Wednesday, October 24, 2012

4 Types of Hydrangeas

Mophead type Hydrangea

CrabappleLandscapExperts use these four types of Hydrangeas as easy-care flowering deciduous shrubs for shade or partial sun. The botanical name, Hydrangea, is based on "Hydro" meaning water, giving an indication that these woody ornamentals prefer moist soils. The LandscapExperts plant them where there is enough moisture in the soil that they will thrive.

Lace Cap
 Bigleaf a.k.a. Macrophylla Hydrangea
These are the familiar pink- or blue- flowered, deciduous shrubs that most people grew up with, and that tolerate shade and still flower profusely. They can be divided into 
  • Mophead composed of all sterile florets that look like balls, or 
  • Lacecap, a flatter style, which have an outer rim of sterile florets while the centers are composed of tiny fertile flowers (like an old fashioned lady’s lace cap). Bigleaf Hydrangeas are great as cut flowers or dried for autumn arrangements.   

Hydrangea arbroescens
 Arborescens  a.k.a. Annabelle Hydrangea
Native to North America, Annabelle Hydrangeas are large shrubs with huge, flat white flower heads to 10” in diameter. They are hardy and bloom in cold or hot areas, and so  easy to prune they are sometimes used as hedges.

Vanilla Strawberry variety
PeeGee  Hydrangea
P.G. stands for “paniculata Grandiflora” also large shrubs but with cone-like or panicle-shaped blooms. Limelight is a popular cultivar, with strong stems and blooms opening chartreuse and finishing white. Vanilla Strawberry is a yummy new cultivar with white cones changing to a compelling strawberry pink, although it remains to be seen whether or not the branches are strong enough to hold up the flower heads.  
Fall color, Oakleaf Hydrangea*
Oak leaf Hydrangea
Our favorite hydrangea is the native Oakleaf known as quercifolia (after Quercus for oak) known for  four seasons of beauty!  Oakleaf hydrangea leaves are notched and loosely resemble oak leaves; they are a leathery green in summer but turn brilliant red or deep maroon in autumn. In winter after the leaves fall, the bark exfoliates or peels in cinnamon strips; in spring, the new growth is silvery green.  The large white cones ornament the shrubs in summer, double or single white, then turning a soft pink and finally then fading to a rusty rose. 
This versatile genus provides many options for today's landscapes. Look for our upcoming gardening video about these 4 types of Hydrangeas. 

 * oakleaf hydrangea leaves photo thanks to Peggy Singlemann, Maymont blog  

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