Celebrating Hydrangeas and the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival

Celebrating Hydrangeas and the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival

As people all over Cape Cod begin touring gardens during the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, we thought it appropriate to post a few hydrangea facts this week. Here are a few facts and tips about Cape Cod’s favorite shrub:

  • There is a hydrangea for every garden! If you have a sunny yard, plant one of the Hydrangea paniculata varieties.  The blue and pink mopheads and lacecap flowers last longest when they are planted in part-shade. If you need a hydrangea that stays short there are many varieties in all colors that grow two to four feet tall.
  • It’s a myth that putting rusty nails or nickels around the plants will turn the flowers blue. Varieties that have variable color will be blue in acidic soils and pink in alkaline soils. If you have a blue hydrangea that has turned pink, it’s probably growing near a cement walkway, foundation, stone dusted patio or a lawn that’s been limed.
  • There is no way to make a blue/pink hydrangea short if it’s a tall-growing variety. No matter when you cut the plant back it will replace its growth in one summer…and you’ll have few to no flowers as well.  Download and print a sheet about how to prune mophead and lacecap hydrangeas here, but know that you should be pruning for appearance not to control size. If your plant is too large, move it in the fall or spring.
  • Fertilizer won’t make the stems of your plants stronger. Those large hydrangea flowers are heavy and will bend stems down, especially when they are wet. There are simple ways to stake a flopping hydrangea shrub without making the plant look like it’s in bondage. See a quick stake and twine method here.
  • Blue mophead flowers dry best when they are cut later in the season. Wait until that fresh blue changes to lavender and the petals look papery. Cut the flowers and either place them in a vase or hang upside down until they are dry.

    Hyannis Country Garden is the proud sponsor of this year's collectible Hydrangea Festival poster. Each year a local artist's work is chosen. This lovely painting is by Susan A. Hollis.

    Hyannis Country Garden is the proud sponsor of this year’s collectible Hydrangea Festival poster. Each year a local artist’s work is chosen. This lovely painting is by Susan A. Hollis.

1 Comment

  1. Joyce on July 6, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Good reminder about the stake and twine method for containing floppy hydrangea blossoms ??

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