My mom has mentioned more than a few times how amazing her home garden is and I’ve watched her as she’s cultivated and added to her stock and it’s nothing short of amazing. From the first day in spring through the depths of winter, there is always something growing, blooming, or showing off in her yard. Since I’ve been “stuck” in apartments for the past couple of years, my attempts at gardening or growing things has been limited (and majorly unsuccessful).
So what’s a 20-something to do when she needs a little something bright? Sneak over to Mom and Dad’s to snip a few blooming beauties…duh! While I was over there this past weekend, doing some heavy lifting, I decided to pay myself with a couple stems of hydrangeas from Mom’s garden. There were more than a few to pick from….
Then, I realized it was already July, so I can officially introduce our flower of the month for July: Hydrangeas! Below, I’ll go into a few common questions that come up when talking about hydrangea’s and why I love these blooms so much (they take a close second place to peonies for me!).
When Do Hydrangea’s Bloom?
Broadleaf, Oakleaf and Annabelle hydrangeas usually start blooming (and keep going) in the late spring and early summer. Other varieties of hydrangeas, including the smooth hydrangea and the climbing hydrangea, only produce blooms once around early summer to midsummer.
When Should They Be Planted?
For best results, plant hydrangeas in spring or fall, when temperatures are mild. They aren’t really picky plants, so whenever is convenient for you, should work for the plants.
How Should I Plant It?
When you do get around to planting your hydrangea, be sure to dig a hole that is twice the width of the container. Add 1″ of organic material, like compost or peat moss, to the soil to improve drainage and moisture retention. This is especially important for clay soils that may not drain well. Break up the soil with a shovel or hand rake. When placing the hydrangea into the hole, spread the roots wide, then fill the hole back in. Water deeply, until a puddle forms around the newly planted hydrangea.
How Long Do The Blooms Last?
Hydrangeas of all sorts bloom throughout the growing season. Individual blooms last for weeks, while the plants continue to put out new blooms to replace the old through the summer. Most gardeners prune away old, spent blooms to encourage the plants to put out new flowers.
How Do I Combat The Hydrangea Droop?
This is something we’ve talked about a few times (like here and here!), but the best method we’ve found to combat the drooping hydrangea’s is alum. It’s a spice you can find at most grocery stores, its cheap and it lasts just about forever.
Try to cut your hydrangea blooms in the morning while the weather is cool and be sure to take a pitcher of water with you. Right after cutting the bloom off, plop the stem in the water, so they’re immediately soaking up more water. Then, as you make your arrangement, re-cut the stems and give them a dip into the powdered alum. Then, just arrange as normal!
We know, we know…the alum is “washed off” when you place the stem in the vase, but it’s ok! It’s already done its job and chances of getting drooping hydrangea stems are slim to none!
How Many Colors Do Hydrangeas Come In?
Although not all hydrangea flowers change color, colors may differ seasonally, depending on the weather, stress on the plant and even environmental changed! You may notice in the pictures from my mom’s garden that even though the plants are relatively close to each other, each of the plants have different colored blooms–sometimes even on the same plant! How is that even possible? Well, for broadleaf hydrangea’s, the color of the blooms can change between pink and blue, depending on the soil’s pH balance and aluminum levels.
Just take a gander at these blooms I cut from my Mom’s garden–talk about variety!