply pelletized lime and sulfur respectively. Depending on the size of your plant and your soil conditions, you may need to apply it several times. Be patient; results may take months.”
The Grumpy Gardener’s Guide to Hydrangeas, May 2017 Southern Living