It’s Hydrangea Time!

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August is a great time to visit local retail nurseries and garden centers to see the many new varieties of hydrangeas that are on the market. It’s also a good time to make plans for new garden additions.

Although the macrophylla types are fading, the paniculata and reblooming types continue to flower their hearts out.

A recent conversation with a local nursery manager revealed not only the interest in this great summer flowering shrub but also the ever growing number of new forms and varieties that are available on the market.

Here’s a quick run down of what’s popular:

  • Wedding Gown also known as Dancing Snow is a Lacecap Hydrangea with an appearance of a mini bridal bouquet, with an outer ring of large, double flowers surrounding a center packed with smaller, double ones. Flowering begins earlier than that of most varieties of Hydrangea macrophyllaand continues on new growth into fall if spent blooms are removed regularly. It is also reblooming type that blooms on both old and new growth and reportedly has better winter hardiness than many of the other H. macrophylla cultivars in commerce today. Even if old growth buds are damaged in winter, plants should still flower in summer on new growth. Also unlike many of the H. macrophylla cultivars in commerce today Wedding Gown flower color is not determined by soil pH, the flowers remain white and do not take on blue shades in acidic soils or pink shades in alkaline soils. Wedding Gown stays compact (3’T X 4’W) and prefers light shade.
  • Star Gazer is another double compact (3’T X 5’W) form of Lacecap Hydrangeas with double picotee blooms that are two toned – blue with white edges in acid soils and pink with white edges in alkaline soils.
  • Of the Panicle Hydrangeas Limelight and Little Lime continue to be popular. Bobo is a new dwarf form (30” T X 36” W) engulfed in large white flowers that are held upright on strong stems that continue to grow and lengthen as they bloom. In fall they can turn pinkish.
  • Hydrangea Great Star bears rounded clusters of unusually shaped creamy white flowers that are up to 4 in. wide, with wavy, elongated petals. Plants typically reach 6 – 7′ tall and have a nearly upright, arching habit. They will grow in full sun or partial shade and flower from midsummer until the first hard frost.
  • BloomStruck Hydrangea is the newest addition to the Endless Summer collection of reblooming hydrangeas grows 3 – 4’ T X 4 – 5’ W. It blooms on old and new growth, constantly pushing out new flower heads measuring 3 – 5” across. Intense rose-pink, violet or blue flower heads are held upright on striking red-purple stems. As with other hydrangea, BloomStruck’s flowers can be pink, purple or blue depending on soil pH.
  • Snow Flake continues to be the ever popular form of our native Oakleaf Hydrangea with stunning white flower clusters made up of multiple bracts that give the appearance of a double form with blooms reaching 12-15” long. Bloom season is much longer than single flower species with florets continuing to open throughout summer. Deeply lobed, oak tree-like leaves turn brilliant purple and crimson in the fall.
  • Munchkin is an exceptional U.S. National Arboretum oakleaf hydrangea introduction (seedling of the Sikes Dwarf) offering a profusion of large flower clusters with flowers that open white and age to pink, remaining upright even after heavy rain. Foliage turns brilliant mahogany in fall. A compact, dense habit (3’ T X 4’ W) is suited for smaller landscapes.
  • Ruby Slippers, another compact oakleaf form introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum, shows a profusion of exceptionally large flower clusters opening white, quickly aging to deep pink and again are robust, remaining upright after heavy rains. The foliage turns a brilliant mahogany in fall.

Look for these and more of the amazing Hydrangea group at your local nursery and retail outlet – if you can find them… if they haven’t sold out already.