In my last post I wrote about mop head and lace cap hydrangeas both of which were variations of Hydrangea macrophylla (you can also get mop head and lace cap cultivars of other hydrangea varieties too). In this post I will explore some other varieties of hydrangeas commonly grown in British gardens.
Hydrangea arborescens is an native American species, and it will happily grow anywhere in Britain, regardless of rainfall or temperature – it is found as far North West as Ohio in it’s native America so is adept at surviving hot dry summers and snowy winters. The two forms of H. arborescens which I prefer are H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and H. arborescens ‘Grandiflora’ – interestingly neither of these forms are cultivars and both of them can be found growing in the wild – H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ in the Ohio area.
Hydrangea Arborescens ‘Annabelle’
As mentioned above H. Arborescens is particularly hardy so if you’ve had trouble in the past growing the asian hydrangeas – Hydrangea macrophylla then try the American H. Arborescens which thrives throughout the UK. Although the petals on H. Arborescens are not as big as some of those found on H. macrophylla, the flower heads are often larger with diameters of around 25 centimeters. The large bright white flower heads will look splendin in your garden from summer through the autumn. The dainty flower head skeletons are also a real picture in winter frost.
Hydrangea Arborescens ‘Grandiflora’
Like Annabelle, Grandiflora is not a cultivar and can also be found growing wild in America. It’s needs are identical to ‘Annabelle’ (ie not very much!) and the only difference is that the flower heads are even larger – so large sometimes that they can slightly spoil the bushes appearance by flopping over due to their weight being too much for their stems to support!
If you want something a bit different then go for a Hydrangea Paniculata otherwise know as panicled hydrangea. The cone shaped flower heads (cone shaped flower heads are botanically known as panicles) make them stand out from you regular round head hydrangeas.
Both hydrangea arborescens and hydrangea paniculata differ from hydrangea macrophylla in that the flower heads grow on new green growth rather than old wood. You can therefore cut H. arborescens and H. paniculata right back in early spring and they will flower even more strongly the following summer with some good flowering plant fertiliser.