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Hydrangeas: Everything you need to know about these bouncy blooms

Synonymous with New Zealand summer, hydrangeas are an easy way to make a fun, floral statement. Here’s how to care for these beautiful blooms

Hydrangeas: Everything you need to know about these bouncy blooms

The blooming of big, blowsy hydrangeas is one of summer’s true pleasures. Most hydrangeas grown in New Zealand are varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla, often referred to as ‘mophead’ or ‘lacecap’ hydrangeas.

Flowers range from white and pale pink to dark blue and purple, depending on the acidity of the soil. Cut stems should be placed in fresh water and kept out of direct sunlight; to prolong vase life, recut stems every day and spritz blooms with cool water. Here we’ve combined white and pink hydrangeas with dinner-plate peonies to create a romantic, cascading arrangement.

Hydrangeas come in lots of shapes and sizes but the most common are the mopheads (Hydrangea macrophylla) with their big flowerheads and easy-care nature. A close cousin is H. paniculata, prized for its large white flowerheads and cold-tolerance. For autumn colour try one of the American oak-leafed hydrangeas (H. quercifolia), which will cope with quite heavy frosts. An evergreen hydrangea (Dichroa), originally from Vietnam, will suit warmer gardens.

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The Botanist Eden Kersten’s top hydrangea hacks

When are hydrangeas in season/available? 
You will find them from December through to March.

What colours are they available in?
Whites, mauves, all shades of pinks and antique varieties which appear later in the season.

Should stems be trimmed or the leaves removed before putting them in a vase?
Yes, three quarters of the leaves should be removed and the stems cut on an angle.

How do we keep the cut flower looking its best?
Give them heaps of water and keep them out of direct sunlight. If the flower starts to look a little sad, dunk the heads in water for 30 mins as hydrangeas drink from their heads.

How long do they last in a vase?
They will last for 5-7 days. Antique hydrangeas can last for up to a couple of weeks though!

What other flowers do hydrangeas look good with?
Because they are such a large flower, try and keep them with other large blooms.

What’s a new way to display them that we might not have thought of?
Hydrangeas look their best en mass! Team it with some beautiful foliage and you can’t go wrong.

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