©2006 Publications International, Ltd. The hydrangea

Hydrangeas are diverse shrubs noted for large flowers clusters, which may be mounded, globular, flat, or spiked. Each flower head has both sterile and fertile florets. The sterile flowers are the showy ones. They are one to one and one half inches in diameter and can be white, pink, purple, or blue, depending on both the variety of hydrangea and the acidity of the soil.

How to grow: Hydrangeas need plenty of water and rich soil and will grow in full sun or bright partial shade. Mulch to maintain cool, moist conditions for the roots. Remove faded flowers and cut out deadwood.

Uses: Hydrangeas can be used in shrub and perennial borders and as foundation plantings. They are often used in containers, sometimes as seasonal or holiday potted plants. Oakleaf hydrangea is a good shrub for planting in wooded areas and in shrub borders.

Related species: Hydrangea quercifolia, the oakleaf hydrangea, has long-lasting white flowers in spikes and, unlike other hydrangeas, grows well in wooded areas in partial shade. They prefer moist, well-drained, somewhat acidic soil. Hydrangea Annabelle has white, globular flower heads, and also grows well in these conditions. Lacecap hydrangeas, such as Blue Wave, have flowers in flat, showy heads that have a lacy appearance.

Scientific name: Hydrangea species

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