Hydrangea is another flowering plant that has a kazillion different species. But the one that we see most is from the Hydrangea Macrophylia (Big Leaf, Mophead or Lacecap).
Hydrangeas are beautiful bushy plants that brighten up any yard. A single plant or an entire hedge of Hydrangeas provide spectacular colour and greenery. The flowers bloom from early spring to late autumn and thrive in shady areas. Besides a good dosing of water once a week (depending on the temperature), they don’t need much care if they’re thriving.
Want to Change the Colour of Your Hydrangea?
The colour of the flowers is determined by the acidity of the soil in which they are planted: blue in acidic soil; pink in alkaline soil. So, if you planted a Hydrangea plant with pink flowers in acidic soil, they will turn blue.
What If Your Hydrangea Won’t Bloom?
It’s worth visiting your local nursery and checking the acidity of your soil. Check out this Serenity Now blog for tips and photos on this.
(Note: This advice is just for the Mophead variety, which is the classic Hydrangea plant that you see most often.)
There’s a lot of conflicting advice about pruning, but this is what I have gathered from research and experience. Hydrangeas can be fickle, so do your due diligence before extensive pruning.
During late fall and winter, Hydrangeas look quite dead, so it’s tempting to prune them then; however, like many flowering plants, they set their bloom-buds during late summer or early fall. That means if you prune them when they look dead, you could risk cutting back live growth and have no blooms the following spring.
In the spring, wait for your Hydrangea plant to come back – they come back slowly, so be patient. Green leaves and buds will appear on the new growth, and the old dead growth becomes obvious and you can cut it back.
If you want to prune more, you should do it by mid-summer. You can cut back to the next node in the stem. This removes the old bloom, but doesn’t damage the next spring’s blooms.
If your Hydrangea is out of control, or if its flower production is way down, you may want to cut away the oldest stems. Do this in late winter. You can prune up to a third of the plant this way. Late winter is key. If you’re uncertain, do a little one year, observe the results and then, if the plant responds the way you want it to, do more the next year. Patience!
If you want to remove the old flower heads, do it right after your first flowers fade. Don’t do it in fall or you risk losing your spring blooms and exposing your plant to winter injury.
Cut Flower Tip:
I bought some Hydrangeas on Sunday so I could photograph them this week. On Tuesday, I hadn’t photographed them yet, and I noticed that they had drooped and were wilting. Oh no! I searched the internet to see if there was a way to revive them. There were a bunch of recommendations including using bleach, vinegar, or floral preservatives.
In the end, I tried the putting the flowers in boiling (yes, boiling!) water and it worked beautifully. My wilted Hydrangea came back and are still looking great 72 hours later:
- Boil some water
- Cut the stems about an inch, or take off what appears to be dead
- Wrap the blooms loosely with paper towel so steam doesn’t damage the blooms
- Pour 3” to 4” of the boiling water into a heat-resilient cup or vase
- Put the stems into the boiling water and wait
I had two stems that were wilting and one that looked like it was done. The two not-so-bad stems revived within a couple of hours. When I got up the following morning, I was shocked to see that the completely wilted stem had revived as well.
It’s worth a try!