By Paul Walls
Are you searching for the perfect flower and getting ready for your next planned event or wedding? Sometimes there is no right or wrong flower but a matter preference as to what fits your needs or what fits your personality. The 101 series is a series of articles helping to educate everyone with the contrasts of various flowers. You may want to read the others in this series as well as many other helpful articles.
There are four things to keep in mind with hydrangeas:
- Hydrangeas are a shrub with flowers consisting of large, lush clusters of many blossoms. The three most common types are a) the large, full-headed variety, known as the mop head (the most popular; b) the disk-shaped variety with loose, graceful clusters of flowers consisting mostly of small closed buds, known as the lace cap; and c) the cream-colored, cone-shaped hydrangea with full, elongated blossoms, known as the panicle hydrangea.
- A fresh hydrangea has most of the flowers in the cluster open, Except for the lace cap variety. The flower is sturdy and firm to the touch.
- Aged hydrangeas have some of the blossoms on the cluster wilted; the overall flower feels soft to the touch.
- Hydrangeas benefit from extra conditioning. Drape cold, wet cloths over the top of the blossoms after they are cut.
Here are some facts about hydrangeas:
Varieties: Hydrangea Macrophylla, which includes the mop heads and lace cap varieties, and Hydrangea Paniculata, from which the cone-shaped variety is developed. The latter is sometimes referred to as PeeGee or P.G. hydrangea (from paniculata grandiflora)
Colors: Pale to intense shades of purple, pink, white, green, and some burgundy shades. Some varieties produce two-tone colors.
Freshness: Most of the flowers are open and firm to the touch.
Vase Life: If conditioned properly, 5 to 7 days or longer.
Availability: Summer into early fall.
Cost: Moderately expensive.
Arranging Tip: These large blossoms are wonderful for creating a colorful base for arrangements. The flower acts as a big cushion, holding other flowers in place as you build your arrangement. Hydrangeas cut in the late summer and fall may dry naturally, holding their color and shape.
Other: Hydrangeas wilt easily when cut. They benefit from special care and conditioning for prolonged vase life. Place the ends of the stems in boiling water, being careful to protect the blossoms from the steam. Place the boiled end, approximately 1 inch, into powdered alum (available at most grocery stores). Gently tap the excess powder from the stem ends and place in deep, cool water. Drape the top of the blossoms with a cold wet cloth, keeping the cloth moist by misting frequently during the conditioning period—about four hours. This helps harden the blossoms.
Here are some varieties you may want to choose from:
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