Hortense – Hidrangea – Garden plants – Hortense – Hidrangea – Shrubs

Ortensia

Cultivation techniques

Ortensia Hydrangeas are planted in October/November or March/April. The ideal soil must be fresh, enriched with mature manure, peat or pre-mixed soil suitable for acidophilic plants. We recommend planting them in semi-shaded positions (e.g. near a wall or a large tree) with the exception of the Sargentiana species which, if the atmospheric and soil humidity is not high, must be planted in complete shade.

In springtime, it is best to give hydrangeas a well-decomposed organic fertiliser.

In an apartment or in a greenhouse, hydrangeas are grown using 25 cm pots. In the first months of the year, vegetative growth can be stimulated, bringing the plant to an environment with a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius and distributing more water. After the first flowering, the hydrangeas must be transplanted in the garden, in sheltered positions.

  • Ortensia The scientific name is hydrangea, and these shrubs come mainly from Asia, especially from China and Japan; very widespread in cultivation, among the many species in the gardens has been the most common…
  • Ortensie The botanical name is hydrangea, to the genus belong some tens of species, almost all originating in Asia, and in particular in China, Japan and Korea; most of the hydrangeas cultivated in the EU belong to…

  • Petiolaris Among the many varieties of hydrangea that we can cultivate, there are also climbing hydrangeas, obviously very appreciated for their ability to develop vertically. These plants, even if they don’t have the same characteristics of a…
  • Tennessee Clone Height: around 200 cmFlowering: from August to late SeptemberInflorescence: irregular, elongated and convex, composed of numerous sterile flowers with sepals in the middle of the leaves.

Hydrangea characteristics

The hydrangea, botanical name of hydrangea, is a flowering shrub native to East Asia and North America. The dimensions can vary a lot: from a height of 80 cm for the smaller ones, up to more than 10 m for the climbing varieties. The inflorescences are collected in corymbs or panicles. What we identify as “petals” are actually modified bracts. The real flower is very small and insignificant. The most conspicuous inflorescences are composed almost exclusively of sterile flowers.

The fertile ones are clearly visible, for instance, in the centre of those with a “lacecap” shape.

LE ORTENSIE IN BREVE

Height at maturity

 From 1 to more than 10 meters

Type of plant

 Shrub or climber with deciduous or semi-persistent leaves

Cultivation/maintenance

 Simple/low

Exposure

 Light half-shade

Rusticity

 Rustic, suitable up to 1000 meters above sea level.

Land

 Woodland, rich in organic matter

Soil Ph

 Acid to neutral

Irrigations/soil humidity

 Frequent/always fresh, but well drained

Use

 Bordura, isolated specimen, groups, hedges, pots

Multiplication

Climbers

Ortensia rampicante For the multiplication of plants of hidrangea or climbing hydrangea, it is necessary to take, in the months of June and July, cuttings of about 8 cm from the lateral jets and plant them in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts in a cold greenhouse or in a box. The rooted cuttings can be potted individually, in containers of about 10 cm, and repotted in October.

Shrubby species:

Ortensia The cuttings of the shrubby species are taken in the months of August and September, and must be about 10-15 cm long. The rooted cuttings are potted in pots of about 10 cm and placed in a cold chest. The plants are transplanted in spring. To obtain more vigorous plants, when three pairs of leaves have been formed, the shoots can be chopped up. Plants with a single stem are multiplied by 10 cm long apical cuttings that are taken in September.

Pruning

ortensie Hydrangea plants do not require regular pruning (this applies to most species) except for the removal of wilted flowers, to be carried out in March or late summer. We recommend, however, to remove the weakest branches in February, to thin the plant and, in the same month, to cut at half their length the flowering stems of the previous year of the species arborescense and paniculata.

Pests and Diseases

Hydrangeas can be damaged by aphids and in greenhouses by the red spider of greenhouses. The most common diseases are chlorosis and the family. Hydrangea plants can also be affected by moulds that can compromise their health.

Watering

ortensia Hydrangea plants are a rather rustic variety and can withstand short periods of drought. During the summer season it is best to intervene regularly, providing water before the soil is completely dry. During the winter, watering should be reduced, especially for specimens planted in the ground.

The colour of the hydrangea flowers

The corymbs can be of many different colors: white, red, yellow. The most common species (macrophylla, serrata…) have them mostly pink, blue or purple. It is known that these shades may vary on the same plant depending on the characteristics of the soil. With an acidic substrate, the plant more easily assimilates the aluminium salts, which are indispensable for the bluish shades. If the soil is neutral or basic, the bracts will take on pink or at most purplish shades.

Exposure and climate for Hydrangea

The ideal exposure for hydrangeas is half-shade. They bear a few hours of direct sunlight, possibly during the morning, but the light and heat of the afternoon can debilitate them heavily ruining the flowers prematurely and burning the leaves. Having said this, it should be noted that in mountain areas, fresh and rainy, they grow very well even in full sun; in the south and on the coasts, on the other hand, it is necessary to consider even more sheltered positions, where the sun rarely reaches.

If the heat is their enemy, we must not fear the cold. They survive the coldest winters without any special measures other than a good mulch (and postponing pruning to spring).

IL CALE NDARIO OFLE ORTENSIE

Planting

 March/October-November (Centre-South)

Fertilization

 March

Pruning

 November-March

Cuttings

 August-September

Repotting

 March-April

Flowering

 June-September

Flower collection for drying

 August-September

Land and planting

The popularity of hydrangeas alone makes us understand that they are extremely adaptable plants and that they only deteriorate in very serious cases. To have them luxuriant and flowering, however, it is essential to provide them with a substrate capable of retaining moisture, rich in organic matter, well aerated and possibly acid-reacting. To this we add that the drainage must be efficient because frequent irrigation must never cause water stagnation.

If the soil is of medium consistency or slightly clayey, we can extract it and mix it 50% with acidophilic soil. We also add a good amount of well-decomposed floured manure. Alternatively, you can replace it completely with just one acidophilic product mixed with organic matter.

The planting can be done in autumn or spring (where the winters are harsh). A hole at least 50 cm wide and deep is dug and a thick gravel-based drainage layer is laid out at the bottom. Place the plant, fill the hole, compact carefully and distribute plenty of water.

Irrigation and humidity

Hydrangeas love a constantly fresh substrate. In almost all of Italy, irrigation on franked plants can be superfluous, especially in spring and autumn. With the right location and terrain, normal rainfall is sufficient to meet the needs. At the end of hot days it can happen that the plant has a loose appearance. Before distributing water, let’s wait in the morning and water only if the appearance of the plant has not changed.

Environmental humidity can also be an important help: it may be useful to proceed with slight vaporization of the foliage, around sunset time. If the situation is repeated too often, however, we seriously consider moving to a more sheltered position and replacing the substrate.

During the summer, however, interventions can become essential: let’s consider to distribute at least 20 liters of water per specimen, three times a week.

To avoid the onset of leaf chlorosis, caused by the accumulation of calcium in the substrate, it is advisable to use as much rainwater as possible or at least decanted water and distribute, from time to time, iron sulfate.

Hydrangea fertilization

Fertilisation is essential for vigorous growth, abundant flowering and maintaining a vital, aerated substrate. For hydrangeas it is best to intervene in February by distributing abundant pelleted manure throughout the area covered by the canopy. We will incorporate it into the ground with a slight hoeing.

However, it is also very useful to provide a sufficient dose of macro and microelements: the ideal products are those specially formulated for hydrangeas, in slow release granules. Usually only one administration is necessary, at the beginning of spring.

Pruning

Pruning is not essential. With hydrangeas, it is better to avoid intervening rather than intervening too much, causing a vintage with poor blooms.

In any case, it is possible to decide whether to proceed in autumn or spring (a choice for those living in areas with a harsh climate). The most common varieties bloom on the branches of the previous year: you will have to eliminate the dry branches, dead or weak and cut the apical inflorescences at the level of the first two buds from above.

Completely formed plants (more than 6 years old) should be progressively rejuvenated by removing about 1/3 of the vegetation every year, choosing for this the branches that now appear too branched. We always try to open a little the centre of the specimen in order to favour the passage of air and light.

Pests and diseases

The most common problems are powdery mildew, grey mould and cochineal.

The former are prevented and curbed by limiting the humidity on the foliage and on the ground. Vaporization with sulphur-based products can be useful.

Cochineals can be removed manually with alcohol-soaked cotton swabs. In the case of severe attacks, mineral oil can be used, possibly with the addition of a systemic insecticide.

Individuals kept in pots on sunny terraces and balconies are frequently affected by the red spider. It can be prevented by providing more shaded exposure and by increasing ambient humidity with frequent vaporization. In extreme cases we use acaricides.

Hydrangea propagation

As we said getting new hydrangea seedlings is extremely simple. The most commonly used method is certainly cutting.

It proceeds in August, when the plant is in full bloom:

– We have to choose a branch of the year, robust and with a good diameter, but without flower.

– Let’s cut at about 20 cm from the base, close to a pair of leaves, where the tissue is soft.

– Let’s get rid of all the leaves except two at the top.

– Let’s insert the branch in a substratum obtained with sowing soil and sand, in the same quantity. Let’s leave about 10 cm between one stem and the other.

– Let’s place in a shaded area and keep the substratum just cool.

– Rooting should take place before winter. Seedlings should be sheltered in cold greenhouses and then transferred to larger individual pots in spring (or planted directly).

Cultivation in pots

coltivazione in vaso As we said, hydrangeas also adapt to container life. To always have them beautiful it is essential to place them immediately in a large and deep pot: this will help us to keep the roots in a cool environment and stimulate growth.

It is very important to create a good drainage layer on the bottom based on gravel or expanded clay. The ideal compound for this use is obtained by mixing about 50% peat, 30% sand and 20% woodland soil. It is also good to incorporate a good amount of floured manure very seasoned.

On average, repotting should be carried out every two years, at the beginning of spring.

To prevent them from suffering from the heat, it is best to irrigate by immersion: let’s leave the pot on alternate days immersed in a basin full of water, for about 10 minutes, then let’s drain it well.

In pots, more than on the ground (given the frequent irrigation and the consequent danger of salt accumulation) it is important to use rainwater or water that is as lime-free as possible.

Thick mulching of the surface, based on coniferous bark, will help us limit evaporation and contribute to maintaining the acidic pH of the substrate.

Hydrangea: How to dry hydrangeas

The hydrangea corymbs are ideal for the creation of dry compositions, which will remain beautiful throughout the cold season. We choose as much as possible the more compact and bright pink ones, as they stay alive longer.

We proceed from August to September, before the autumn rains damage them. Let’s eliminate all or most of the leaves and hang them upside down in a dry, warm and well ventilated room. The quicker the drying process, the more the inflorescences will keep their original colour and volume.

We can combine them with other flowers or, for example, with ears of wheat or barley. When we choose their location, we keep in mind that the strong light will quickly bleach them: we therefore prefer a slightly sheltered corner.

We also avoid vaporizing them with lacquer: it preserves the colour of the flowers a little, but facilitates the accumulation of dust.

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