Fifty Shades of Hydrangea 

Hydrangea are hugely popular here on the West Coast, and for good reason. They grow prolifically and produce an abundance of large colorful blooms that last for weeks. Almost every garden has at least one hydrangea and condos seem to rely on their easy-go-lucky personality as a landscaping staple.

What amazes me as I wander the streets of White Rock (which I do on a regular bases thanks to Lucy and her dog needs) is the multitude of colors of hydrangea. With over 600 cultivars, most of the hydrangea in this region are of the species Hydrangea macrophylla. I’ve seen both the Mophead type (with large flowering blooms) and the less common Lacecap style (with a central flatter area of subdued flowers)

  Although some of the diversity in color can be attributed to the different hybrids – there are all sorts of cultivars like Limelight (green), Maltisse (red) and Annabelle (white) – much of what makes the colors so variable are the soil conditions. Some hydrangea will vary in color depending on the pH of the soil, resulting in a range of hues from a light pink to a deep blue. The more aluminum in the soil the more blue the flowers. In order to absorb the aluminum the soil pH must be low or acid (5.2-5.5), so by lowering the pH you can shift the color of your hydrangea to the blue end of the spectrum. Even the same plant can produce a range of shades, as seen in some of the photos I captured this week.
Hydrangea can be grown in containers, so it could potentially be a balcony plant. In a container it’s much easier to toy with soil conditions in order to achieve that perfect shade of bluish-pink.
Enjoy the hydrangeas of White Rock:

   

                             

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