Hydrangea (lat.Hydrángea) is a shrub or small tree, belongs to the genus of flowering plants, from the Hydrangea family. There are about 80 species, most often the plant is found in the southern and eastern regions of Asia and the American continents. In nature, it grows up to 3 meters in height.
Hydrangea leaves are large, oval in shape with a sharp top and toothed edges. It blooms in large inflorescences, the color of the flowers depends on the pH of the soil: on alkaline soil - pink and lilac, on acidic - blue, on neutral - white, cream.
The flowering period lasts from spring to the beginning of frost. The fruit is a 2-5-chamber capsule with small seeds inside.
Types and varieties of hydrangea:
Hydrangea tree (Hydrangea arborescens) is a beautifully flowering shrub with oval dark green leaves up to 20 cm in length. Flowers are collected in fluffy inflorescences. In April, it requires careful pruning almost at the root. After the winter cold, the frozen bushes quickly recover and delight with flowering all summer.
Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) - more often called garden hydrangea, this species can be grown both outdoors and indoors. Differs in herbaceous shoots and dense foliage of bright green color. Umbellate inflorescences, flowering time: June - August.
Hydrangea paniculata (Hydrangea paniculata) - cold-resistant, height 2-5 meters. Abundant flowering from July to late autumn, pyramidal inflorescences. Differs in durability and unpretentiousness.
Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora (Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora) - grows up to 3 meters in height, leaves are green, rough to the touch. The white flowers that appear over time acquire a pink tint. Fast-growing shrub, prefers fertile soil.
Hydrangea paniculata Limelight (Hydrangea paniculata Limelight) - has a rounded, wide crown. Egg-shaped leaves are light green in color. Long-flowering, deciduous variety, grows best in full sun.
Hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Fries (Hydrangea paniculata Vanilia Fresh) - round, dense crown of the shrub looks very elegant, especially in the summer-autumn period, when large pink inflorescences appear. Frost-resistant and long-flowering variety, plant height - 2.5 meters.
Selection and purchase of seedlings. Before buying, familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the types of hydrangea, each has its own requirements for growing conditions. Next, choose a suitable place for a new plant, consult a specialist about the nuances of planting and subsequent care.
The use of hydrangea. Ornamental shrubs retain their beautiful appearance even after flowering, look good in single and group plantings. Hosts, astilbe, cuffs are suitable as neighbors. They look impressive as flowering hedges.
Hydrangea, accompanied by perennials or conifers, decorates the entrance to the garden or veranda in an original way. Thanks to the lush, bright flowering, they are used to decorate gazebos, and cozy places for relaxation are obtained. Sprawling bushes look great against the background of a green lawn, emphasizing the scope of the site favorably. For a Japanese garden, a combination of hydrangea and rhododendrons is best. Also go well with roses, lilies, clematis.
Location and landing. Areas open with enough light are suitable. Hydrangeas easily adapt to light partial shade conditions. The chosen place must be protected from wind and scorching sun rays, which adversely affect the growth and development of hydrangeas. Planting time is spring, after the end of the night frosts, the soil should warm up enough.
The soil should be fertile, loose, weak or moderately acidic is best suited. The pit is prepared two weeks before planting, the width is 50-70 cm, the depth is 40-50 cm. The distance between the bushes is from 1 to 2.5 meters, it depends on the variety. You can plant it thicker at first, and thin out a couple of years later. The root collar is not buried; it remains at the soil level.
Post-planting work. Immediately after planting, the plant must be watered, the trunk circle should be mulched with peat. Timely mulching helps to retain moisture under the bushes, in addition, it is a reliable protection against weeds.
There is nothing difficult in growing a hydrangea, it is unpretentious and quickly adapts to the conditions of detention. But there are some nuances to consider. The most important rule is to ensure sufficient watering, this is a very moisture-loving plant. Timely pruning is next in importance.
Watering. It is preferable to use rainwater. If watering with tap water, take only filtered or settled water. 2-3 buckets are poured under each bush every week. Water should be done early in the morning or in the evening when solar activity is reduced.
Loosening, mulching. To protect the roots from overheating, to reduce the growth of weeds, the soil around the trunk should be mulched. For this, bark, pine needles or peat are taken, laid in an even layer about 10 cm high. It is best to mulch in the spring, when the soil is moist and well warmed up. In autumn, mulch after the onset of a period of persistent cold weather.
Top dressing. Complex feeding is carried out twice a year, before flowering and at the end. Fertilizers are suitable for rhododendrons, heathers, azaleas. With insufficient acidity of the soil, you can add coniferous sawdust during planting into the prepared pit.
Trimming and shaping. An adult plant needs annual pruning to adjust the number and size of the inflorescences. In a tree hydrangea, with the arrival of spring, ¾ of the shoot height is cut off, two pairs of buds are left. This promotes the appearance of larger, more expressive inflorescences. Weak, frozen branches are also removed. In autumn, all faded inflorescences are cut off, this will protect the shrub from injury in the winter, when branches break under the weight of snow.
To form a panicle hydrangea in the form of a neat tree, one main shoot is left for a two-year-old seedling, all the rest are removed. Pruning is carried out before the beginning of the growing season, in the spring. Every year, the crown is cleaned of weak shoots, 4-5 of the strongest are left for branching.
All types of hydrangeas respond well to pruning, but be careful with garden hydrangeas, it is enough for it to prune damaged branches, if you cut them completely, you get a lush green bush, but without flowering.
Flowering and fruiting. Flowering period from spring to late autumn. At this time, the shrub is densely decorated with lush, spherical inflorescences. Most species have white flowers, but there are also blue, red and lilac flowers. Luxurious flowers fill the garden with a calm and touching beauty.
Reproduction and grafting. Can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and dividing the bush. It is most convenient to use the cuttings method. For this, cut shoots in the first half of the season are cut and planted in a special container. Depth into the ground should be about 3 cm, the soil is peaty-sandy. The soil is kept moist. After successful rooting, it can be planted in a permanent place.
Diseases and pests. From the high content of lime in the soil, hydrangea can develop chlorosis, the first sign is the clarification of the leaves. It is necessary to feed the plant with iron-containing preparations, use only rainwater for irrigation, and spray it with Agricol or Antichlorosis.
The spider mite causes the leaves to dry out and fall off to help the hydrangea wipe the leaves with mineral oil or soap. In case of a large-scale lesion, treat with one of the following drugs: "Akarin", "Vermitic", "Fitoverm".
From waterlogging of the soil, the plant is trapped by a fungal disease - powdery mildew. The leaves are covered with brown spots, fall off, young shoots are deformed, weak and do not survive the winter. Treatment consists in treatment with fungicides: "Alirin - B", "Fitosporin - M", in case of severe damage: "Pure color", "Skor", "Cumulus".
Diseases happen due to improper care: insufficient watering, the wrong place and soil for planting, the introduction of unsuitable dressings. A healthy, strong bush is much less likely to get sick and is recovering faster.
Hydrangea in winter. Winter-hardy varieties do not need additional protection during the cold season. Preparation for winter comes down to removing wilted inflorescences, hilling and mulching the trunk circle. Young seedlings are covered with spruce branches and dry leaves.
Interesting Facts. All parts of the hydrangea contain a poisonous substance - cyanogenic glucoside, but since the plant does not make you want to taste it, cases of poisoning are quite rare.
PHOTO OF HYDRANGEA