Garden

Mopheads are Marvellous

I love this time of the year when the Mophead Hydrangea blooms start to change colour and are ready to be used as dried flowers.  I have several plants in the garden; a large pink one in the front garden…

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…a smaller pink in the back and a beautiful white one in a pot on the patio.

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I would like to have a blue variety, as a happy reminder of my youngest daughters wedding – she had them as table decorations and the bridesmaids bouquets.

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Whilst the white hydrangea will always stay white, to obtain the blue they must have acidic soil.  Not possible in my garden, which is heavy clay and alkaline.   If you have neutral or alkaline soil and want blue flowers, hydrangeas will grow quite happily in containers with ericaceous compost and watered with rainwater.

Now we are on the cusp of autumn, the white hydrangea flowers are turning shades of pale green.

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The pink hydrangeas are starting to take on their antique shades and are just asking to be dried for indoor displays.

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If picked at the right time the blooms could last for up to a year.  It is getting the time right to cut them that is important, too soon they are still full of water and too late they will lose their colour and become a dull brown.   The end of August to early October is the best time.  Try and pick blooms without spots or marks on the petals – which in my garden is difficult.   Place long stems in about 10cms of water in a vase with a good space around each flowerhead.   Place away from sunlight and allow them to dry slowly as the water evaporates over 2 weeks, adding more water if necessary.  The whole point of drying them out in water is to prevent them from drying too quickly and losing colour.

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I always keep  Mophead flowers on my shrubs throughout the Winter and then prune them in the Spring remembering that hydrangeas flower on old wood.

I am aware that they are not everyone’s favourite but I find they are a great all year round shrub and a beautiful plant for late Summer borders.

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15 thoughts on “Mopheads are Marvellous”

  1. Hi Ronnie (from Auckland NZ) I had to leave some lovely purple and pinky and blues in my last garden that I had started from my previous garden! Boo Hoo. I had about 10 in big pots of absolutely gorgeous ones that had said ‘buy me – buy me’ in the Garden Centre. I was in such an upheaval after y husband died and not having anywhere to live that they got given away and put in a daughters garden! I am settled in a tropical garden and have ONE cutting that is thriving! Colour? They do well in pots as long as big enough, watered regularly and I gave them sheep pellets, a great fertilizer. Spring time here so nice seeing blossoms, magnolias daffs etc. I have a pot of lovely pink tulips, bluebells, ipopea (spelling?) daffs, pink lachenalia, freezias, irises, to help satisfy my love of pretty spring flowers. All in pots that I brought with me – 300 in total that had to be distributed! Palms etc around a daughter pool! They are happy there! Bromelidiads here etc.
    Not easy being a ‘plantaholic’ but I was very strong at the Garden Centre the other day and only bought sheep pellets! Enjoy your autumn colours!

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      1. Hi Ronnie again – The reason for so many pots was that in my garden at Mt Eden was volcanic and lots of rocks and not a lot of ‘garden’. where I had the palms, hostas under a dreaded privet tree (noxious here) for shade was only rocks. Volcanic soil around that area is very good but rocks and fill, old crockery, concrete bits etc called for a ‘few’ pots. I had some vg david Austin roses in the soil parts, built up with lots of compost etc but where I had to yank out rocks to fill with compost they didn’t do very well as when the roots went down didn’t have anywhere to go – maybe a bit of a cave – good for rats to hide in.

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  2. A really interesting blog -have picked up lots of tips (although hoping it applies equally to Lacecaps too as I have a lovely one which has done really well in a large pot this summer).

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    1. Thank you Alison. I would think it should work with lace caps. I forgot to mention in my blog that I have a lace cap too, although it got very dried out this year so this year and the flowers are dried out sadly.

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    1. It’s often down to how you prune them in the spring that depends on how they flower. If you don’t prune too far down the stem and only cut off the old flowerhead at the first bud you should get large single heads. Pruning further down will produce smaller multiple blooms.

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  3. I love hydrangea’s, they are beautiful when the buds open and when they are in full flower and then they give you a beautiful fall clour and you can dry them….mine suffered this year from the torrential rains we had but I found a few decent ones and they are now decorating my living room

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  4. My Mum passed away earlier this year and I inherited amongst other things all her pot plants including two Hydrangea plants. One in a huge pot that took both of us to lift. It sits in our front garden and is admired by everyone who sees it. It is a beautiful deep pink.

    There was also another in a much small pot. In fact we thought it died but hubby, being green fingered cut it right back, gave it a great drink and moved the pot to a different location. I was delighted to see that it has responded and has a growth of vibrant green leaves. I wait to see what colour it is.

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    1. It’s quite surprising how quickly the hydrangea picks up as soon as it’s watered. My white one droops when I forget it, but looks fine once given a drink. It’s so lovely to have plants with memories.

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