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Lacecap or Mophead?
Member Name: Thailui
Date: 10/10/04, updated on 20/10/04 (1751 review reads)
Advantages: Hardy and Attractive
Disadvantages: Don't like very dry weather
The Hydrangea is a well known deciduous shrub native to China, Japan, the Himalayas and North and South America. They come in several different varieties. By far the most popular and well known is the variety Macrophylia and this is split into two groups: Lace Cap and Hortensia (also known as Mophead).
Probably the best known is Hortensia which is the familiar shrub seen in gardens right across the country with large, spherical flowers in pink or blue or sometimes red. The variety was named after Hortense, daughter of the 18th century botanist, Prince de Nassau.
Lace Cap is a similar shrub except that the flowers are flat in appearance with the small flowers surrounded by florets and, as the name suggests, resembling the lace cap that used to be worn by the ladies of the Georgian era.
Hydrangea Paniculata is a little larger, growing to about six feet. It has cone shaped flowers in white which appear in late summer and early autumn.
Hydrangea Petiolaris on the other hand, is a climbing variety also with white flowers but of the Lace Cap type. This is a self clinging plant and will happily grow up a north facing wall and once established will grow to a great height. It can climb to about 75 feet if the surrounding area suits it. The only pruning it really requires is to keep it within the bounds you have set it.
Hydrangea Quercifolia is known for its bold foliage, not unlike oak leaves and which are often richly coloured in autumn. This has pendant, cream lacy panicles from midsummer to autumn.
Hydrangeas grow well in moist ground in semi shaded areas. In hot weather they will require watering well as they will soon droop if they become too dry. They will soon recover when watered as long as they are not left too long. They should be pruned in spring – mainly to remove the old flower heads, dead wood and just to keep the shrub in a good shape. It is recommended that the old flower heads are left on over winter to protect the plant from frost damage. Cuttings should be taken in August and are usually very successful at this time.
The usual colours are pink, blue, white and red, although the blue variety requires an acid soil to retain it’s colour and will turn pink without help unless it has this. You can buy ‘blueing compounds’ which contain aluminium sulphate to keep the flowers blue.
Two newcomers are: ‘Love you Kiss’ which has red foliage with white flowers edged with pink and ‘Mirai’ which has colour-changing, appleblossom flowers.
Hydrangeas are often bought as a flowering pot plant. They can, however, be successfully planted into the garden when they have stopped flowering and providing the conditions are suitable. They are quite easy to grow and will provide a very good display for many years if looked after.
Thank you for reading.