In all its glory, hydrangea appears before us in the second half of summer, when many shrubs have already faded. Its large inflorescences - snow-white, cream, pink, greenish-red - remain on the branches until late autumn. And if you dry them and put them in a vase, you get a lovely unfading bouquet, which in winter evenings will remind you of summer.Tree hydrangea, sort of 'Pink Anabelle'.
Hydrangeas - Charming Balls and Pyramids
From Greek, hydrangea (Hydrangea) is translated as a "vessel with water", which indicates its hydrophilia. There are 35 known species of this magnificent plant, most of them are residents of America and East Asia. We most often grow 2 types of hydrangea: tree-like and panicled.
These are beautiful flowering deciduous shrubs, rarely trees, with the original structure of inflorescences. They include small flowers that wither after 2 weeks, and bracts, forming numerous balls or pyramids, conquering us with their lush and long flowering.
Hydrangea looks very picturesque on the lawn. And both in single and in group landing. And experienced gardeners can create amazing compositions with it, they look especially impressive against the background of coniferous or other evergreen shrubs.
Tree hydrangea decorates itself with inflorescences-shields that resemble balls. The bush itself is directly growing, 1-2 m high. Leaves with long stalks, oval, serrate, undecarped at the edges, green above, bluish below, 6 to 20 cm long. The diameter of white or cream or greenish shades of inflorescences is on average 12 cm, and in garden forms they are even larger.
Another positive feature is rapid growth, over a year the shoots are extended by 20 cm! It takes only 3 years for the seedling to turn into a luxurious bush, all covered with inflorescences.
On the basis of treelike hydrangea many beautiful garden forms and varieties have been bred. We will introduce you to some of those who are not afraid of frost in the middle lane.
- Hydrangea tree-like "Annabelle" - a shrub 1-1.5 m high with a wide-spreading crown with a diameter of up to 3 m. Leaves 8-15 cm long remain green in the fall. White inflorescences up to 25 cm in diameter. Flowering time: from June to September.
- Hydrangea tree-like "Grandiflora" - a bush 1.5-2 m high and a crown diameter of up to 3 m. The leaves are light green, up to 16 cm long. Creamy white inflorescences up to 20 cm in diameter. Flowering is plentiful from June to September.
- Hydrangea tree-like "Sterilis" - shrub 2 m high, crown diameter 2.5 m. Inflorescences up to 25 cm in diameter, dense, hemispherical, bend the branches with their weight. Gradually, the color of the whitish-green inflorescences changes to pure white. Flowering from July to October, especially plentiful in August.
Panicle hydrangea has a pyramidal shape of inflorescences. It usually grows in the form of a bush with straight branched shoots, less often a tree up to 5 m tall. Young shoots pubescent, reddish-brown. The leaves are velvety, up to 15 cm long, ovoid, firm to the touch, dark green above, lighter below. Inflorescences up to 30 cm long. As a rule, during flowering, their color changes, which makes this type of hydrangea even more attractive. The following varieties and garden forms are especially good.
- Panicled Hydrangea "Grandiflora" - a shrub up to 3 m high. When blooming, large flowers are creamy white, then snow-white, then pink, and in the fall greenish-pink. Inflorescences are wide-pyramidal, up to 30 cm long. It grows quickly - annual growth of 25 cm. Blossoms from July to October.
- Panicle hydrangea "Kyushu" - a bush up to 3 m high and with the same diameter of a fan-shaped crown. The shoots are red-brown. The leaves are dark green and the petioles are red. The flowers are white with a pleasant smell, collected in wide inflorescences up to 15 cm long. Blooms from mid-July to mid-October.
- Panicle hydrangea "Matilda" - shrub with a height of 2 m and a diameter of a rounded crown up to 3 m. The leaves are dull green. The flowers are large, when blooming, creamy white, then white, then turn pink, and when blooming, they become greenish-red. Collected in inflorescences about 25 cm long. Blooms from July to September.
- Panicled Hydrangea "Pink Diamond" - shrub 2-3 m high. This variety is very popular in Europe and the USA. The flowers, when blooming, are creamy, then turn dark pink.
- Panicle hydrangea "Prekoks" - a bush up to 3 m high. It is in great demand in Japan (where this variety was bred) and in the USA. It differs in early (June) flowering.
- Panicle Hydrangea "Floribunda"- a bush up to 3 m high. It is decorated with very large flowers on long pedicels, so that the inflorescences look airy.
- Panicle hydrangea "Tardiva" - a shrub about 3 m high with cone-shaped creamy-white inflorescences crowning the ends of shoots. It differs in late flowering (August-September).
- Panicle Hydrangea "Unic" - shrub about 3 m high and the same diameter of the crown. The leaves are green both in summer and in autumn. Flowers with a pleasant aroma are first white, then pink. Collected in large inflorescences 25 cm long. Blooms profusely from July to September.
Useful advice: When irrigated with a solution of aluminum alum (40g / 10l of water), hydrangea flowers change color, that is, white becomes blue and pink becomes lilac. But be prepared for the fact that on each bush you need to pour 3, or even 4 buckets of the solution, and you need to do this several times with an interval of 10 days.
How to grow hydrangea?
Hydrangea is photophilous, therefore prefers sunny places, but can grow in partial shade. The best time for planting in the spring is the first half of May, in the fall - September.
Landing pits are dug with a size of 50x50x60 cm at a distance of 1-1.5 m from one another. They are filled to the top with a soil mixture consisting of humus, leaf soil, peat, sand (2: 2: 1: 1) and fertilizers (10 kg of humus, 20 g of urea, 60 g of granular superphosphate, 20 g of potassium sulfate). In no case should you add lime - hydrangea does not tolerate it.
The bushes are planted so that the root neck is at the level of the soil. After planting, plants protect from the midday sun and strong wind. The first two years of inflorescence are removed so that all the nutrients go to the growth and development of the bush.Large leaf hydrangea, cultivar 'Blauer Prinz'.
If during planting the pit was filled with soil mixture, hydrangea is not fed for the first two years. But then fertilizers are applied regularly.
In early spring, at the beginning of growth, they give the first top dressing with a complex mineral fertilizer with microelements (30 g / 10 l of water) or 20-25 g of urea, 30-40 g of superphosphate and 30-35 g of potassium sulfate are added per 1 m². During the budding period, hydrangeas are fed a second time with mineral fertilizers at the rate of 60-80 g of superphosphate and 40-50 g of potassium sulfate per 1 m². The third and fourth top dressings are given in the summer with mullein solution (1:10), spending 10 l on an adult plant.
Hydrangeas are hygrophilous, so they are watered weekly and abundantly (15-20 liters for each plant). If the summer is rainy, watering is reduced to 4-5 times per season. To enhance the strength of the shoots, a little potassium permanganate is added to the water.
Twice a season after watering and weeding, the earth around the hydrangea bushes is loosened to a depth of 5-6 cm. To keep moisture longer in the soil, the trunk circle is mulched with peat or sawdust (6 cm layer). Mulch is poured in the spring and left for the whole summer.
It is done in March, leaving, depending on the age and size of the bush, the 6-12 strongest shoots, which are shortened by 2-5 buds of old wood. In the fall, faded inflorescences must be removed.
Old hydrangea bushes are rejuvenated by strong pruning. In this case, leave hemp 5-8 cm high. Next year young flowering shoots will grow from them.
Preparing hydrangea for winter
In winter, panicled hydrangea roots are harbored, covered with rotted manure, and the tree-like winter winters well without shelter. True, in young bushes, the roots may freeze for the first year or two after planting. To avoid this, the soil is covered with peat or dry leaves with a layer of 10-15 cm.
Protection of hydrangea from diseases and pests
Hydrangea rarely gets sick, but can sometimes be affected by powdery mildew. In this case, the bush should be sprayed with a solution of foundationazole (20g / 10l of water) or Bordeaux liquid (100g / 10l of water).
It happens that hydrangea is damaged by aphids. To get rid of it helps the infusion of garlic. To prepare it, take 200 g of peeled teeth, pass through a meat grinder and pour 10 liters of water. After 2 days, filter, add 40 g of laundry soap. Bushes are sprayed with garlic infusion once a week, repeating the treatment until the pest is completely defeated.
Useful advice: For a winter bouquet, hydrangea should be cut as soon as all the flowers in the inflorescence blossom. It is better to dry in a dark place, tied up for shoots, lowered heads down.
Hydrangea is grown from seeds, if it is not varietal. Otherwise, decorative qualities are preserved only during vegetative propagation (green cuttings, layering, offspring, dividing the bush, grafting).
Hydrangea seeds are sown in boxes without prior preparation. However, they are not embedded in the soil. After sowing, the box is covered with glass. Friendly shoots appear after 20 days. Seedlings grow 2 years and only in the third planted in a permanent place. By this time, hydrangea bushes reach a height of 30-40 cm.
During the vegetative propagation of hydrangeas, green cuttings cut them in mid-June. For better rooting, cuttings with one or two internodes are treated with a growth stimulator (root, heteroauxin, etc.), and the leaves are shortened by half. Planted in a soil mixture consisting of two parts of peat and one part of sand. The duration of rooting is 20-25 days.
At this time, hydrangea cuttings are sprayed twice a day. When the roots appear, they are planted in open ground for growing, and after 2 years they are, as a rule, ready to plant on a permanent place in the garden.
By layering, overgrowth, dividing the bush, hydrangea propagates in the same way as the mock up.
- M.S. Aleksandrova, candidate of biological sciences.