I invite you to click on this link to view my Keynote slide presentation created for the Centerville Public Library two years ago. All About Hydrangeas_
Every year the plant breeders and prominent growers like Monrovia and Proven Winners announce their new introductions. Certainly exciting news for the “plantoholic” and collector, but a little confusing when making decisions on selecting plants for our gardens. Most of us do not have large estates with acres and acres of land, gardening crews and unlimited time to indulge that fantasy. There are hundreds of thousands of plant species and we need to be very selective in our choices. Climate, growth habit, soil conditions, maintenance requirements, et. al. all factor into the equation. Seek advice from your local nurseryman and do some research before buying that lovely little baby. It is difficult not to be impetuous as we are presented with wonderful color at the entrance to our garden center_they know our affinity to color and it is a marketing strategy.
I have chosen a few of the more recent introductions from the ever growing list of available Hydrangea species. Hydrangea ( common names_ Hydrangea and Hortensia) is a genus of about 70 to 75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and North and South America. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous. We who live on Cape Cod love hydrangeas and they could be said to be the quintessential Cape Cod plant. This year a festival is planned in their honor. They thrive in our climate and soil profile and are the backbone of many of our gardens.
It is tough to single out any particular variety as they all have their role and importance in our landscapes. Let this be the beginning of your investigation.
“Early Sensation” hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla “Early Sensation”), a cultivar in the “Forever & Ever” series of hydrangea, is prized for its large, rounded clusters of flowers, which are an intense pink or blue, depending on the soil’s pH. “Early Sensation” grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide and offers an ability to bloom well in cooler climates where other hydrangeas tend to struggle.
The “Early Sensation” hydrangea survives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9. The average extreme minimum temperature in USDA zone 4 is -20 degrees Fahrenheit to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. This hydrangea generally benefits from full sunlight in the morning and some shade in the afternoon. “Early Sensation” can perform well even if grown in a container, which permits more control over the plant’s growing environment.
Blue Enchantress® Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’ PP #25,209
Item #9275 USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
Light needs: Partial SunWater needs: ModerateAn exquisite new re-blooming hydrangea with stately ruby-black stems supporting big, beautiful, mophead flowers. Blooms continuously through summer- flowers are blue in acid soils and pink in more alkaline soils, fading to a lovely cream-splashed green. Prized for cut or dried flower arrangements. An enchanting selection for the mixed shrub border.
Mini Penny™ Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mini Penny’ _ USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
Light needs: Partial SunLight needs: Full ShadeWater needs: HighKey Feature
Large mophead flowers appear nearly continuously on this exceptional dwarf, compact shrub. Blossoms tend to be blue when planted in acidic soils, and pink in more alkaline soils. A wonderful container plant, low flowering hedge or highlight of a flowering border. Highly disease resistant foliage. Deciduous.
Bobo® Hardy Hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata_ USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
Light needs: Full SunLight needs: Partial SunWater needs: ModerateKey FeatureA new dwarf hydrangea that is sure to turn heads! Reaching to just three feet tall, it will be engulfed by enormous creamy white flowers in summer, providing a nonstop show until frost. Blossoms are held upright on strong stems, and continue to grow and lengthen as they bloom. In fall, flowers may turn a pinkish hue. An undeniable asset to any garden, particularly where space is limited.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hororb’
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
Light needs: Full SunLight needs: Partial SunWater needs: ModerateKey Feature If you’re looking for an unusual hydrangea with bright color, this is the plant for you! Vivid mop-head flowers emerge green and peach, maturing to hot pink. The distinctive black stems are interesting even when the plant is not in bloom. An excellent summer color item for the mixed border. Good for cutting. Blooms on old wood.
Zinfin Doll™ Hydrangea paniculata
The Let’s Dance reblooming hydrangea series continues to improve and expand with Blue Jangles®, a compact selection with delightful rich blue (or pink) mophead flowers. A real standout in the garden and in the container because of its sturdy frame and its propensity to bloom, this workhorse will delight you with rich blooms each summer. Available in better garden centers Spring 2015. Add aluminum sulfate to the soil to encourage blue flower color.
* One of my favorite resources on care, culture and pruning practices is All About Hydrangeas. All plant care notes directly from either Monrovia or Proven Winners.