Our Plant Pick: Hydrangeas
Nothing compares to Hydrangeas. They are the most versatile plant you can grow in the shade, ranging from small to large shrubs, climbing vines, and even patio trees. Showy bracts surround inconspicuous flowers which bloom throughout the spring, lasting much longer than most flowers do as it is bracts, as opposed to the petals, that are colorful. These flowers can be quite diverse as well, from lacecap varieties to multi-colored flowers and even reblooming varieties such as the Endless Summer® and Let's Dance® series.
In the Sacramento Area, Hydrangeas are comfortable in a little morning sun, but no late afternoon sun. They thrive in rich soil, well-mulched to a depth of two-to-three inches. This showy shrub is also unique in that its flowers change color in reaction to the the acidity (pH) of the soil, except white varieties which stay white. If you're soil is acidic, the flowers will lean towards blue, if it's alkaline, the flowers will be pink. To change the color of your Hydrangeas flowers in spring, you must feed them the previous fall with an amendment that alters pH. Try E.B. Stone Cottonseed Meal for blue, and E.B. Stone Naturals Agricultural Lime to go pink. Most Hydrangeas should be pruned after they've finished blooming, but no later than mid-August. This is because they bloom on old wood, and if you prune them late in the year, it may be at the expense of next year's flowers. Reblooming varieties such as the Endless Summer® and Let's Dance® series bloom on both old and new wood, so they can be trimmed any time.
Luisa and Lauren love Hydrangeas because:
"The flowers are enormous, sometimes reaching ten inches across, and they can bloom for months!"