Trader Joes, Whole Foods, they know what a girl likes best – FLOWERS! It seems that no matter what time of year, they like to give us the good stuff: hydrangeas and greenery. Mix up a beautiful bouquet of the two and you’ve got yourself an instagram worthy match made in garden heaven. Whenever I drive (the 2.5 hour trek) into my nearest shop I ask the florist for a bucket of water, stock up, and create my own arrangements. For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a hydrangea bearing surrogate near us, there’s plenty of hope! Hydrangeas are some of the most hardy plants growing in a wide array of garden zones.
Some things to know:
- There are 23 species of hydrangeas, but only 5 are widely available in the US. The species you see at the florist is named: Hydrangea macrophylla and will grow up to a zone 6 hardiness.
- Panicle Hydrangea (H. paniculata) is the most cold tolerant, and will grown in zones 4-7 at 10-15 feet tall!
- Looking for a beautiful vine? Climbing hydrangea grow from zones 4-7 and can grow (slowly) up to 80 square feet!
- Use rooting powder on fresh cuttings to multiply your plant without having to pay for one.
- Hydrangea will happily grow in a pot, follow this guide.
Before we moved to Likely, I had a hydrangea bush that NEVER bloomed. I have learned that this is because I over-pruned the poor guy. Hydrangea bushes should never be pruned down to the base of plant; doing so will cut off next years’ blooms. A trick I have learned is to cut long stems through July and short stems in August.
As the season comes to an end, clear off any dead blooms, but leave the rest of the bush alone. If you have strange influxes of temperatures throughout the dormant season, I would suggest adding some burlap around your plant or mulching the base of the plant. My bushes get morning sun and afternoon shade, they seem to really like this, but too much shade can cause dormancy in the plant.
As for cutting these beautiful blooms, I haven’t found an extremely effective method. Once I bought two blooms from my local florist, one of them lasted less than a week, while the other lasted over three weeks (I’M NOT KIDDING!). I’ve heard tricks that involve boiling the base of the cut stem. Using 7-Up in the water. Using luke warm water in the vase. Using cold water in the vase. Alternating warm and cold water, the list goes on and on. Really it seems to be luck. Do you have any proven methods for preserving cut hydrangea blooms? Leave suggestions in the comments below! — Guess what? I have a proven method now! Click here!