Hydrangeas are a popular summertime flower that we have available as a cut flower and frequently incorporate into our farmers market bouquets. Hydrangeas were originally imported in the 19th century from Japan, China, and Europe. Today there are more than 70 species of hydrangea, including species native to the United States. Local species are shade-tolerant and cold-hardy making it a perfect flowering shrub for midwestern home landscapes.
There are so many reasons to love hydrangeas, whether you include them in your cut flower bouquets or in your home landscaping. Here are just four of the many reasons to love this bountiful and vibrant colored seasonal flower:
1. They're easier to grow than you think.
Growing hydrangeas takes a little upfront planning to ensure brilliant blooms season after season. They will grow best in a location where they can get morning sun and afternoon shade. Hydrangeas require adequate water in the spring when they grow the most. It’s imperative, however, to not overwater the plant and avoid locating it in a soggy or overly wet area of your yard. If you decide to plant your hydrangea in the soil rather than grow it in a container garden, you’ll want to plant it at soil level or just below. Then, apply about three inches of mulch, which will also help with water retention as the heat hits the midwest in July and August. It’s also important to fertilize your hydrangea plant and to prune according the species.
2. There is science behind the color.
Unlike many other plants, hydrangea flowers can dramatically change over time. The reason? Aluminum levels in the soil. Over time, or as the plant’s growing conditions change, (i.e. replanting, repotting, or change of locations within a yard) the color of the blooms will transition. Sometimes the color of the blooms can evolve as quickly as one season to the next. The higher the presence of aluminum in the soil the more likely the plant will present a blue bloom. Preventing the hydrangea from accessing aluminum in the soil will promote a pink bloom. Needless to say, there is quite a bit of science behind the bloom of a hydrangea flower!
3. There are three types of bloom forms to choose from!
There are three different bloom forms produced by the hydrangea, each producing gorgeous flowers that are becoming increasingly popular in wedding bouquets:
Mophead: Round or globe shaped flower cluster, this is the most commonly recognized form of hydrangea bloom.
Panicle: Long (up to 12-14 inches), somewhat cone-shaped flower cluster (particularly in Oakleaf hydrangeas).
Lacecap: Flattened cluster of what appear to be tiny, immature buds surrounded at the edges by typical 4 to 5 petal flowers. Lacecaps are named after their likeness to Colonial ladies’ head coverings.
4. Illinois Willows grows hydrangeas from July to November.
Our Hydrangeas are offered as single stems, three-stem bunches, and five-stem bunches in the following varieties:
Limelight Hydrangea are available from August through November. As immature blooms they start out as green then change to a snow white conical shape bloom. As the season progress the white blooms revert back to an antique green with pinky burgundy hues.
Our traditional Mopheads are offered in July during their green stage. As the month of August approaches they evolve through shades of pink, purple, lavender, and blue. The colors may vary from year-to-year, depending upon the season.
Quick Fire is an open conical bloom available July through September. The white blooms change with the edges turning pink/burgundy, then to an antique mature bloom.
Annebelle Hydrangea form a pretty lime green bloom turning to white in June and July, then maturing to a lovely shade of green. We wait and offer them in the mature stage of green, during the months of August and September.
Visit our booth at Urbana’s Market at the Square to preview our selection of cut hydrangeas which we sell by the stem or as a component of our seasonal cut flower bouquets. Check out our other season product offerings here (will insert link) available at the farmers market, by special order, and for wholesale. You can find us on the south end of the market, along Illinois Street. And be sure to keep up with Illinois Willows on Facebook and Instagram.