Flora Feature: Hydrangeas
Madison Square Park is heralding the season of hydrangeas and welcoming even more to our expansive collection of over 300 hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are one of the five signature perennial collections that the Park is developing over the next few years, and our current hydrangeas are having their best bloom in years. You will likely find the full collection at peak bloom in the Park over Fourth of July weekend.
Included in this expansion is the well-known Big Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). Many people recognize these flowers, but few people know that this particular hydrangea can exhibit varying colors depending on its soil pH. A more basic soil brings beautiful pink tones, and a more acidic soil results in a lovely blue shade. Experienced and amateur gardeners alike can experiment with soil qualities to color their gardens with a range of hydrangea hues.
There are a few tips and tricks that any seasoned hydrangea cultivator should keep in mind when tending to hydrangeas. Old, dried canes need to be pruned out every few years to allow room for new growth. These plants also develop their flowering buds in the late fall, so gardeners should wait until after their flowering to prune. Lastly, Big Leaf Hydrangeas will wilt in the sun or intense heat, so these plants are ideal for shady gardens. Beyond this, these beautiful plants bloom reliably from year to year and are very easy to cultivate. Even neglected varieties can often be found blooming in unlikely spaces.