Flower garden and landscape

Rules for growing large-leaved hydrangeas


Garden or large-leaved hydrangea is a shrub that is magnificent in every sense. Despite the fact that this plant is initially not very winter-resistant, the fashion for it has embraced our gardens. Magnificent caps of inflorescences with unique shades of color, magnificent leaves and silhouettes of this queen among hydrangeas enchant. And only after planting a bush or other large-leaved hydrangea in their garden, many gardeners discover all the "pitfalls". This, the most difficult to grow, hydrangea requires systematic care and care, careful selection of conditions and, in general, is rather capricious.

Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).


Botanical features of large-leaved hydrangea

Large leaf hydrangea, or garden (Hydrangea macrophylla) is a highly decorative and fast-growing hydrangea species native to Japan and China. The maximum height in the region with harsh winters is limited to 1-2 m. This species has erect shoots, ovoid, large, bright green leaves and flat wide scutes of inflorescences with a diameter of up to 15 cm and a height of up to 10 cm, consisting of fruitful lilac or blue and large pink, with uneven bright strokes, reaching up to 3.5 cm in diameter, barren flowers.

Hydrangea inflorescences, whose flowering starts in July, remain highly decorative until next spring: they dry out, but still remain very attractive.

Large-leaved hydrangeas, the fashion for which came to us from the West, so captivating in tubs and pots, so unique in their beauty of their almost spherical dense inflorescences and bright foliage - the shrubs are still moody and unsuitable for the harsh climate. But this does not stop them from growing even in regions with harsh winters.

And although these beauties need special care and protection for the winter, their beauty, however, knows no equal. And it doesn’t matter if you decide to transplant potted hydrangea into the garden or purchased an initial garden plant - the principles of growing and caring for the shrub will still be the same. The main difficulty in growing large-leaved hydrangeas is associated with the need to preserve last year's shoots, on which this type of hydrangea blooms, during a long and harsh winter, not only without freezing, but also without heating.

Criteria for choosing hydrangea garden, or large-leaved

Choosing the right variety is a key success factor in growing large-leaved hydrangeas. This plant has more winter-hardy and less hardy varieties that can winter only indoors. The declared frost resistance of this type of hydrangea is up to -18 ° C, characteristic only for varieties adapted to harsh climates and mainly modern ones.

When choosing hydrangeas, it is worth giving preference to plants not by the degree of their decorativeness, but by the factor of fitness to your climate - plants of local garden centers and nurseries. Imported large-leaved hydrangeas are more likely to become a cause of disappointment.

Be sure to check if the variety has been tested in your area or is it grown in a climate similar to yours. When choosing a variety, it is worth paying attention to another very important factor: remontance or the usual cultivar.

Repairing varieties, to which the overwhelming majority of modern macrophiles belong, are hydrangeas, which boast not only a variety of colors, but also the ability to bloom both last year and young shoots. Such hydrangeas will bloom guaranteed: even if something fails or winter protection is not enough, young twigs will still give at least a few inflorescences.

Macrofill hydrangea is not grown in the same way as other hydrangeas, including tree and panicled ones. If other species have much more in common than excellent in requirements for care and selection of conditions, then large-leaved hydrangea requires a special approach.

Large-leaved hydrangeas are worth buying only in containers or pots: seedlings with an open root system do not take root well and do not even experiment with them in regions with harsh winters (injuries received by the root system will not allow the plant to fully adapt and grow the root system sufficient to to withstand the winter even with shelter).

Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Conditions Required for Large Leaf Hydrangea

Despite the status of shade-tolerant shrubs inherent to all hydrangeas without exception, macrophylls do not belong to such. Even in southern regions with mild winters, this plant can be planted only in partial shade, and not in the shade, and in regions with severe winters, plants should be classified as photophilous.

But choosing a place for large-leaf hydrangea, it is not worth rushing to plant it in hot sunny areas, protecting it from midday and lunch rays. So that large-leaved hydrangea does not suffer from heat and root overheating, plants are planted in a place where they will be illuminated not by the daytime, but by the morning or evening sun (but not less than 6 hours a day). Conventional sunny areas will cause the leaves and inflorescences to droop and wither daily in the shrub in the summer, and the latter may not recover even at night.

When choosing a place, it is worth considering the location in relation to trees and shrubs. Despite the fact that in most landscape projects hydrangeas can be seen under the trees, planting macrophiles in such a company is still not a good idea. Hydrangea is hygroscopic and under woody can suffer from a lack of moisture, which will be pulled from the ground by giants.

Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Planting large-leaved hydrangeas

Macrofill planting requires great care and careful preparation. The main attention should be paid to the preparation of the place and the soil mixture, with which the landing pit will be filled.

The optimal planting dates in regions with severe winters (including in the middle lane) are spring. Hydrangea planting is carried out as soon as the weather permits, the soil will not only thaw, but also warm up, and the threat of severe frost will pass.

For large-leaved hydrangea, the recommended distance during planting is about 1 m.

Hydrangea is not covered with soil simply taken out when digging a hole, but a special soil mixture is prepared in which the roots adapt and germinate faster. Peat, humus, coniferous soil are added to the garden soil in equal shares, preparing a loose and super-nutritious earth mix.

The garden soil removed from the pit, in turn, can be replaced with a mixture in equal shares of sod, leaf soil and sand. But the key point is the determination of soil acidity, which, in turn, will provide color for the inflorescences. If you want to grow those very blue, blue or purple hydrangeas (you can get them only from varieties with pink or red color, but not from white-colored hydrangeas), then you need to prepare in advance a soil that will provide the initial high acidity.

For hydrangeas with blue colors, the pH should be from 5.0 to 5.5. For hydrangeas with white, pink and red inflorescences, the permissible value is from 6.0 to 6.2 (in acidic soil, the color of non-white varieties will change to lilac or blue).

In any case, large-leaved hydrangeas cannot be planted in the soil with a calcareous reaction (the maximum permissible pH value is 6.4). If you want to get blue or lilac stains, then you need to add aluminum sulfate to the soil. At the same time, if the soil is modified specifically to obtain blue hydrangeas, it must be remembered that such an addition is only the first step. In the future, it will be possible to preserve the colors only with proper watering and fertilizing. In addition to acidifying additives, a full portion of complex mineral fertilizers is also added to the soil. Today, the addition of hydrogel has become fashionable, which allows you to more effectively retain moisture.

The dimensions of the planting pit should correspond to the size of the root lump of large-leaf hydrangea: about 35 cm in depth and width for small bushes in small containers and half-meter pits for larger specimens. Preparing a landing pit will also require additional tricks. To avoid the risk of stagnation of water even on ordinary clay soils, to improve water and air permeability, to create an optimal environment, a drainage layer (expanded clay or pebbles, but not crushed stone) should be laid at the bottom of the planting pits.

Before planting, the upper free layer of the substrate is carefully removed from the container (usually it is quite dirty), and the plant is watered abundantly for at least a few hours. When removing hydrangea, you need to be very careful and try not to destroy the earthen lump. In a tight container or pot around the perimeter of an earthen coma, as a rule, strong young roots curl, as if braiding a substrate. They need to be straightened, without injuring the small roots, straighten, straighten.

At the bottom of the pit, a thin layer of soil is poured and a small mound is created. Hydrangea is established on it, straightening long roots. Then the seedling is gently covered with a prepared soil mixture, carefully tamping the soil and gently compacting it around the root coma. When planting, you need to ensure that the level of deepening of the root neck does not change.

Planting of large-leaved hydrangea is completed by abundant watering and mulching: the trunk circle is closed with a layer of peat or a mixture of peat and compost 7 to 10 cm high.

Planting hydrangea macrophylla

Large Hydrangea Care

Humidity and watering requirements

Large-leaved hydrangeas, like any other species of this shrub, were not accidentally given the name hydrangea. But if some types of hydrangeas are content only with watering in a drought, then the large-leaved beauty needs a more thorough approach. For this hydrangea, the soil in the near-stem circle must be maintained in a constantly wet state.

Since uniform moisture can be achieved only by systemic irrigation, hydrofoil macrophyllus is watered regularly (at least 1 time per month), learning procedures in drought and heat (1 watering per week is considered the optimal strategy). For each hydrangea bush, 20-25 liters of water are used, deeply soaking the soil under the plant. Hydrangeas are watered under the root, so that both garden soil and the lump of land that were preserved during planting are soaked.

Shrubs need watering not only in spring and summer, but also in autumn. Lack of moisture during preparation for winter can cause severe damage to the plant. But excess moisture in the fall is very dangerous. If the weather is rainy and there is a lot of rainfall, then large-leaved hydrangea is protected from getting wet, because it should go under cover with reduced soil moisture and a dried crown.

You can simplify the watering process by taking care of mulching: it will allow you to more effectively retain moisture and protect the root system from overheating. To mulch garden hydrangeas, materials are used that play the role of an acidifying additive - coniferous litter, coniferous soil or pine bark. Mulch is updated 2-3 times per season.

The characteristics of water for hydrangea irrigation are of great importance. For blue and lilac hydrangeas, watering can be carried out only with soft or acidified water, the pH of which does not exceed 5.5. But for any other hydrangeas it is preferable to use soft or rain, warm, settled water.

For large-leaved hydrangeas, drip irrigation systems can be installed that effectively direct water to the roots and maintain stable soil moisture.

Watering large-leaved hydrangea

Trimming and forming large leaf hydrangea

As is the case with most flowering shrubs, garden hydrangeas should not be pruned immediately and begin these regular procedures from the first year. In the first three years, the shrub builds up the root system, and while the rooting process lasts, one should not expect lush flowering, there is no need to carry out regular pruning procedures to stimulate it. The only thing that the bushes need is sanitary pruning or cleaning, during which dry and damaged shoots are removed.

Only after three years they begin to carry out regular procedures. Hydrangea inflorescences can be removed both in autumn and spring, but it is better to leave them for the winter, like the upper leaves, for optimal protection of the kidneys. Pruning on remontant and ordinary, blooming only on the shoots of the previous year, hydrangeas, differs:

  1. In ordinary varieties, pruning is carried out in early spring, after removal of the shelter, combining sanitary pruning with the removal of last year's inflorescences to the first live bud on branches (if the inflorescences were not removed in the fall).
  2. In repairing hydrangeas, pruning is carried out to the second or third bud on all shoots, stimulating the development of several lateral peduncles and increasing the number of inflorescences.

For rejuvenation of large-leaved hydrangea bushes, partial cutting is performed in spring: 2-3 of the oldest shoots (but not more than a quarter of all branches) are removed, at the place of which new replacement branches will gradually grow. Cardinal rejuvenation will not only make you wait for a new flowering for several years, but also increase the risk of hydrangea loss. It is better to rejuvenate the plant gradually, over the course of several years, removing the oldest shoots.

Pruning hydrangea macrophylla

Nutrient supplementation and acidification for hydrangea macrophyll

When choosing the type of fertilizer for feeding, the desired color of large-leaved hydrangeas should be taken into account. For blue and lilac hydrangeas, only fertilizers with a low phosphorus content can be used, the excess and even the usual amount of which can prevent discoloration. For intense and pure red and pink hydrangeas, on the contrary, fertilizers with a high phosphorus content are chosen.

For hydrangeas, it is better to use special fertilizers that are in the product lines of all popular manufacturers of fertilizing for garden plants. Fertilizers are also suitable for other plants that love acidic soil - rhododendrons, heathers, etc. But you can use a comprehensive universal fertilizer, and separately nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus fertilizers, mixing them yourself.

The main advantage of special fertilizers for hydrangeas is the correct ratio of not only the basic elements, but trace elements that fully meet the characteristics of the shrub.

If you mix fertilizers yourself, and do not use ready-made preparations, then for blue hydrangeas mix 25 g of nitrogen fertilizers with 5 g of phosphorus and 30 g of potash for 1 top dressing, and for pink and red - 10 g of nitrogen fertilizers with 40 g of phosphor and 10 g of potash .

For large-leaved hydrangeas, three top dressings are usually applied:

  1. Spring, which is introduced at the very beginning of the growth of large-leaved hydrangea and containing all three microelements (can be replaced by top dressing with organic material or combine both top dressings).
  2. Two summer top dressings (in June for planting buds and a few weeks after the beginning of flowering), which can be carried out both with special fertilizers for hydrangeas, and exclusively with potassium-phosphorus fertilizers that improve the ripening of shoots and preparation for winter.

For all hydrangeas, from which they want to achieve blue, blue or purple flowering, in addition to conventional dressing, acidifying procedures are carried out, watering the plant with special fertilizers.Throughout the active season, with a frequency of 1 time in 7-14 days, the plant is watered with aluminum sulfate, or rather, with an aqueous solution of aluminum sulfate in the ratio of 1 tablespoon of the drug per 1 liter of water.

Also, iron or aluminum alum is used (8-10 crystals per 2 liters of water per 1 plant). For hydrangeas, in which they want to get a bright pink or red color, with a change in color and signs of acidification of the soil, it is better to conduct the opposite procedure in time - alkalization, introducing a handful of ash or dolomite flour into the soil.

Aluminum sulphate for acidification of the soil and staining of large-leaved hydrangea flowers.

Wintering of large-leaved hydrangea

The easiest way to protect low-resistance large-leaved hydrangeas for the winter is to dig and carry them in pots and containers, preserving them either in a cool room with frames or on the windowsill in the room with at least 2 months of full shading.

However, constant digging and planting will not allow the plant to grow a normal root system, and the absence of a full dormant phase will still affect flowering, and the risk of infection with diseases and pests will increase. If you want to keep hydrangea macrophyllum indoors in the winter, then it is better to grow it initially as an indoor or garden container plant, the care of which is somewhat different from the general rules.

For successful wintering in the soil, any hydrangea of ​​macrophyll, without exception, needs protection and shelter; even the newest varieties, with increased resistance or repair varieties, blooming more luxuriantly due to the ability to produce inflorescences on young twigs. Indeed, even in the best hydrangeas, winter hardiness is limited to only 18 degrees of frost. The shelter of garden hydrangeas is often compared to the shelter of roses, and they really have a lot in common.

The classical method of protecting large-leaved hydrangea for the winter involves the creation of several layers of shelter:

  • in mid-September, leaves are removed from the bottom of the large-leaved hydrangea bushes to improve lignification, and before the first frost, leaves are removed up to half of the shoots (if it rains in autumn, then an additional frame is constructed over the plant to protect it from overmoistening);
  • in late October or early November (if autumn is cold and the first frosts are observed earlier, then in mid-October), a hydrangea bush is sprinkled with peat using approximately 1 bucket per plant;
  • when the temperature drops significantly, a spruce or board is laid on the soil, the shoots of the plant are tilted and pinned;
  • the bush is covered with a dense layer of nonwoven materials;
  • bushes are covered with dry leaves on top;
  • Non-wetting protective materials (roofing material or film) are laid on the leaves.

Each stage of the shelter is created in a few days, completely closing hydrangeas only with the onset of stable frosts: warming threatens the bush no less than freezing. Holes in the shelter are left until severe frosts, if possible opening them during periods of thaw.

Hilling of large-leaved hydrangea for the winter.

There are other options for sheltering large-leaved hydrangea:

  • sprouted bushes of large-leaved hydrangea are bent to the ground, covered with leaves or covered with spruce branches, and covered with boxes or wooden boxes;
  • after hilling around the bushes, they spread the spruce branches or install a wooden flooring, pin the shoots and cover the large-leaved hydrangea bushes with spruce branches or dry leaves, covering them with non-woven materials; the last layer of shelter is created from peat or sawdust covered with waterproof materials

Shelter removal is carried out gradually, layer by layer with a difference of 2 to 3 days to 1 week. They begin to take cover in April, and finish only after the threat of spring frost has completely disappeared.

Control of pests and diseases of large-leaved hydrangea

Large-leaved hydrangeas can hardly be called the most persistent and hardy. This type of hydrangea often suffers:

  • from chlorosis, which occurs on alkaline soil and when irrigated with hard water, most often manifests itself in yellowing of leaves (you can fight with acidification of the soil);
  • from downy mildew, manifested in oily yellowing spots (it is better to fight with copper-containing preparations and fungicides);
  • from rust (the main method of control is spraying with copper sulfate);
  • from septoria (fungicides, burgundy and Bordeaux liquid);
  • from spider mites, which with drought and low humidity easily braid all shoots (the use of insecticides is required);
  • from mice and other rodents that are attracted to the warm winter shelter (it is better to set traps in advance or lay out the appropriate funds).

In the first year after planting, it is advisable to pour any large-leaved hydrangea with a weak solution of a complex fungicide to protect against rot and disease (you can also use a weak solution of potassium permanganate).

Large-leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

In autumn, as part of the preparations for winter for large-leaved hydrangeas, it is better to carry out preventive spraying with a Bordeaux mixture, which will improve the safety of branches, reduce the risk of undermining and prevent fungal diseases.