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Hydrangea, Part 1

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Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 7:00am

Hydrangeas are a group of flowering shrubs are great in an old timey as well as a modern landscape design today on Southern Gardening. 

Hydrangeas are old fashioned shrubs that have rounded forms and flamboyant flower displays in the summer and fall.  But there are great selections coming out every year.  The three hydrangea primarily found in the garden are the French, the peegee, and the oak-leaf. 

French Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, has two types of flowers, mopheads and lacecaps.  Mopheads are flowers that resemble pom-poms, big and round and showy.  Lacecaps are almost yarrow-like.  Showy infertile flowers surround smaller fertile flowers.  Flower color is “changeable depending on soil pH, more on this later.  Peegee hydrangea, H. paniculata, has arching branches with long, cone shaped flowers.  ‘Limelight’ is a 2009 Mississippi Medallion winner has flowers that start as chartreuse, change to lime green, and pink in the fall.  ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ starts out creamy white to pink to strawberry red. 

Oak-leaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, is a tough native hydrangea having leaves shaped like oak leafs and is found in the highland areas of Mississippi.  In 2000 ‘Snowflake’ was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner with double flowers starting our snow white and fading to pink. 

All of the hydrangeas can be used as mass plantings or specimens in the landscape.  They also perform well in containers on the patio or porch.  Hydrangea flowers are excellent for use as cut flowers.  They also can be dried for use in dry arrangements. 

So whether you like mop heads, lace caps, peegees, or oakleafs, hydrangeas are a garden must have.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening. 

Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

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