As we head into the early summer, you will notice a good number of hydrangea blooms appearing in many yards and gardens. Recently, the industry has been inundated with many new options and varieties of this very resilient and easy to grow summer flowering shrub. We would like to focus your attention on several of our favorite varieties that historically have performed well in the St. Louis area. Most hydrangeas have large leaves with big surface areas meant to absorb light in what are typically low light situations. Many a summer, I see hydrangeas planted in full hot sun, and these plants are in a great deal of stress and looking wilted. These beautiful shrubs, with a few exceptions, like to be in dappled or filtered sun or really good high light or indirect sun. Especially avoid, hot afternoon sun! We stock variations of three distinctly different types of hydrangeas. The mophead types with their large round, ball shaped blooms, the panicle types that have long cone shaped flowers and the varieties with more of a flat grouping of flower clusters known as lacecap. Keep your newly planted hydrangeas well irrigated this first summer, but don't overdo it, as too much water can drown any new plant. Hydrangeas may wilt slightly in the heat of the day and then perk up as the day cools. Water only if your plant looks terminal or in the morning, if the plant hasn't come out of the previous days wilt.
The following is a list of the perennially favorite varieties:
- Endless Summer- Mophead type with flowers turning blue or pink depending on soil pH. Grows in the 5' range.
- Oakleaf- A panicled blooming shrub with large leaves and large blossoms making this hydrangea very coarse in texture. Fall color and peeling bark add interest to this versatile shrub that also has varieties that stay small, and some that get pretty large.
- Annabelle- One of the tried and true varieties that bloom with large white flowers in early summer. The weight of these blooms sometimes makes for an unkept look so you may need to support the branches or look for a newer variety called 'Incrediball' which has sturdier stems for holding up the flowers.
- Limelight- A mophead type with lime green flowers that last for a long time during the summer months. A dwarf variety, 'Little Lime' is also available.
- Tardiva- A late summer blooming panicled variety that gets pretty large with white cone shaped blooms in August. Very hardy and will tolerate some sun.
Look for these, and others, such as the new Endless Summer variety 'Bloomstruck' in our nursery. Bloomstruck, developed by famed hydrangea breeder, Dr. Michael Dirr, will bloom on new and old wood, pushing out new 3 1/2"-5" blossoms all summer long. Sturdy reddish stems, glossy leaves and great disease resistance only add to this new plant's allure! Blue, pink or purple flower color is influenced by the pH of your garden soil.