Hydrangeas: Jewel of the Southern Summer

There are few flowers more beautiful, more inviting, than a luscious blooming hydrangea bush. Hydrangeas are native to Asia and there are over 75 species in existence in a wide variety of colors. Most of the species variation can be found in Japan and China although there are over a dozen varieties that grow well here in America.

Hydrangeas can be deciduos or evergreen although most American types bloom in the late spring and early summer, particularly in the Southeast when temperatures rise. There are actually two different flower formations in the hydrangea world: mophead and lacehead.

The mophead variety is the most easily identified by its round bunch of buds that resembles a pom pom, usually brightly colored. The lacehead variety is a bit more delicate and features a ring of healthy flowers surrounding a smaller core of more fragile flowers.

The most common colors seen in the US are blue, white, pink, and purple. Of course, within each color family there are a variety of different shades and mixtures but for the most part, U.S. hydrangeas come in one of these four color schemes, impacted by the pH of the soil. In actuality, all hydrangeas start out white naturally but the pH level of the soil can darken the petals of the buds over time. A pH less than 6 will make the plant bluer while a pH over 6 can make it more pink or purple. It’s possible to adjust the pH of your home soil to achieve the desired hydrangea color.

It’s important to talk to your local nursery or a lawn care professional about the correct pruning schedule for your variety of hydrangeas as some need more shearing than others. Some species can only produce flowers off of “new wood” and need to be pruned after each bloom. Your local plant expert can give you all the information you need about what a hydrangea plan in your area has to have to survive.

Hydrangeas do very well in the southeastern United States, notably in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia. There are many successful cultivars in Texas and the wetter parts of the southwest, too, and also in the Northwest. Hydrangeas can grow in the Northeast but need direct sunlight and may need to be covered in winter.

If you’re thinking about growing your own hydrangea plant, contact a local lawn service pro today to find out more about the options that will work in your yard.