Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hydrangea 101: Part II

Part II

     The long awaited part two of our hydrangea series is here.  Just in time to kick off the holiday season.

     Oakleaf Hydrangea, (Hydrangea quercifolia) a native plant to the United States include varieties such as; ‘Alice’, ‘Snow Queen’, ‘Pee Wee’ and ‘Sikes Dwarf’. The flowers on this plant are spectacular white changing to pink but the foliage also turns a rusty red in the fall. This plant has wonderful exfoliating bark in the winter. However, it is subject to winter die back in the Chicagoland and may have large sections of the plant that may die completely therefore affecting its blooming ability. Because of this minor detail we do recommend that you cover your Oakleaf Hydrangeas. You can do this by building a cage with chicken wire or burlap and filling the structure with either dry leaves or straw this will prevent the freeze and thaw and protect the plant from wind damage. This plant blooms off of the old wood or second year growth which is why only maintenance pruning is suggested. ‘Alice’ and ‘Snow Queen’ are very large majestic specimens growing to 6’-10’. If you need a smaller variety ‘Pee Wee’ or ‘Sikes Dwarf’ gives you the three seasons of interest but in a smaller package.
     Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) are a must for that shady vertical gardening fix. Not known to be speedy growers but patience will be rewarded when these beauties start to flower white lacey flowers everywhere. They can reach up to 50 feet. They like to reside on the North or East sides of structures with moist ground. They can be pruned easily because they bloom off of new wood similar to the ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, however they grow slow.

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