Our plant of the month for August is Hydrangea.
Hydrangeas are wonderful plants and often under rated; they flower for months right up to the frosts, they grow to a good sized shrub so are ideal for adding structure to your borders and they can be used as a cut flower too.
The most popular hydrangea are Hydrangea macrophylla Mopheads which have large ball-like blooms. Hydrangea macrophylla Lacecaps have a flat flower-head with an outer ring of large flowers surrounding a central group of smaller flowers.Hydrangea paniculata have cone shaped flowers.
The main colours of the flowers are white, pink and blue but they often bloom in shades of lilac and purple. Take a look below at a great selection from Crocus.co.uk.
If you buy a blue Hydrangea and want to keep the flowers blue it is best to grow it in acidic soils with a pH of 5.5. When grown on neutral soil (pH 7) the flowers will tend to turn more mauve or even pink.
To maintain the blue flowers keep the soil acidic by treating with aluminium salts or grow your plant in a large container filled with ericaceous compost and feed regularly with a special ericaceous feed.
White or pink hydrangeas are happy growing in neutral or alkaline soil.
To care for your hydrangea:
- In dry weather water regularly and soak well if there are signs of distress
- Keep the flower heads on over winter and remove them back to a strong pair of buds, in spring after the danger of frost has passed
- Take out diseased shoots
- Mulch young plants with a well-rotted manure or compost in spring
- Once established, remove a quarter to a third of the shoots to the base of the plant