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9 October 2015

Recommended Hydrangea Varieties

My previous article on Hydrangeas concentrated on planting and cultivation matters. Listed below are some recommended varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla for you to try, with mopheads listed first followed by lacecaps.

‘Madame Emile Mouillère’ - A French variety dating back to 1909, in which the large 20cm flowerheads are so crowded that the individual florets are compressed together but also reveal a touch of elegance as the edges of each floret are prettily serrated. The pure white flowers open in July and continue well into the autumn, ageing to palest pink or lime green. Best out of direct sun, the heads can be weighed down by heavy rain. Height 1.8m (6ft)

‘Générale Vicomtesse de Vibraye’ - Another French mophead introduced back in 1909, the heads are so crowded with florets that the edges are squeezed together. They tend to be pink, red or purple on alkaline soils, blue on acid soils. If the plant is cut back hard the resulting flowerheads will be so large that they will bend over and touch the ground under the weight of rain, so prune lightly. The flowers age to a limy green and are good for drying. Height 1.5-1.8m (5-6ft)

‘Ami Pasquier’ - A mophead variety with reddish pink, sometimes bright red or almost crimson flowers on alkaline soils. When grown on acid soil the colour tends to be more of a wine-purple shade than blue. One of the earliest hydrangeas to bloom, flowering from early July and continuing to late August and beyond. Although the flowerheads are just 10cm (4in), the plants are vigorous and productive. Height 1.2m (4ft)

‘Lanarth White’ - One of the best of all lacecaps, and also one of the best hydrangeas for exposed positions, poor soil and by the sea. Sounds ideal for my coastal garden. Blooming from early July to the end of August and beyond, a ring of large pure white florets surrounds a mass of green buds which open to pale blue or lilac. Each sterile white floret may have a pink or purplish fertile floret in the centre. Height 1.2m (4ft)

‘Veitchii’ - Another white lacecap, which was imported from Japan in the 1860s. It has florets faintly blushed with lilac which age to lime green before folding down late in the season to reveal their reddish brown backs. The mass of fertile central flowers are pink in bud then open to blue on acid soil, or remain pink on lime. Seen at their best from mid July to mid August, the 20cm (8in) heads dry well for the winter. Height 1.5-1.8m (5-6ft)

'Nachtigall' - A striking violet-blue lacecap with a simple ring of ray florets on a plant with strong upright stems. Flowers June to August. Height 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft)

'Rotschwanz' - An elegant lacecap with deep wine red ray flowers surrounding the purple central boss of fertile blooms. Flowering from June to August, this medium sized shrub is striking in any position. Height 1.2m (4ft)

'Zorro' (Pink) - A newish form of Teller Pink Hydrangea with the added attraction of black stems. The fertile flowers are pale pink, encircled by a small number of large four sepalled sterile florets. Flowers from June to August. A strong robust plant which can also turn pink/mauve on neutral soil. Height 1.5m (5ft)

You should be able to find some of these varieties at a good garden centre, while others may be ordered online from specialist growers.
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