Hydrangea for tubs and gardens

John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON
John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON

Look at most people’s gardens at this time of year and you will find the popular shrub Hydrangea.

Now is a good time to buy Hydrangea, with lots of varieties and colours ranging in height from 80cm to 120cm.Nearly all losetheir leaves in winter, but have great autumn colour.

Low-growing varieties can be grown in containers. Two new such varieties have just arrived in the Centre: Minty Ice, which is pale blue, and Pink Lollipop, both growing about 80cm.

At the beginning of the year simply cut the plant back hard and it will flower in late summer.

A good variety is Red Angel which has dark red flowers and dark red foliage, height 120cm.

Other varieties:

1. Paniculata - usually white tinged pink height 30cm.

2. Lacecap – this is when the centre of the flower stays tight and only the outer layer of petals appear.

3. Mop Head - the most popular. The petals open up and give an outstanding display, with flowers being up to 20cm across.

Blue or pink hydrangea can change colour according to the PH of your soil. An acid soil will produce blue flowers and an alkaline soil with produce pink flowers. White and red flowers retain their colour and will not change.

Pruning Hydrangea can be confusing. Modern varieties flower on the wood made in the same year, so simply cut back to a strong pair of buds in early spring.

On older varieties need pruning differently. They will only produce flowers on wood which has been produced the previous year. Prune these varieties by cutting out those stems on which a flower was produced in the previous year. All other stems should be left to produce the flowers later.

When planting, always use a good planting compost like Westland Rose Tree & Shrub with a four-month feed. Dig a hole two or three times larger, break up the bottom to help with drainage, add some grit or stones, and add compost in the bottom and more compost around the plant.