One of the all-time garden classics, Hydrangeas are a deciduous small to large shrub that bloom with spectacular large and brightly coloured flowers from late spring to late summer.
Hydrangeas enjoy a partly shaded position, preferably facing east so that they can soak in all that lovely morning sun. On the other side of the same coin, protect them from the harsh afternoon sun, as it can damage the flowers, especially on hot days during the peak of summer.
Hydrangeas are well known for their mysterious ability to change colours from pink to blue and vice versa, but with the right soil and plant treatment, this can be controlled. The colour changes are a result of the pH of the soil that the Hyrangeas are planted into - In acidic soils (pH of 6 or less) flowers will bloom blue, in neutral and acidic soils (pH of 7 and above), hydrangeas will flower pink.
Generally, the soil pH in areas around Ballarat and Warrnambool will result in pink flowers, but if you want to keep your lovely blue Hydrangeas you bought blue, use Hydrangea bluing tonic during the period between May and November. Happily, white and red Hydrangeas do not need any treatment, and will tend to stay their true colours.
For continuous flowering over the spring-summer flowering period, dead head spent flowers to encourage new ones to bloom in their place. Prune back after flowering, while also feeding with an organic or slow release fertiliser at pruning time, and again in spring will ensure an abundant crop of blooms.
Hydrangeas are a magnificent addition to your spring and summer garden, and if treated with tender loving care will give you many years of enjoyment.