All about pink hydrangea
From the flowering bush of pink hydrangea it is impossible to take your eyes off. The plant, which was secretly imported from Japan in the XYIII century, is now the king of gardens and parks, attracting attention with bright petals. Luxurious branches and lush crowns of large-flowered species will decorate any site, complementing the landscape with an atmosphere of comfort and romance. How not to ruin the beauty of the bush, but to reveal it in full force, is described in the article.
Hydrangea (from the Latin. "Hydrangea") belongs to the genus of flowering plants of the Hortensia family. It can be tree-like, curly, but more common shrubby. A sprawling bush can reach 1 to 3 m in height and be evergreen or deciduous. In the latitudes of the temperate climate, the second type is more common, to which the pink species belongs. Flowering lasts from spring to late autumn. For this characteristic, the plant is often used in landscape design, because it blooms almost the entire season. Inflorescences are panicle type, forming lush balls at the end of the stem.
Flowers are usually divided into two types:
- fertile (small and bloom in the center of the inflorescence);
- sterile (large, placed around the edges).
Curiously, the plant does not always bloom pink. The color of the petals of large-leaved hydrangea depends on the level of hydrogen in the soil and the level of moisture. In alkaline soil the color will be pale pink, in neutral it will be creamy, and in acidic it will be blue. Thus, depending on the amount of minerals in the earth, the frequency and type of fertilizer per season, a plant may surprise you with the multifaceted transition from raspberry to red, then blue, blue and purple.
Did you know? In Japan, hydrangea is considered the same symbol as sakura, and its name translates as "purple sun." Along the Hakone-Tozan Railway, about a million shrubs are planted, which are illuminated by lanterns, creating fabulous splendor.
Hydrangea fruits form up to 5 separate capsules up to 3 mm long with small seeds. The roots do not go deep into the soil, and their diameter significantly exceeds the area of the bush. Large leaves are ellipsoid green or dark green in color.
Varieties of Pink Hydrangea
The encyclopedic nomenclature includes 52 species of hydrangea and thousands of innumerable varieties. Only a large-leaved plant has more than 600 of them, because each gardener or breeder can develop his own variety with a unique color.
The most common varieties of pink hydrangea are:
- ground cover;
There is also Bretschneider hydrangea, Chinese, ashen, bract, bark, Sargent, pilata, and others, but pink shades of inflorescences are not typical for them.
It is impossible to list all varieties, but the most popular of them with a delicate or saturated pink color are:
- Red baron - perennial plant with four-petalled flowers. Differ in a juicy raspberry shade and active flowering;
- Pink diamond - large inflorescences with pale lilac or pinkish tint. They prefer acidic soils and look good alone;
- Papillon - terry inflorescences with flowers twisted into a rose. It grows compactly, not sprawling, has an amazing sweet aroma;
- Vanilla Frize - A recognizable variety with a gradient transition from white to pink. It has pyramidal inflorescences and tall, sprawling branches.
How to plant
Each of the varieties has its own growing characteristics and climate requirements, so the following are the general characteristics for pink panicled and large-leaved hydrangea, most often found in areas. Perennial bushes are demanding of conditions, which is not surprising, because beauty needs constant attention. If you want to grow a lush and healthy bush on the site, you need to work hard to get a generous reward later.
Did you know? In addition to the title of the most beautiful flowering shrub, hydrangea may also deserve the title of the most ancient. According to excavations in North America, a beautiful flower grew 40 thousand years ago.
Experienced gardeners advise planting hydrangea in the early spring, after the winter frosts leave. It is important to do this after thawing the snow, but before the first buds open. Or in the warm autumn - in September. For colder climates, planting should only be done in spring. But do not expect a lush crown from a young plant, because it blooms only for 4–5 years.
Site selection and soil preparation
Hydrangea loves a lot of light and from its abundance gives large flowers, but direct sunlight should be avoided. It is best to choose shaded areas with diffused light - in this case, the bush will show itself “in all its glory”. You can plant a plant in the shade, but this will affect the size of the inflorescences, make them smaller and more compact. It is recommended to avoid places with trees that absorb water very much, since hydrangea prefers natural moisture in the soil, which will also save your energy on watering. The site should be protected from drafts and strong winds.
The more acidic the soil, the brighter the inflorescences will be, respectively, the less acidity, the more neutral the color of the flowers. The soil for planting should be loose, moderately moist and breathable. River sand, peat chips and humus are brought into hard ground. The optimum level of acidity is pH 5.2–6.0. The soil can be acidified with urea, iron chelate, sheet soil, shavings, needles. Chipped bricks can be used for drainage. Weak development of the bush is possible on calcareous and sandy soils, clay, humus-rich areas are ideal.
If you have a hydrangea seedling and live in a warm climate, you can plant in the fall. If you doubt that the bush will take root due to the cool unstable climate, it is better to wait until spring. For planting, take material with an already formed root system. The day before planting, place the seedling in the water. The roots should not be dry, but sufficiently moist. To stimulate root formation, it is recommended to add “Kornevin” or “Heteroauxin” to the water. The solution makes even the weakest cuttings grow and develops the root system.
Detailed landing rules
Hydrangea should be planted at a distance of at least 120 cm from other plants and 230 cm from trees. Due to the surface and growing in breadth of the root system, the landing pit should be wide (50-60 cm) and not deep (35-45 cm). The root neck is deepened by a maximum of 2 cm or fixed at ground level, otherwise it may begin to rot.
Important! Fertilizer proportions are applied according to the amount of earthen mixture. For every 10 kg of humus, add 20 g of urea, 20 g of potassium and 60 g of superphosphate.
When planting a flower, you should follow the step by step instructions:
- Dig a wide hole two days before planting.
- Lay out the drainage and the soil mixture, completely covering the seat.
- Add complex fertilizer from urea, potassium sulfate and superphosphate.
- Stir the mixture, let it settle and settle for two days.
- Dig a hole in the earthen mixture, place a seedling in it with straightened roots.
- To fill up with earth around the trunk and compact it tightly.
- Water the planted bush so that the roots are abundantly saturated with water (about 8 l).
- Sprinkle the root area with sawdust, peat or bark.
How to care
Compliance with the rules of agricultural technology during planting is not enough for proper care, because then you need to take care of regular watering, maintaining the acidity of the soil, sanitary pruning and making useful substances. The soil must be loosened periodically, apply mulch under the root and monitor the preservation of moisture. Hydrangeas, as a true beauty, are characterized by exactingness and whimsicality, therefore, to obtain abundant flowering, efforts must be made.
Watering and feeding
Moisture for hydrangea is the main criterion for healthy development, therefore, water the bush abundantly and often, avoiding fatal drought. Water is introduced into the near-stem circle in an amount of at least 15 liters of water per adult plant. Watering should be done in the moderate period - once every two weeks, in dry weather - once a week, in rainy summers - 4-5 times per season.
The procedure can be combined with spraying, which will benefit the plant only. Adding a few drops of potassium permanganate to the water will serve as a preventive measure against the formation of rot, and lemon juice and vinegar will protect the plant from the formation of chlorosis. Since Hydrangea blooms lushly and grows rapidly, it abundantly absorbs mineral reserves from the soil. To replenish the balance of acidity and vitamins, it is necessary to periodically supplement.
The general rule for fertilizing has a seasonal pattern:
- April - July - acidic fertilizers (potassium sulfate, ammonium sulfate);
- July - October - potassium phosphorus (bone meal, potassium nitrate).
Feeding begins in April, when the air temperature managed to warm up to +10 ... + 12 ° С. During this period, acid and nitrogen fertilizers are applied. You can prepare a solution of calcium nitrate by dissolving 1 tbsp. l in 10 liters of water. In May and June, the time comes for organic fertilizing. It is recommended to add a mixture of chicken droppings and water in a ratio of 1:10 every two weeks.
Important! Organic fertilizers should not be zealous, because their overabundance can have a detrimental effect on flowering.
For abundant flowering in mid-June, the bush is watered with a solution of superphosphate and potassium sulfate in the proportions of 65 g and 45 g per 10 liters of water. It is also possible periodically to bring iron and magnesium under the bush, which are part of the finished preparations Agrekol, Kompo, Ecoplant, Agricola Aqua.
Mulching and cultivation
Loosening is a small-scale cultivation of a small area of land, suggesting an increase in air flow into the root system. As a result of this procedure, the upper hard soil layer is destroyed and weeds are destroyed. For hydrangeas, the procedure is recommended to be performed after each irrigation on moist soil.
Loosening will help:
- to clear the earth of the roots of weeds;
- open access for oxygen;
- enhance decomposition of organic residues;
- better to absorb moisture.
Mulching is a basal coating with organic components to maintain the necessary level of soil temperature, to prevent the formation of soil crust. The Hydrangea bush needs a mulch in the spring, before the shoots begin to bloom. The procedure will not allow the roots to dry out and protect against the active growth of weeds. Freshly cut grass, decayed leaves, needles, shavings, bark, sawdust, hay, and straw are used as compost. It is applied to the trunk circle up to 7 cm thick. Mulching can be repeated every month before watering.
The first two years it is better to direct the power of the plant to the development of the root system, in connection with this, the inflorescences at the bud stage must be cut off. This will allow the roots and the aerial parts to be actively strengthened, delighting with lush flowering in the future. Pruning starts from the age of three, but each type of hydrangea has its own haircut rules.
For the large-leafed pink species, a “cosmetic procedure” is carried out, which involves the removal of old, dead, weak and thin shoots, as well as branches wrapped inward. This will increase the decorativeness of the plant and rejuvenate it for further active growth.
A panicled bush annually needs formative pruning, due to which the inflorescences will become larger. In this case, all last year's shoots are shortened by a third, competing shoots are removed. The best time to cut both varieties is the beginning of spring before the swelling of the kidneys (March) or the autumn period when the sap flow ends (October).
Hydrangea is sensitive to cold, and even winter-hardy varieties must be sheltered for the winter. This is done in the fall (in October - November) before the onset of frost. For warm regions, where the temperature in winter does not drop below 0 ° C, it is enough to make the hilling and mulch the trunk circle.
For areas with a temperate climate, the bush must be insulated by following these steps:
- Cut off all leaves from the bush to prevent rot from forming.
- Divide the branches into several groups and bundle them.
- Tilt the shoots to the ground, securing with wire or harness.
- Cover the base of the bush with peat, and branches with spruce branches.
- Cover the top with a film or non-woven material (burlap, agrofibre).
- Press the edges with a brick.
This design will allow the plant to withstand persistent frosts and not succumb to the influence of strong winds. In regions with harsh winters, young bushes are dug up, transplanted into pots and brought into the house. The lignified old specimens are difficult to tilt to the ground, so their branches are wrapped manually with agrofibre or lutrasil, fixed with ropes or tape. Around the flower, metal grids are installed, and in the interval between them, dry leaves are scattered. Then the structure is completely covered with a film.
Important! You will provide hydrangeas with additional winter hardiness if you apply potash and phosphorus fertilizing in the fall before shelter and take care of moistening the soil.
If the bush thanked you for the painstaking care of a sweeping saturated flowering, it is difficult to resist, so as not to increase its beauty. The plant can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, layering, instillation of a seedling. Thickly branched specimens can be planted by dividing the bush. But the first three methods remain the most popular, each of which has its own advantages, disadvantages and agrotechnical features. Performing them correctly, you will receive in your garden new irresistible hydrangeas.
The process of planting seeds does not take much time, but the result can be expected for years, so this method is rarely practiced in garden plots in favor of other methods.
Plant propagation by seeds is usually used by breeders, but if you decide to try your luck, then you must follow these steps:
- In February, prepare the seeds and moisten them in potassium permanganate or a solution of copper sulfate for 2-3 hours.
- Spread seed on wet gauze and wait for swelling.
- Germinate the container for germination with a mixture of soil, peat and sand.
- Spread the seeds on top without deepening them.
- Sprinkle with a layer of sand.
- Cover the container with glass or film.
- Periodically moisten the soil with a spray gun.
- With the advent of the second leaves, plant the plants in pots.
- Two years after germination, plant in open ground according to the technology described above.
When choosing a seed method, it is better to choose large-leaved varieties of Hydrangea. A plant grown from seeds needs more nutrition.
Did you know? The greatest germination is given by seeds brought from the natural habitats of hydrangeas - Japan and China.
If you want to get a young seedling the very next year, you can resort to cuttings. To do this, until mid-summer, from the center of the bush, it is necessary to cut the required number of cuttings. It is better to choose young shoots with two pairs of leaves and pinch them 1 cm below the buds. To process the ends of obliquely cut plants to stimulate growth, treat with Phytoclone, Kendal, Kornevin, Mega Vega.
Cut the cuttings in pots with a mixture of peat, sand and humus, deepening to the level of two buds. Then pour and wrap the pot with polyethylene. Put the containers in a sunny place for baking. Also, one should not forget about controlling soil moisture and periodically pouring water. You need to plant young shoots in open ground in the spring, after home wintering.
Many gardeners prefer this method for its ease and speed. For breeding choose a young shoot no older than one year. If you want to get a lot of layering, you can select 3-4 branches.
The procedure is recommended to be carried out in the spring or at the beginning of summer, following the scheme:
- Tilt the branch to the ground and draw its length.
- Dig a furrow 15 cm deep along the line.
- Put the shoot in the ditch and clip it with metal studs.
- Leave the edge of the branch open, it should “breathe”.
- Sprinkle places near the kidneys with earth or peat.
- Water along with the main bush, adding soil if necessary.
- For winter, cover with spruce branches and leaves.
- Land on a permanent place in the spring.
The resulting layering can be precipitated after three weeks according to the principle of cuttings. In this case, for wintering, they are transplanted into pots and brought into the house.
Diseases and Pests
Upon receipt of the necessary dose of fertilizing and proper watering, hydrangea is resistant to disease, however, troubles occur with it. Their main reason lies in improper care, inappropriate soil composition and climate change.
All diseases of the rose bush can be divided into groups:
- Illnesses as a result of poor conditions. These include chlorosis, burns and blackening of leaves. Problems can arise due to a lack of iron and magnesium, excess lime in the ground. Leaves turn yellow, fall off. Any of the ailments captures the whole sheet or appears as spots. To solve the situation, it is necessary to soften and acidify the soil, to defend water for irrigation, to make a solution of water and copper sulfate (in a ratio of 1 l - 2 g).
- Fungal diseases. Manifested in the form of white and gray rot, peronosporosis, powdery mildew, rust. Caused by pathogenic fungi, which are formed due to waterlogged soil or its infection. Among the symptoms, darkening of the shoots, white coating on the leaves, gradual decay and death of the parts are noted. The fungus has the property of spreading, so immediately when a disease is detected, it is necessary to cut out infected places, treat the sections with potassium permanganate, spray the plant with a solution of copper sulfate.
- Viral diseases. It can be ring spotting, cancer. Caused by infections brought in by garden tools, animals or new plants. As a result of diseases, the plant loses its shape, leaves shrink, spots appear in the form of rings or brown patches with ulcers. If the bush is damaged, it will most likely die, you need to destroy the specimen and examine the neighboring plants.
- Pests. The most common "hydrangea hunters" are aphids, spider mites, slugs. Parasites mainly eat juice and in small quantities are not considered dangerous. Signs of damage are manifested in yellowing of the leaves, their drying and falling off, gnawed patches of greenery, the appearance of a sticky web. To control insects, the insecticides Iskra, Akarin, Lightning, and Aktara are used.
Pink hydrangea in bloom will not leave indifferent even the most sophisticated esthete. She is a favorite of breeders and gardeners, because you can experiment with her color and develop new varieties.For the attention paid to herself and careful care, she will thank the owner with lush crowns. Take advantage of practical recommendations and increase the beauty in your area!