Growing Hydrangeas In Zone 9 Gardens: What Is A Hydrangea?
A hydrangea is a plant belonging to the family Fabaceae which includes such plants as daisies, dahlias, lilies, marigolds and many others. There are over 200 species of hydrangeas found throughout the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times. The genus Hymenaea was named after the Greek word hymene meaning “to grow.”
The flowers of these plants consist of three parts: stamens (the female part), pistils (the male part) and ovaries (which produce seeds). These flowers vary greatly in size, shape, color and scent. Some species only bloom once or twice a year while others may flower every month!
Hydrangeas are perennial herbs that require little care other than regular watering. They prefer well drained soil with good drainage. They will not tolerate poor soils, sandy or clayey soils and they do best in bright light conditions. Most hydrangeas need at least partial shade during the day so they can perform their photosynthesis. When grown from seed, hydrangeas usually reach maturity within one to two years but some species take up to five years before reaching maturity.
The leaves of the hydrangeas are usually colorful, they are either green or purple. Rain and humidity will intensify their leaf coloring.
The flowers of the plants are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors. They are divided into three groups known as:
1) mophead which includes such species as H.
macrophylla and H. arborescens,
2) lacecap which include such species as H.
serrata and H. hyrcana and
3) panicle, which includes H.
arborescens. In addition to the three groups there is also a miscellaneous group with numerous species of unknown origin.
The mophead flowers are available in white, pink, red or purple colors. They have large flat heads 1.5 to 6 inches wide. The stems can grow up to 3 feet long with 2 to 3 flowers per stem. The lacecap flowers include such species as H.
arborescens and H. macrophylla. These species have small clusters of flowers that grow upright to a height of 3 feet or more. The panicle flowers include species such as H. hyrcana and H. serrata. These plants may or may not have flowers but when they do they are available in white, green rose or purple colors with a height usually less than 3 feet but up to 5 feet. The miscellaneous flowers are available in many colors and may or may not be fragrant.
The leaves are usually large, 3 inches wide to a foot long. They can either be green or purple or have a mixture of the two colors. The flowers are either purple, pink, red or white and come in a range of shapes and sizes.
The vast majority of hydrangeas are hardy in zones 3-9. The hardiness is usually indicated on the tag that comes with the plant or sometimes on the bag that the plant was purchased in. The letters and numbers indicate the hardiness of the plant. An H before the number indicates a more hardy plant while an A indicates a less hardy plant. An HX means it is a half hardy plant.
If one lives in a warmer area with no chance of frost, then there are even more options in terms of planting. Many tropical varieties can be found at almost any garden center. These plants will need constant attention and lots of water. They do make a nice addition to the garden if you have the time to devote to them, but most people find that they require too much work.
There are four factors that need to be considered when planting any plant. They are: what the plant is planted in, how it is planted, when it is to be planted and how deep it should be planted. One can usually purchase the container that the plant is grown in from any garden center. It is important that you choose a container that has several holes in the bottom for drainage. You do not want to pick a pot that has a hole only in the bottom because hydrangeas have very deep roots.
Sources & references used in this article:
Hydrangea production by M Haworth-Booth – 1975 – Constable
Evaluating hydrangea performance© by M Halcomb, R Sandra – United States: University of …, 2010 – extension.tennessee.edu
Remontant flowering potential of ten Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. cultivars by M Condon – Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Meeting of the …, 2016 – actahort.org
Compatibility Studies in Hydrangea by JA Adkins, MA Dirr – HortScience, 2003 – journals.ashs.org
Analysis of metal elements of hydrangea sepals at various growing stages by ICP-AES by SM Reed – Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 2000 – meridian.allenpress.com
French Hydrangea for Gardens in North and Central Florida1 by Y Toyama-Kato, K Yoshida, E Fujimori… – Biochemical …, 2003 – Elsevier