Hydrangea may be considered a little old fashioned, but they are making a comeback. They provide long lasting colour into late summer and are fairly easy to grow.
They come in two main types, Lacecaps and Mopheads. Lacecaps have a large flat flower while the Mophead’s flowers are in more of a ball shape.
Plant them in spring or autumn and keep them well watered until they establish, they will thrive in most soil types but the colour of the flower may be affected by the pH of the soil. An acidic soil will give a blue flower. They are most comfortable in light shade but can tolerate direct sun.
The hydrangea should only be pruned in spring, similar to the camellia. The dead flowers should be left through the winter as it protects the growth behind it from frost, also the dead flowers look nice through the winter. When dead heading you should only go back as far as the next bud as if you go any further then it will reduce the flowering for the summer to come.
Heavy pruning is not recommended as it will take at least a year before it will flower again. If the shrub is getting too big then cut out one or two of the older stems each year. This will leave some flowers and create room for new growth.