Tips and Tricks


Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Tosca’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Coral 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zurich’  

In May last year, we did a Facebook post on pruning Macrophylla Hydrangeas.  This can be located under our posts on our Facebook page if you haven’t seen it.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Merveille Sanguine’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Sabrina’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Together’ AGM 

In late March and April we all start to look at tidying the garden and cutting things back.  The common Hydrangea - Macrophylla and Serrata’s (which comprise Mopheads and lacecaps) don’t really need a lot of pruning.  It is recommended that you leave the dead heading of the flowers until late winter/early spring when the threat of heavy frosts has past.  That is what we do here.  The dead flower heads give frost protection to the new flower buds which sit below.  It is recommended that you do thin out old branches if you need to.

When planting new hydrangeas, we use a good pelleted sheep/chicken/fish manure and mix it with the soil in the base of the hole.  With your hydrangeas in the garden, in Spring you can top dress the soil around the plant with a blood, bone and seafood fertiliser or a general fertiliser that isn’t too high in Nitrogen. 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hobella’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘White Wave’ 

The Paniculata Hydrangeas (Limelight, Kyushu, Bombshell) flower on new wood so they respond very well to a good cut back to encourage flowering.  Again, this is recommended to be done in late winter/early Spring when fear of heavy frosts has passed.  These Hydrangeas tolerate a lot more sun as does the Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak Leaf Hydrangea).  As with the Macrophylla Hydrangeas, in Spring top dress the soil around the plants with a lower Nitrogen fertiliser as mentioned above.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ AGM 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’ 

Hydrangea paniculata 'Bombshell' 

In speaking to a very knowledgeable gardening friend, we were told that he cuts down Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ which is an Aborescens Hydrangea, in late winter/early Spring.  He said he cuts it almost to the ground to the lowest buds.  Their ‘Annabelle’ had strong thick stems which held the large flowers very erect.  We have researched this and this is definitely a recommended practice by experts in the Hydrangea growing field overseas.  We will be adopting this practice this spring when the chance of heavy frosts has passed.   Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ is an award winning treasure and one that will take more sun which is great if you are wanting a white flowering hydrangea in a more sunny spot.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ AGM

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ 

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ AGM

The traditional hydrangeas, Macrophylla and Serratas, all require some shade.  It is best to provide morning sun and afternoon shade.  All Hydrangeas benefit from good moisture during hot spells.  You will get a lot more from your plants if you keep them hydrated.  Mulching is helpful for this. 

We value Hydrangeas of all varieties in our garden.  They don’t have a lot of insect issues, they provide excellent summer colour, they can be grown as a hedge, in the front of the garden or in pots.  And yes, the soil pH does dictate the colour of the Macrophylla and Serrata varieties but we love the unique colours that can be attained.  The whites do flower white. 

We do grow some excellent red flowering hydrangeas including Hydrangea Paris and Hydrangea  Alpengluhen which seem to retain their colour well. 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Vorster Fruhot’ 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nizza'

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Red Start’ AGM 

Finally, we love the great ageing colours that you can get from some hydrangeas making them very good for drying.  H. Altona and H. Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye are both AGM plants and make great antique shades which are gorgeous dried. 

Watch this space!!

Happy gardening!!!

Hydrangea serrata ‘Preziosa’ AGM 

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye' AGM 

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nigra’