Hydrangeas come in all shapes and sizes! Many grow to become attractive, medium sized shrubs that look stunning in borders, but some are compact enough to be grown in a container, while others form magnificent climbers.
Hydrangeas prefer a sunny or semi shaded position, in a cool area of the garden with shelter from cold, drying winds. For this reason they are especially useful for brightening up shaded borders and make a lovely feature in the dappled shade of woodland gardens. Try to avoid hot, sunny areas and east facing spots where colds winds can damage the spring growth.
Grow Hydrangea plants in any rich fertile, moist soil. It’s a good idea to work in some well rotted manure or compost prior to planting Hydrangeas, and they will always appreciate a mulch of organic matter in spring to help conserve moisture at their roots and feed them up for them for the coming growing season. On light soils, it is a good idea to feed Hydrangeas with an ericaceous fertilizer.
Shrubby Hydrangeas such as Hydrangea macrophylla cultivars, Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens can all be treated in a similar way. Flowering on the previous year’s wood, they generally need little maintenance, but pruning will certainly help to produce a better display.
Prune Hydrangeas after flowering, reducing the stems to restrict their growth to the available space and to improve the shape of the plant. In cold areas leave the faded Hydrangea flower heads in place until the new buds swell in spring. This helps to protect the delicate buds from frost damage.
If necessary, neglected Hydrangea plants will tolerate hard pruning to form a low framework of stems in spring, however this will mean sacrificing the majority of the flowers for that year.
Climbing Hydrangeas will require a little training in the early years to encourage their stems to cling to walls and fences. Tie them in to their supports until they are firmly attached – this may take several seasons. Prune climbing Hydrangeas immediately after flowering by removing the faded flower heads and shortening the stems to fit the available space.
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