Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hydrangeas; what are Mopheads and Lacecaps?

Popular, widely grown and easy to love, hydrangeas are native to Japan and Korea and do very well in the comparable climate of metro-Atlanta. They are acclaimed for their large, showy blossoms that provide great summer color for Atlanta landscapes. The genus name, Hydrangea, emphasizes their need for moist soils: note hydro- or “water” in the genus name.  Large, dark green leaves provide their species name, H. macrophylla  (macro = large; phylla = leaf) and perfectly set off blue, pink or white flower balls.  They are also known as Hortensias, florist hydrangeas or big-leaf hydrangeas.

Hydrangea flowers are either pink or blue depending on the acidity of the soil. With our acidic native soils of Atlanta, typically the flowers are blue, but pink can be achieved over an interval of a couple of years after adding lime to the soil to make it more neutral or alkaline. White Hydrangea flowers are also a delight and are not affected by soil pH.  

Mop Heads
Globe-shaped or pom-pom lowers provide a mass of color when viewed across the landscape and are fondly known as "mop heads". Close-up the round flowerheads are actually made up of many smaller 4-petaled flowers grouped in a ball. These flower clusters have mainly sterile flowers that dry well, preserve their color and are great for indoor flower arrangements.

Lace Caps
The other type of Hydrangea microphylla is more flattened looking and is known as the Lace Cap hydrangea because of its resemblance to a fancy “lace cap”.  Instead of a round ball of florets, they have fascinating pinwheel style, flat flowers with a row or two of sterile florets around the outside rim, and tiny, starry,  fertile florets inside.

Crabapple LandscapExperts know that hHydrangeas do well in moist, humus-rich  soils with shady protection from afternoon sun. They will grow well in the landscape or in large containers, providing weeks of color throughout the summer. Ask the LandscapExperts to add some hydrangeas to your properties come planting season this fall.

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