Hydrangeas - A Guide to Hydrangea Flowers

"Dragoons, I tell you the white hydrangeas turn rust and go soon.
  Already mid September a line of brown runs over them.
    One sunset after another tracks the faces, the petals.
      Waiting, they look over the fence for what way they go."
-- Carl Sandburg
Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas – as Michael Dirr, the author of "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" said, have "generated the most volcanic enthusiasm" – with their unique either pink or blue petals. Hydrangeas were discovered in Japan, many years ago, and their name comes from the Greek word "hydor" – which means water in English and "angos" – which means jar. Also called "the endless summer" hydrangeas come in groups and grow in bushes. An exquisite choice for any fancy garden or wedding bouquet, hydrangeas have a sort of beauty that overwhelms any human eye. Every year, on the 5th of January, hydrangea lovers celebrate their favorite flower.

The Hydrangea Flower

The Hydrangea Flower meaning comes from a Japanese legend which evokes how a very proud Japanese emperor chose to send a bouquet of hydrangeas to the father of the woman he loved, as a symbol of sincere apology. Due to this, the hydrangea flower now represents heartfelt feelings.

Hydrangea is widely spread in the Azores Islands of Portugal where the Faial Island is called the "blue island" due to the wide variety of blue hydrangeas that grow there.

Native Americans used the roots of hydrangeas as a detoxifier and a diuretic to ease muscle sprains and burns. Thus, even today hydrangeas roots are used to treat bladder problems and kidney stones. Also, a folklore story says that hydrangeas can remove witch spells and curses given to innocent people by malefic witches.

A very interesting fact about the hydrangea flower is that it has the quality of changing its star shaped flowers from pink to blue, depending on the soil in which they grow. These marsh aquatic plants called hydrangeas are mostly treasured for their boldness, boastfulness and delicacy.

If you want your garden to have the "vintage look" then hydrangeas are the answer! Hydrangeas have quite a long garden life, they grow quickly fill your garden with their delicate clusters of papery flowers.

However, you will need to take into consideration a few things before your garden smells like hydrangeas:

  • Soil: Hydrangeas like to grow in a moist, well drained soil, rich in organic matter. The ph of the soil is also quite important – if the soil in which hydrangeas will grow has a low ph, then the flowers will be blue, if the ph will be high, the flowers will be pink. Hydrangea flowers will also turn blue if you use a fertilizer low in nutrient. So be very careful with this if you want your garden to have a specific color!
  • Sun: Hydrangeas need sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, if you find this perfect spot for them then your garden is assured to be the prettiest!
  • Design: If you want your garden to look astonishing then you might want to add Daylilies or Pee Gees with your Hydrangeas, or even Oriental Lilies – and you will create a dream garden!
  • Water: In a dry climate, hydrangeas require plenty of water – this will keep them growing very nicely – if they are properly watered, they will bloom even if they are not pruned at all.
  • Pruning: You must cut down any damaged stem to the base of the shrub if it shows no sign of reconstruction, otherwise these will not allow the sun to enter or the currents of air to reach the center of the plant and thus, you beautiful hydrangeas might die.
  • Caring: Once the first frost appears, you have to make sure you don't let your hydrangeas freeze, otherwise you maybe they will not bloom in the year to follow.

There are a million ways in which you can grow hydrangeas - they can remain in bushes or they can become a tree-like with years passing – thus they are quite well suited for the back of the border in your garden, or, even better, in a woodland area where they can color your garden with their profuse beauty.

Hydrangeas are an exquisite choice for any flower bouquet or arrangement, with their lacey pompon top, hydrangeas symbolize luxuriant splendor. Hydrangeas come in wide variety of flowers from pink to blue depending on the ph of the soil in which they grew, but no matter their color, hydrangeas will add lasting grace to any flower arrangement.

  • For a cheerful hydrangea bouquet, try mixing white, pink, yellow and blue hydrangeas enriched with greenery.
  • For an elegant bouquet, hydrangea clusters may be used in white and dashing pink.
  • If you want to create a minimalist bouquet, use three hydrangea clusters in a cone-shaped style tied with a white satin ribbon.
  • Mix hydrangeas with spiky snapdragons if you want to make an impression: lilac hydrangea, yellow snapdragons and white ivy slides.
  • A traditional hydrangea bouquet may be formed out of white daisies, dark blue hydrangea clusters, light blue ones and baby's breath – this bouquet will be both a simple and rich arrangement at the same time.
  • Hydrangeas add elegance and delicacy to any floral design, they are simple to arrange and fit well with other tropical flowers.
  • If you choose hydrangeas for a bridal bouquet then the result will be a fashionable one, a bouquet filled with sophistication and style.

Hydrangeas should be the first pick for every delicate bride as they create the most beautiful and elegant arrangements in weddings.

  • Hydrangeas can be used as single flowers in round bouquets or they can be mixed with various wedding flowers such as roses, orchids, tulips, daisies, nerines, dusty millers, gray brunia or berries, all in pink shades, white or even fuchsia for daring brides.
  • Hydrangeas look wonderful in wedding centerpieces as well - if your flower choice is the white hydrangea then you should put them in white opaque vases.
  • A tropical wedding requires a tropical location and of course, tropical flowers. In this situation you can create the most fragrant wedding centerpieces. If you mix hydrangeas with chrysanthemums, dahlias or tulips you will create a colorful impact.
  • Blue hydrangeas on white table cloths and white dishes are a wonderful wedding choice. Green hydrangeas and white accessories, especially if mixed with viburnums will create a unique look as well.
  • If you want a fairytale look for your dream wedding then use multicolor mauve hydrangeas, along with pink sprayed roses - this will scream magic on top of every table and will enchant your guests for sure!
  • Hydrangeas wedding flowers are quite large and they will look well massed between the layers of a wedding cake needing no other embellishments.
  • Hydrangeas wedding bouquets are recommended to be hand-tied - you will need three white stems to make a hydrangea bridal bouquet. The bouquets look best if tied with white or pale pink silk, depending on the natural color of your hydrangea flowers.

Hydrangeas come in a wide variety of colors. Here are some hydrangeas types:

  • White Hydrangea

    Easy to plant and care for, the white hydrangea is always a dependable flower in your garden. Unfortunately, this white flower may not maintain its color year after year, since a slightly different composition of its soil may turn it blue or pink.

  • Pink Hydrangea

    Pink hydrangeas can be obtained from white hydrangeas and enhanced by adding dolomitic lime in the soil in which you grow them. Sometimes you cannot obtain these pink flowers this easily, since it's a matter of chance if the plant changes its color or not. Due to its large bloom, they are a popular choice for bridal bouquets.

  • Red Hydrangea

    As hydrangeas are usually versatile flowers when it comes to changing their color, a red hydrangea can be obtained both naturally and artificially by changing the soil mineral composition of a pink hydrangea. The most famous varieties of this red flower are: "Forever&Ever" Red Hydrangea and "Lady in Red" Hydrangea.

  • Purple Hydrangea

    An unusual color for this species, the purple hydrangea originates in eastern Asia, especially China, Korea or Japan. This purple flower has varieties which once planted, stay evergreen.