Hydrangeas Part 3: Remember the “hydra”

Advice a college professor gave me on hydrangeas was, “remember their name …hydrangea …the roots of the word coming from the Greek words for "water vessel."

photograph by Delaney Holliman

Thus, hydrangeas require ample water, fertile soil, and sufficient sunshine. “Limelight,” “Oak Leaf,” and “Annabelle” (hydrangeas in the paniculata and quercifolia species in particular) will tolerate exposure to sun with plenty of water, yet these plants do appreciate some high shade and solar relief, flourishing quite well in morning or late afternoon light. Though shade tolerant and shade appreciative, keep in mind hydrangeas, as with all flowering plants, do require light to produce blooms. Baking in direct overhead sunlight for hours a day will be too harsh for these plants in the Southern gardens. Water, light, and food…is what they need, much like their gardeners themselves!

Sticking with eastern exposures, pockets of
sun beneath high tree canopies, those little spots of light receiving a few hours of sun per day, and enough water will reward you and your garden with blooms.