You are here Plant Care Grow the best - Hydrangeas

Grow the best - Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are known as Christmas flowersHydrangeas are commonly known as Christmas flowers in South Africa because they flower this time of the year. The most popular are the classic big leafed French Hydrangeas and this month they are the pride of the garden as they come into full bloom.

There are many varieties to choose from. New and very exciting is the variety "Vanilla Strawberry" This hybrid flowers white on red stems and then as the flowers age they change to pink then strawberry tones giving the shrub a mixture of colours. The new varieties also are repeat flowering giving you another flush of flowers in the New Year. Look out for the different colours of the Endless Summer range.

To grow the best is easy following our simple tips:

All Hydrangeas appreciate a little extra effort when they are first brought home. Although most will tolerate some neglect, they do best in a well-prepared garden bed. Dig the hole at least 2 times the size of the original pot. Mix 1 part compost or acid compost to the excavated soil with a handful of Bone Meal, insert the plant, mound the soil slightly and soak well.

Where to plant them

The Lace Cap hydrangeas are unusualCaring for Hydrangeas is easy. They prefer morning sun or dappled shade all day as long as they get protection from the heat of the day in a moist but well drained soil. If they are in too much shade they tend to get mildew on the leaves and don't flower well. In autumn they turn a lovely golden yellow and then you prune them sparingly in the winter as they flower on old wood from the previous summer.

Basic care

The colour of the blooms is influenced by the pH of the soil - blue if acid and pink if alkaline. To influence the colour for blue, use Shake and Grow Blue or add eggshells to the soil. Acid Compost is also a good way to influence acid soil. To influence pink blooms, fertilise with Shake and Grow Pink or add Agricultural lime.

Although hardy and relatively disease free there are a few things that can hamper the performance of your Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are susceptible to iron chlorosis which is the yellowing of the leaves over time. In contrast to nitrogen deficiency, which is expressed as general yellowing of old leaves, iron chlorosis is found on new leaves where the green veins are visible on yellow leaves. Iron chlorosis can be corrected by the addition to iron to the soil. The best way to do this is to use Iron Chelate and you should begin seeing results in a couple of weeks. Apply the iron yearly or whenever symptoms reappear.

As a generic non colour influencing food the Starke Ayres Hydrangea food includes iron so your plants get their iron fix right through the year.

Hydrangea blushing bride Double flowers of You and Me