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Growing Hydrangea

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Jun 05, 2017
Pink hydrangea are very popular at the moment

Summer in my eyes is all about large flowers and vibrant colours in the garden and of course there are lots of different flowers that can provide this. But for me hydrangea are one of the best plants to consider planting in your garden for prolonged colour because the flowers just last forever. Hydrangea plants also have the added bonus of adding good structure and height to flowerbed too.

While hydrangea have always been popular with Irish gardeners in the past few weeks I have noticed that customers coming in to CountryLife are really obsessed with them and I think it has to do with their starring role in a number of show gardens at the likes of Bloom. The large flowers add great interest to a flowerbed as a specimen plant or even more so when planted in groups to create large blocks of great flowers.

Hydrangea are an extremely reliable plant that put on a fantastic show with very little input from gardeners to be honest. They also have the added benefit of not being too picky about where you plant them in garden. They can work perfectly well in full sun but also do very well in partial shade so can be used in those more tricky spots of a garden.  

Hydrangea arborescens is a popular collection of hydrangea, which produces large clusters of flowers that have great impact in a garden. Annabelle is the best-known variety of Hydrangea arborescens. This hydrangea is just coming into flower now, which helps to add more seasonal interest to the garden.

Annabelle is a stunning white hydrangea and has to be one of my favourites. It produces great flower heads often producing blooms over 10" in diameter so they really do have major impact in garden because they are so large. Unlike the better-known blue and pink hydrangeas Annabelle flowers every year on the new stems. This means pruning is extremely easy each year. When you are ready to prune the plant you simply cut it all right back to about 1 foot above the soil level.

Don’t worry thought as Annabelle is a fast grower and can reach 4 to 6 feet tall in one year. With this in mind though it is important to give it enough space in a flowerbed to grow properly or you will soon find it overshadowing other plants in the bed. I have seen Annabelle grown in large pots before but they do require constant watering and feeding if they are kept in a pot so often this method of growing them creates more work.

Pink Annabelle is another variety that was introduced to the market much to the delight of gardeners looking for a bit of colour. The flowers are a deep deep pink colour that would almost pass for red it is so intense. As the season goes on however the flower fades in intensity and becomes a much softer shade of pink.

No matter what hydrangea you decide to grow the most important thing is regular watering and regular feeding. Hydrangea do not handle drought very well so it is important to make sure they have a regular supply of water, especially during warm dry weather. In my own garden I like to feed hydrangea with granular seaweed feed that you can pick up in store. I find that seaweed feed not only helps to produce healthy flowers but also gives you lush green leaves.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.