Hydrangea heaven

Cherry Butler


There are many types and some interesting facts about them. They can look good all year round but need a moist, well-drained soil. Pruning varies depending on type.

Hydrangea macrophylla

These are often referred to as indicator plants because their colour can determine soil pH. This refers to the mop head hydrangea macrophylla only; the bluer the flower the more acid your soil. In alkaline soil the flower will be pink but you can water on sequestered iron regularly or grow in a pot with ericaceous compost for more blue. They can be pruned to new shoots in late spring allowing the old flower heads to protect from frost during the winter.

Hydrangea paniculata

These are a lot larger and usually white and pale pink and my all-time favourite. The flowers are more pointed in shape and literally glow in a shady border. These are pruned to a woody framework in spring and will flower on the current growth. ‘Limelight’ and ‘Little Lime’ are lovely cultivars and ‘Vanilla Fraise’ is illustrated.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

These huge white heads look amazing in a mixed border, under trees and anywhere you want a great summer show. Prune hard in spring support to tame heavy heads!

Hydrangea petiolaris

This climbing hydrangea will stick to a wall or fence, ideal for a northern aspect. Flowers are flatter and prolific. The only pruning needed is tidying and deadheading.

Horticultural consultancy

I can spend half a day in your garden identifying your plants and teaching you how to look after them. The four hydrangeas discussed all have very different pruning requirements and correct pruning of all plants is essential for healthy growth, fruit, flowers and foliage.

Cathie’s garden army

If you have lost control of your garden completely we are here to help! A qualified team of horticulturists can transform your garden in a day following a consultancy. Please ask for details. Find out more by emailing [email protected], visit www.cathiesgardeningschool.co.uk, call 07931 925 382 and follow Cathie’s Gardening School on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.