Mophead hydrangeas popular in landscaping

Published 8:05 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In early spring I saw an advertisement that promoted a pink hydrangea. My interest was immediate, and it only took me a second to send an order for “Pinky Winky.”

The pink and blue hydrangea usually bloom in July or August and are known as the Big Leaf or Mophead. I confess, I never heard of either one or the official name Hydrangea Macrophylla.

Something that I have known for a very long time is that you can alter or change the bloom color.

To obtain blue from pink, simply amend the soil with aluminum sulfate.

Check with your local garden center for this product and apply it around plants that are at least two years old.

Water well before applying. One tablespoon of aluminum sulfate per gallon of water is recommended and can be used throughout the growing season.

“Less is more” could be applied here as too much can burn the roots and harm the plant. Don’t over do it please. When your soil is naturally acidic, which could prevent pink blooms, a fertilizer high in phosphorous is helpful to obtain the pink color.

If you are curious about when to prune these beauties, simply remember that they start producing flower buds for the next year just as soon as they finish blooming.

This means that they must be pruned right after blooming, and if you wait too late to trim, you will be cutting off the flowers for the next season.

A good friend of mine has wonderful hydrangeas and the Annabelle is one of my favorites.

They have white blooms and some are 10 inches in diameter.

These bloom on new growth and should be pruned from the time that they quit blooming until mid spring.

She also has an interesting PeeGee hydrangea and it blooms white, turning pinkish.

They, too grow, on the current years growth and can be trimmed as you do the Annabelle.

The fun thing about this hydrangea is that it can be trained into tree form and it is hardy up to Zone 3.

The Oak Leaf hydrangeas like sun, bloom on old wood and should be pruned after blooming before they start to make new buds, usually in August. Easy on the water, these beauties do not like wet feet.

Maybe you would like to have a hydrangea collection with a PeeGee or an Annabelle.

Nursery and plant company’s usually can provide you with these plants. I can not promise that you will find a “Pinky Winky.”

Gwen holt is a master gardener from Isle of Wight. Her e-mail address is Virginia Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Master Gardeners bring the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth.