Hydrangeas are among the oldest flower-lover’s favorites. It’s the flower most everyone remembers seeing in their grandmother’s garden or hedging her house.

There are about 100 species of hydrangea. The hydrangea is a hardy perennial plant, but only in zones where the winter temperatures don’t fall below 25 F. Temperatures lower than that will kill the new flower buds that produce next season’s blooms.

That’s right…buds that form on growth from the previous year. This is called ‘old wood’. This is similar to the blooming and bearing practices of the blackberry. For this reason, however, it is important to know how and when to prune your hydrangea. Pruning should be done immediately after blooming in the spring.

GROWING & CARING FOR HYDRANGIAS

Just like pruning, starting hydrangeas from cuttings is easy and successfully done IF done at the right time. The right time being June. The cuttings have to be taken from soft wood, should be 6 to 8 inches long and should be stripped of all but the top set of leaves. Place the cutting in wet (not soggy) sand, vermiculite, sphagnum moss or a glass of clean water. Put a clear plastic dome over the cutting and place in bright, but not direct, light.

Once the cutting is well-rooted, plant it in a container or the ground in soil that is rich in loam and peat moss.

It is also important to remember to water your hydrangea well. They are thirsty and like their water.

HYDRANGEA FACTS

Hydrangea bloom in white, pink, blue or purple. But do you know why? Hydrangea are ph testers/indicators. This means that the color of the blooms is dependent on the acidity of the soil. The more acidic the soil gives blooms of blue/purple. Alkaline soil produces pink blooms and neutralized soil will give you white blooms.

Hydrangeas should be controlled by pruning the foliage. You can even cut the plant to the ground and mulch in colder climates to protect against freezing and for growth the following year.

Hydrangeas are rather pricey if you buy well-established plants. So unless you wish to invest $25-$60 dollars, you may want to consider asking someone if you can take cuttings from theirs.

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