Walk around any neighbourhood during the summer and you’ll see plenty of glorious Hydrangeas. They’re one of the most tough and durable shrubs for a European climate. They’re also available in a huge range of colours… although, you wouldn’t know it, as most of the ones I see seem to be pink or blue! Well, prepare to be dazzled… and you’ll need your sunglasses!
Hydrangea ‘Glam Rock’ is just bubbling with fluorescent colours…the mix of green, blue AND pink make for a colour blend which has absolutely no shame. This dazzler comes from some German breeders who are changing the face of this plant; with more daring colour combinations on those tried and tested macrophylla forms.
So, whilst Germany is going dayglo, Japan is focussing on the fullness of the bloom; new variety ‘Love’ has 2-tiered florets, which look like delicate porcelain. But, of course, there’s nothing delicate about this Hydrangea, it’s as tough and robust as the rest. ‘Love’ is the sister variety to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show winner ‘Miss Saori’ too, what better recommendation could there be!
A type of Hydrangea that isn’t as common in the UK is the Hydrangea paniculata; although they’re slowly becoming more popular, and rightly so. They’re just as tough as macrophylla, and give huge plumes of flowers like tattered lace; and some blooms exude sweet nectar too. The most well-known across Europe is ‘Vanilla Fraise’, which has strawberry-tinged flower heads, which look almost good enough to eat! ‘Levana’ is another cool one, with flowers like a wedding cake!
Pruning is easy too, and you can be quite lazy with H. macrophylla types actually. Prune hydrangeas in spring, as leaving the stems intact will give the plants some added frost protection. Simply remove the flowered stems back to a strong bud each spring. H. paniculata are pruned during spring too, just trim back all stems to a healthy set of buds, keeping a neat framework in place!
Find more fantastic cultivars and plenty of growers’ tips at our hydrangea hub page.