Hydrangeas are a fantastic genus that offer the gardener a wide variety of choice when it comes to structure in the borders and mid to late summer colour. With an array of flowering shapes, from the tightly packed blooms of the mophead varieties, through to elegant lacecaps and cone-shaped flowerheads, there is sure to be a hydrangea to suit most tastes and planting schemes. For round, mophead cultivars, choose a variety from our selection of Hydrangea macrophylla, or Hydrangea arborescens; for flatter blooms, our lacecap cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea serrata, Hydrangea villosa or Hydrangea aspera offer outstanding choice, while our collections of Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea quercifolia provide varieties with conical flowerheads and wonderful autumn colours.
Here at Larch Cottage we are proud to offer a very large selection of this fabulous group of shrubs. Some of our favourite varieties include:
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Wim’s Red’: a new cultivar and one of the best. Growing to a height of 1.5metres, it has conical heads of long-lasting, white flowers in June that age to a beautiful, dusky red in the autumn.
Hydrangea paniculate ‘Limelight’ AGM: a lovely new variety with bright, lime-green flowers in midsummer. It holds this refreshing colour until autumn when it develops to a rich, deep pink. A good, continual flowerer, ‘Limelight’ grows to a height of 6-8 feet and requires a spot in partial shade.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Merveille Sanguine’: a mophead hydrangea which develops spectacular autumn colour when the leaves turn a brilliant, scarlet red. Its pinky-red flowers bloom from July to September and, growing to a height of 4 feet, it will offer fantastic vertical interest in the border.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Mont Aso’ : one of our low-growing, lace-cap varieties with flat heads of pink flowers that may vary depending upon the pH of your soil. It requires moist soil in sun or part-shade and will flower from June to August.
Hydrangea Serrata ‘Kurenai’ : this is a rare beauty from Japan with vivid green leaves and small, lacecap flowers that mature from white to pink, turning red in the warmth of full sun. Growing to a height of 90cm it is a fabulous choice offering distinctive impact and structure.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Ramis Pictis’ : an old, extremely rare cultivar with pinkish-white lacecaps. The stems have a distinctive carmine colouring and the leaves bear red stalks and veins. This is a bushy shrub that will grow to a height of 1.5 metres and prefers an aspect in light shade.
Despite the variety of the Hydrangea genus, all groups favour similar growing conditions, preferring moist soil that is not prone to waterlogging, and a sheltered spot in sun or light shade away from cold winds and frost pockets. Mophead and lacecap varieties with pink or blue flowers will show variation in colour depending upon the pH of your soil. Acidic growing conditions will produce blue flowering, while alkaline soil will produce pink blooms; green and white flowered cultivars, however, remain true regardless of pH.
Hydrangeas are a stunning group of plants that offer great versatility in terms of structure, colour and seasonal interest so there is sure to be a cultivar that will enhance your outdoor space and planting design.
(Blog post written by Jo Chamberlain)