Description of Great Escape Hydrangea, planting and care
A gardener who wants to decorate his plot with a decorative shrub with luxurious flowers can be advised such an option as hydrangea. This perennial plant has more than fifty of the most varied species, and thanks to the efforts of breeders inside each of them - no less than the number of varieties. With all the wealth of choice, it makes sense to pay attention to the Great Escape variety, young and little-known so far, a variety of Hydrangea paniculata (hydrangea with many faces paniculate), which will be discussed.
Botanical grade description
Great Escape hydrangea variety (Great Escape) was bred in the Darthouse nursery from the seeds of the wild-growing variety Kyushu, introduced to Europe almost a hundred years ago by the British botanist, dendrologist and famous plant collector Ingram Collingwood from an expedition to the Japanese island of Kyushu. It is this geographical name that gave the name to the variety that has become popular (and even awarded the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Society of Gardeners), having transformed due to difficulties with the pronunciation of Japanese words in Kyushu.
Did you know? Great Escape pink flowers can be temporarily turned blue by acidifying the soil at the beginning of the season with aluminum or ammonium sulfates. Next year, if the event is not repeated, the acidity of the soil will naturally decrease, and the hydrangea inflorescences will again acquire the color inherent in the variety.
Wild ancestors of Great Escape grow, in addition to Japan, on the islands of Java and Sakhalin, as well as in the Philippines, Southeast and Central China (Tibet), Korea, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan. Kyushu is also found in some areas of India and Pakistan, in the mountains of Central America, in Chile.A distinctive feature of Kiyushu, inherited and Great Escape, is the glossy sheen of the outer side of the sheet plate. According to the external description, the new variety is a powerful erect deciduous bush, which, with good care, reaches 2–2.5 m in height and about the same dimensions in width.
The main botanical characteristics of Great Escape hydrangeas are as follows:
|Shoots||Long, directed upwards, the bark has a reddish-brown tint|
|Crown||Wide and spreading. Fan-shaped, vase-like or in the form of a fountain - depending on the cutting method|
|Leaves||Oval or ovoid. In spring and summer, saturated green, yellow in the fall. Petioles are maroon. The length of the sheet plate is about 12 cm|
|Inflorescences||Formed on each branch. Multi-flowered. Type of inflorescence - panicle. Shape - long, up to 25 cm, cone|
|Flowers||Sterile and fertile. The first ones are larger, up to 25 mm in diameter, the second ones are smaller and faster crumble. At the time of blooming, the fruiting flower has a lemon, beige or snow-white color, with time it becomes bright pink. It is a good honey plant. The number of petals is 4. The aroma is weakly expressed|
|Fruit||Type - box, size - no more than 3 mm. After ripening, cracking at the top|
|Root system||Surface (the depth is less than the height of the aboveground part)|
Great Escape begins to bloom quite late - with 4 or even 5 years of life. But this period lasts a very long time: hydrangea forms its first buds at the end of June or in July (depending on the region), and it does not fade completely until mid-September and even early October. Flowering occurs annually, but its intensity under the influence of weather conditions can vary.
Did you know? In Japanese, the name of hydrangea sounds like “adzisai”, literally translated as “purple sunny flower”.
In one place without a transplant, the bush can grow normally up to 40 years. In landscape design, Great Escape is used both as a solitaire and in group compositions. In addition, a powerful, strong and durable bush is well suited for unformed, that is, not assuming even pruning along one line, hedges.
In order for hydrangea to quickly take over and please the eye with regular, plentiful and prolonged flowering, it is important to avoid critical errors at the stage of planting a bush.
The composition of the soil Great Escape, like other artificially bred varieties of hydrangea, is quite demanding. It is crucial that the soil is acidic. The maximum allowable pH level at which the plant will feel comfortable is 5.5, but it is better that this indicator is even lower (optimally - from 4.0 to 5.0). The next parameter, which is of great importance for the ornamental shrub, is soil fertility. On poor soils, hydrangeas grow slowly, and their flowering is sparse and short-lived.
Important! Nitrogen fertilizers need to be applied only if planting is carried out in the spring. In autumn, nitrogen, which stimulates the rapid development of green mass, is likely to harm the shrub.
For this reason, at the stage of preparing the planting pit, organic fertilizers (compost, humus, rotted manure), as well as humates, which stimulate the reproduction of soil microflora, must be introduced into the soil mixture, due to which the composition and structure of the soil naturally improves. Fresh manure in this case is directly prohibited, since it reduces the acidity of the soil and increases the content of lime in it, which hydrangea really does not like.Since the hydrangea root system is horizontal, close to the surface of the earth, the plant needs the soil in the upper layers to be light and loose, let air through well and not hold water (stagnation of water for the shrub is destructive). From this point of view, loam is ideal for Great Escape, but such soil in its pure form is quite rare, therefore, in most cases, garden soil has to be loosened and lightened artificially before planting.
You can do this with sand, but it is even better to use peat, sawdust or litter brought from coniferous forest - a mixture of rotted leaves, needles, sand and podzolic soil. Such an additive, in addition to improving air and water permeability, greatly increases the acidity of the soil. Another important component that must be added to the soil before planting Hydrangea paniculata is mineral fertilizers.
Based on one bush, it is recommended to use:
- superphosphate - 60 g;
- potassium sulfate - 20 g;
- carbamide - 20 g.
Video: preparing soil for hydrangea
Seat and Seedling Selection
The shrub develops best in a sunny area, but it is also quite tolerant of partial shade. Moreover, direct exposure to the hot midday sun can lead to burns of leaves and inflorescences, as a result of which the bush sharply loses its decorative effect. It is also noted that from an excess of bright light, flowering occurs later, and the flowers are small and few. For this reason, it is optimal to choose a place so that in the morning or in the evening the plant is illuminated as best as possible, and in the afternoon it is shaded.
The water-loving hydrangea Great Escape is more suitable for a lowland than an elevated area where the earth dries faster, but stagnation of water in the soil should not be allowed. If the depth of groundwater is comparable with the location of the root system of the bush (1.5–2 m from the surface of the earth), then before planting it is necessary to ensure their discharge. In other cases, it is enough to lay drainage of broken brick or gravel at the bottom of the landing pit. As for the planting material itself, experts recommend purchasing panicle hydrangea seedlings at the age of 4–5 years.In this case, you can count on flowering a year after purchase. For the grown seedling, you need to prepare a rather deep hole - approximately 80 × 80 cm, since its root system is much larger than that of traditionally used for planting one- or two-year-old plants. In the latter case, it is enough to dig a hole 50 cm deep and about the same in width. When planning a place to plant hydrangeas, it is also important to consider the recommended distance between the shrub and other tall plants (including the same species).
There are several rules here:
- the standard distance between Hydrangea paniculata and its neighbors is at least 1–1.5 m;
- during the formation of hedges, a more thickened planting is allowed, when between plants no more than 70–90 cm of free space remains, but to prevent the development of diseases and pests in dense branches, the bush must be often and heavily trimmed;
- for planting hydrangea on a bush for a bush, you need to leave at least 2–2.5 m of free space on each side to maintain decorativeness.
Due to the specific requirements of the shrub to the composition of the soil, it is rather difficult for hydrangeas to select successful neighbors. In the preparation of decorative compositions, annual and perennial plants should be planted next to it, giving preference to slightly acidic or acidic substrates.
These include, for example:
- Pansies, but not garden, but wild, swampy;
- caustic buttercup;
- multi-leaf lupine;
- May lily of the valley;
- tenacious creeping;
- some types of ferns;
- lilies from the line of East Asian origin, etc.
Among the trees and shrubs suitable for hydrangea as neighbors, you should first name the viburnum and flowering calicant, also known as a spicy bush.
Regarding the timing of planting hydrangeas, specialists do not have a single opinion. Some of them prefer the spring, when the sap flow is just beginning, the buds have not yet swollen, but the temperature at night does not drop below zero, and the soil has managed to warm up a little.
Others, on the contrary, believe that it is better to plant a decorative shrub in the fall, after leaf fall, when the plant entered a dormant state before winter. In addition, in this case, the bush will not be attacked by pests over the coming months.
The following are some tips for beginners:
- for regions with a warm climate, it makes sense to take advantage of the obvious advantages of autumn planting, but where winters are cold, windy and lightly snowy, frost often gives way to thaws and there is a high probability of frost on the branches, it is better to plant trees and shrubs in spring;
- autumn planting is more suitable for grown seedlings with a developed root system, while young bushes in this case are less likely to survive the approaching frosts;
- when buying a seedling in a container, when it can be transplanted by transshipment, together with an earthen lump, without disturbing the root system, you can do this at any time of the year, including in summer and even in winter, during a prolonged thaw.
Great Escape can not be called moody and whimsical. If planting is carried out correctly, subsequent problems with caring for the plant usually do not arise, however, some nuances still need to be known and observed.
Hydrangea does not need frequent feeding, but when applying fertilizers at the beginning, middle and end of the season, the bush develops much better. If at the time of planting the soil mixture was prepared correctly, it should begin to enrich it additionally no earlier than a year later.
Important! During flowering, bushes should not be sprayed — this can damage the inflorescences and deprive them of decorativeness.
An exemplary hydrangea feeding scheme looks like this:
|Application Time||Fertilizer composition|
|The end of spring, the period of leaf blooming (first feeding)||Complex mineral fertilizers, for example, nitroammophosk - about 40 g per bush|
|The first half of summer, the beginning of the laying of buds (second feeding)||70 g of potassium sulphide and 40 g of superphosphate per 1 bush (the mixture must be diluted in 10 l of water and pour the resulting solution under the root of the plant)|
|The end of summer - the beginning of autumn, the period of active flowering (third feeding)||Organic fertilizers, for example, well-rotted manure. Fertilizer should first be infused for a week, diluting in a small amount of water (3 parts water to 1 part mullein), then prepare a 10% solution from the resulting concentrate and use it for watering|
In addition to root dressing, a hydrangea bush during the season can be sprayed with water 2-3 times with the addition of iron chelates. These preparations will provide a rich green color to the leaves and prevent the development of chlorosis. In the same form, you can add potassium humate or other natural stimulants.Excess fertilization for hydrangea is also undesirable: if the bush forms too lush and large inflorescences from the excess of nutrients in the soil, the shoots may not withstand such a severity and begin to break off. In this case, the plant has to be strengthened with the help of supports.
All hydrangeas are very hygrophilous, so you need to water them often and plentifully. The recommended scheme in the period of warm and dry summers is 2 times a week, 30 liters of water per bush. The rest of the time, watering intensity can be reduced based on weather conditions, but even if not very hot, 20 liters of water per week for hydrangea is the minimum dose.
Did you know? The Latin name for hydrangea literally translates as “a vessel with water” (hydor - “water”, aggeion - “capacity”). The bush was endowed with this name by the French traveler Earl Louis Antoine de BouxgeNvil during a round-the-world expedition, thereby wanting to emphasize the moisture loving nature of the plant.
Experts recommend giving preference when watering not cold rain water, and if this is not possible, carefully defend the tap water before watering and add a little citric acid into it (about 1 tsp per bucket). It is important to prevent moisture from entering the leaves and inflorescences.During flowering, hydrangea can be watered only at the root, and until the buds appear, sprinkling is allowed only in the evening when the sun has set, or in the early morning until the plant is in danger of burns. In irrigation water, you can add aluminum sulfate at the rate of 30 g per 10 liters. This drug increases the acidity of the soil, which hydrangeas really like, but you need to keep in mind that from such an additive, its flowers can change color from white to blue, and from pink to purple.
Pruning is an important activity in the care of all ornamental shrubs. Depending on the main goal, the technology of the procedure is changing. So, during the first year after planting, hydrangea is not necessary to trim, however, experts recommend carefully cutting (it is better to pinch with your fingers) the buds, if they appear. Such a trick will allow the plant to focus its vitality on rooting and gaining green mass.
After the seedling reaches the age at which full flowering can be expected (5-6 years), it must be cut every year in the early spring, until sap flow begins. This is done to form a decorative crown and improve the quality of inflorescences. It is noted that in the absence of spring pruning, hydrangea is elongated, becomes strong and powerful, but the panicles form small ones, while in the beginning of the season the bush trimmed in the summer is covered with large and lush clusters of flowers.You must also know that hydrangea inflorescences are formed only on young shoots. To stimulate their appearance, all last year's branches are cut off by about 70% of their original length or by 2-3 eyes, and the cut must be performed immediately above the upper kidney.The second goal of spring pruning is sanitary. Damaged, frozen and dry shoots must be removed, otherwise they will become a breeding ground for diseases and pests.
Finally, during the same period, it is most convenient to thin out the bush, this is especially important for thickened plantings. First of all, you need to remove the branches directed inside the bush, cutting them into a ring, that is, at the trunk itself. The old bush can be rejuvenated by a radical haircut. From 6 to 10 strong skeletal branches are selected on the plant, all others are pruned to the root.You can do even easier: completely cut the bush at ground level. In this case, already in the current season the plant will give copious growth, and next year it will bloom fully. Autumn pruning involves only the removal of faded panicles, which, as they dry, become unappealing. In addition, if you leave the inflorescences until spring, snow caps can begin to accumulate on them, under the weight of which the branches break.
Great Escape is distinguished by high winter hardiness. In regions with a warm climate (for example, in Ukraine), the bush does not require any preparation for winter, except for plentiful watering before the start of frosts. Even in the middle lane this hydrangea variety can winter without shelter, with the exception of only young and immature seedlings. They, as well as hydrangeas grown in the Urals or Siberia, should be protected at the end of autumn by abundantly covering the area of the trunk circle with peat, sawdust or even fallen leaves.
For a more serious shelter, lutrasil, spanbond and other materials are used that wrap the bush over the entire height. But to bend to the ground and dig in the branches, as is done with the vine, in this case it is impossible, since the hydrangea shoots from such manipulation, as a rule, break. An adult bush can withstand temperatures down to –30 ° C, but with sharp changes in temperature and return frosts the wood sometimes freezes. This should not be scared, because the variety has a high ability to regenerate.
Disease and Pest Prevention
Of the fungal diseases for panicle hydrangea, the greatest danger is powdery mildew (real and false), rot (white and gray), and also septoria. Most often, the cause of the lesion is improper care, in particular, high humidity, so this should be corrected. Fungicidal preparations are used directly for treatment: Cumulus, Fundazol, Topaz, Chistotsvet, Alirin-B, etc. From time to time, pests such as spider mites, aphids, gall nematodes, and snails can also attack hydrangea.
Unfavorable conditions for the plant also contribute to their appearance, but in this case, the risk factor is rather drought than overmoistening. Folk methods of combating parasites include treating the bush with soapy water, infusion of onions, garlic, celandine, wormwood and other plant volatile. If such a remedy does not help, resort to insecticidal preparations of industrial production - “Thiofas”, “Calypso”, “Vermitek”, “Akarin”, “Tanrek”, “Commander”, etc.
One of the reasons explaining the love of many gardeners to hydrangeas is that this shrub reproduces very easily. This procedure can be carried out in several ways, including seed, although vegetative ones are much easier to implement, and therefore it is preferable to give preference to them. In particular, all varieties of Hydrangea paniculata reproduce equally well by cuttings and layering.
Growing hydrangea from seeds is not so much a difficult task as a long one, therefore in practice it is used only for indoor species of this plant. Great Escape, which begins to bloom only at the age of 6-7 years, is objectively poorly suitable for such a method of growing.
Important! Seeds need to be collected only from fertile, that is, smaller flowers, since large ones, as was said, are sterile and do not produce offspring.
Those wishing to conduct an experiment should:
- Collect seeds from the boxes of the faded bush, slightly dry them, and proceed to planting in February.
- First, the seed material needs to be sprouted, spread between layers of wet gauze, then, after swelling, sprinkle on the surface of the substrate from peat, sand and sheet soil taken in equal parts.
- With periodic spraying, the sprouts should appear after a couple of weeks.
- When the seedlings form a pair of true leaves, they are dived.
- Before planting in open ground, such plants need to be prepared for at least 2-3 years, and then expect the same to begin flowering.
Until recently, hydrangeas were propagated exclusively by layering, since it is simple and reliable. However, grafting allows you to get a much larger number of plants, while they take root very well. As a handle, you can use the shoots left after pruning. Each should have at least 2 kidneys: one for rooting, the second for forming the aerial parts. Cuttings are buried in wet sand at an angle of 60 °, covered with a film and periodically sprayed. After a year, a rooted plant is ready for transplanting into open ground.
With good care, Great Escape provides copious growth, which is very convenient to use as layering. In early spring, before the buds appear, you need to thoroughly loosen the soil near the bush, make a small trench in it up to 15 cm deep, then bend it to the ground and put the lower side hydrangea shoot into the recess, then dig it and, if necessary, fix it with a hairpin.
The top of the shoot must remain on the surface of the earth: it is she who will become the basis of the new plant. To do this, it needs to be leveled, tied to a support, and watered abundantly during the season, and next year, when the layering gets its own root system, dig it out, carefully separating it from the mother bush, and plant it in a new place.
Hydrangeas have recently become increasingly popular due to the huge number of new original varieties. The Great Escape belongs to them, belonging to the species Hydrangea paniculata (panicle hydrangea with many faces). Created on the basis of a wild shrub from the distant island of Kyushu (Japan), this variety has taken root well in Europe and Russia, where its good immunity, endurance and high decorativeness of lush white and pink inflorescences have been appreciated.