Get to know this fan-favorite shrub.
We love hydrangeas for their giant cluster flowers that grace gardens and bouquets around the world, but there’s much more to these classic, romantic shrubs than meets the eye. Hydrangeas are iconic, with their familiar shape and different varieties.
Many will recognize the lacy bloom as a signal of summer but there are also many interesting facts about hydrangeas to learn and celebrate as we prepare for their peak season. It evokes an old-fashioned charm with its pretty pom-pom shape and ethereal shades of pink, blue, and periwinkle. Learn the untold mysteries behind these blooms for you all the hydrangea enthusiast out there.
MEANING BEHIND THE NAME
You can tell a lot about hydrangea plant care by its name. Hydrangea is from Greek descent: “Hydor” means water and “angos” means jar or vessel. This explains hydrangeas need for lots of water to thrive.
Harriet Kirkpatrick is the woman who allegedly discovered Hydrangea arborescens (the “Annabelle”) and shared their beauty among her community. Word spread, popularity grew, and soon hydrangeas were blooming all over town.
The secret is in the soil, or more specifically, the soil’s pH level. Adjusting the measure of acidity or alkalinity in the soil can influence the color of your hydrangea blossoms.
Hydrangea’s flowers peak for about two to three weeks during the season, and it’s normal for their color to change as they age.
NATIVE TO JAPAN
Hydrangeas are thought to have originated in the mountainous Japanese islands, and they continue to have their greatest species diversity in Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, and the Himalayas.
In Japan, hydrangeas are said to be a sign of gratitude because ancient emperors would give them to their maidens as a sign of thanks. Victorians believed that hydrangeas symbolized boastfulness or vanity because they produce so many blooms but drop little seed to share.
Each hydrangea color also has a meaning behind it: Pink represents love and sincerity. Blue represents forgiveness. White represents boasting or bragging. Purple represents abundance and understanding.
Hydrangeas are not only deeply symbolic and often used as a gift; they are also widely popular as ornamental plants. Hydrangeas are extremely versatile and work great in wedding garlands and floral arrangements.
TLC REQUIRED AFTER SNIPPING
Hydrangeas are known to wilt without warning after being snipped from the bush. You can try to prevent wilting by placing them in water immediately after snipping, and then re-cut the stems and soak them in a cup of boiling water for 30 seconds before placing them in a vase.
THEY HAVE THEIR OWN DAY
Hydrangea Day is celebrated on Jan. 5th, ironically when the flowers are out of season. Even if you can’t snip flowers from your own garden to celebrate, you can make a bouquet by purchasing imported stems at the florist.
There’s something innately sentimental about hydrangeas; their classic beauty and enduring style has made them popular in yards and bouquets for as long as we can remember. With spring upon us, it’s time to study up on these beloved stems.