When It Comes to Flowers, More is Better!
I’ve been watching my stock of hydrangeas the last few weeks with untold anticipation. Every day I take note of which varieties are starting to produce buds and in the last few days I’ve even been able to see the months long hunt for color yield results. It’s only the very beginning of the hydrangea bloom season but I already get to see pink, blue, purple, and white every time I peruse these shade loving beauties.
I know I don’t have to sell anyone on the aesthetic value of a hydrangea bloom. The giant puffy mophead flowers bring us all back to Grandma’s old garden. Even if your Grandma lived in the city there is just something so quietly beautiful about the old fashioned elegance of a hydrangea in full bloom that makes most of us feel warm, peaceful, and nostalgic.
I’m willing to bet if you stop by Tallahassee Nurseries in the next few weeks you’ll see some of these gorgeous blooms and feel compelled as I do to grab some for the garden. Now the hard part, which one to buy? As far as color is concerned I have no preference, whatever works for your garden’s color scheme or catches your eye. However, within each color I have to make a strong push for reblooming hydrangea varieties.
Most old fashioned hydrangeas will bloom for 6-8 weeks on average, perhaps a few more if the year is ideal and you’re very lucky. Reblooming hydrangeas are a more modern development in plant breeding that has yielded varieties that are able to bloom successively for up to 5 months! Of course there’s a catch, rebloomers are more expensive than single shot hydrangeas. Old fashioned varieties may cost $16.99 or $19.99 for a 3 gallon plant while rebloomers will cost you $29.99 or more for a 3 gallon. I hear you wince, but let’s think about it for a second.
I know you don’t buy a hydrangea for the leaves, it’s all about the flowers, and a rebloomer will not only produce blooms for a much longer time period it will also produce many more flowers per year. Most of us don’t buy shrubs that often and when we do I think it really pays to spend that money wisely. Instead of 5 old fashioned hydrangeas buy 3 rebloomers and space them out more, or as I do just bite the bullet and spend more to get more, you won’t be disappointed.
- Rebloomers should be fertilized every 6 weeks from spring through summer to ensure continued blooms
- All hydrangeas are happiest if shielded from afternoon sun with a bit of shade, but rebloomers would really enjoy the morning sun to give them more energy for flowers
- Hydrangeas perform best with consistent moisture (don’t let them dry out)
- A thick layer of mulch will keep roots cool, moisture content up, and leaves perky all summer (anything natural is good like pinestraw, wood chips, or raked up leaves)
- Many hydrangeas can change color with a change to soil pH (use sulphur for more blue and lime for more pink, it will take months to a year for a big change in pH so plan ahead)
*This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional) using information published by the University of Florida combined with years of personal observations growing in the Tallahassee area.