Hydrangeas have had a reputation for being old fashioned, but their popularity is experiencing a resurgence as a new generation of gardeners fall in love with these romantic blooms.
Hydrangeas are hardy, easy to grow shrubs that happily tolerate shade and moist conditions. In fact, they tend to suffer sunburn in full sun and dry out in the wind – a shady, south facing position is ideal.
Hydrangea blooms are seen in white, pink and blue – and every shade in between. White hydrangea varieties always bloom white, however the coloured bloom variety has fascinated generations of gardeners as colours vary depending on the pH of the soil. Acidic soil (a pH of less than 7) produces blue blooms, while an alkaline soil (pH of more than 7) produces pink flowers. A relatively neutral pH (around 7) will produce mauve. You can test your soil with a pH kit available in-store, or simply wait to see the flowers that your plants produce. If the colour is not what you hoped for, increase the pH for pink flowers by adding lime, or decrease for blue with Hydrangea Blue (aluminium sulphate). Just remember that changes to the pH need to be made slowly, and should begin before July for your December blooms.
Don’t be afraid to pick the flowers to display indoors, they look spectacular and the plants love this sort of gentle trimming.