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The Diversity Of Hydrangea

The blooms of Hydrangea bushes vary in shape but all are highly prized for the romance that they add to a garden.


Photo: Nemo's great uncle.

Lacecap hydrangea has flatter flower caps and a combination of open and un-opened flowers.

The blooms of Hydrangea bushes vary in shape but all are highly prized for the romance that they add to a garden. The large flower heads are composed of hundreds of tiny individual florets clustered together.

When the flower clusters are round they are called mopheads. The longer, more pointed flower trusses are described as cone shaped. They grow on shrubs that have the word “paniculata” in their botanical name. Some hydrangeas have flatter flower heads with a combination of both open and unopened little flowers. These are called lacecaps.

Gardeners who live in regions that have frequent freezing and thawing in the spring will have the best success with hydrangeas that bloom on new growth. Then, if late freezes damage buds that are in the old growth from the previous year, there will still be buds later on in the summer on new growth.

Many of the white-flowered hydrangeas are prized in cold areas because they bloom later in the summer on new wood. Some newer blue (e.g., “Endless Summer”) varieties bloom on both old and new wood, but many of the older blues that bloom only on new wood are not reliable in colder climates with unpredictable spring weather.

The “Pink Winky” Hydrangea

Last fall I ordered Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’ from a catalogue, and it is described as blooming all season so I imagine it must bloom on new wood. It has panicles that open white and then mature to pink, and the blooms persist from summer into fall.

It grows both in sun and part shade to a height of 6-8 feet, and the flower clusters point upward and have red stems. I have seen it blooming exuberantly in other gardens and am eager for mine to grow quickly so that I can see it bloom. Of course, the fanciful name attracted me too.

I have seen this shrub listed in the following catalogs:
Wayside Gardens
White Flower Farm
Bluestone Perennials

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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