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Outdoor Living

10 Reasons to Save a Place for Hydrangeas in Your Yard

  • Hydrangeas1.jpg

     (LeBlanc Jones Landscape Architects, Inc., original photo on Houzz)

  • Hydrangeas2.jpg

     (Atchison Architectural Interiors, LLC, original photo on Houzz)

  • Hydrangeas3.jpg

     (Polhemus Savery DaSilva, original photo on Houzz)

Hydrangeas have an unfussy charm that makes them right at home no matter where they are planted — from sun-washed beach cottage yards to formal gardens. Here are 10 reasons to give these beloved beauties a spot in your garden.

1. Hydrangeas make a lush border. Hydrangeas’ bloom period stretches from midsummer to fall, making these versatile shrubs a good choice for filling borders all around the yard.

Tip: When planting, be sure to space hydrangeas 3 to 6 feet apart to allow room for the shrubs to reach their mature size without crowding.

2. Hydrangeas are welcoming. A few pots of blooming hydrangeas on the front porch is a lovely thing to come home to. Plus, the vibrant color and large flower heads are easy to spot, giving your home’s curb appeal a boost.

3. Hydrangeas make long-lasting cut flowers. Unlike some more delicate blooms, sturdy hydrangeas can last several weeks. To make the most of your freshly cut blossoms, use sharp garden shears to cut the stem, trim away any leaves that would lie below the water, and change the water daily.

Tip: Wait until the flowers have developed a papery consistency and you can break off a hydrangea stem with a snap before cutting — if the blooms are mature when you cut them, your bouquet will last longer.

4. Hydrangeas come in a range of hues. From creamy white to fuchsia (plus pale green and all shades of purple), hydrangeas come in many more colors than the blue most frequently found in markets and flower shops. It is indeed true that you can change the color of a hydrangea by altering the soil pH (lower pH makes the flowers blue; higher pH makes for pink flowers), but changes to the soil may take weeks or months to give visible results.

Tip: It’s easier to turn blue flowers pink than to go from pink to blue, and white flowers aren’t affected by soil pH, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Hydrangeas of all colors may take on a pink or dusky brown tone in the fall as the blooms mature.

5. Hydrangeas are laid-back and beachy. If you visit Massachusetts’ Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard in the summertime, you will see the big mop-headed blooms growing alongside nearly every beach cottage. And it’s no wonder— the shrubs (especially ones with blue or lilac blooms) look right at home beside the sea, nestled along crushed gravel driveways and weathered shingles.

6. Hydrangeas are elegant. Hydrangeas can make a lush, elegant addition to formal gardens with a strong structure. Try a white or pale green hydrangea alongside neatly trimmed boxwood for a classic look.

7. Hydrangeas grow well in pots. Add luxurious blooms and attractive foliage to your patio with a few big pots of hydrangeas. Tucked among seating areas, they bring a welcome touch of the garden to outdoor rooms.

Tip: Ask at your local nursery to find a variety of hydrangea that is best-suited to potting, and choose a large pot with plenty of room to grow.

8. Hydrangeas are charming. There’s something about the bountiful blooms and big leaves that makes people smile. Whether toppling over a fence, peeking over the edge of a gravel driveway, or simply plunked in a vase on the kitchen counter, hydrangeas have old-fashioned charm in spades.

9. Hydrangeas like sun or shade. While happiest with some morning sun and dappled afternoon shade, hydrangeas aren’t too picky when it comes to light conditions, and can grow well in a sunny spot or a shaded porch.

10. Hydrangeas look stunning in the evening garden. The big orbs of color are like little moons themselves when viewed in the late evening. Surround a patio with blue or white hydrangeas, and enjoy your garden as the sun sinks.