There are no other shrubs that match hydrangeas for summer flowering. Big, bold blooms that last for weeks and weeks, and the ability to thrive in partial shade – what’s not to like? Well, for many who garden in small spaces, the answer is simple – they are too large. Big, bold bushes fit well into big gardens, but not so well into small ones, so plant breeders got the work, and the result is the Cityline® Hydrangeas. These small but sturdy bushes come in a wide range of colors, and for that deep, rich blue we all love, there is the Cityline Rio Hydrangea. As small as the others in this series, its deep blue flowers bring an exciting look to your beds, and these plants are small enough to grow in boxes and containers too. The perfect solution for summer blooms in small spaces.
Growing Cityline Rio Hydrangea
The Cityline Rio Hydrangea grows into a dense, bushy plant no more than 2 or 3 feet tall, and as much across. For a narrow bed between a wall and a path, what could be better? With large, deep green leaves, about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, they look great and fill the space, even when they aren’t in bloom. We could hardly consider blooms like these a bonus, though – they are the centerpiece of any planting display. 5 or 6 inches across, and packed with over 50 large blossoms, their rich blue color is a knockout. Intense and deep, it is at its best when this plant is growing in acidic soil. Even in neutral and alkaline soil though, the blooms are a dramatic deep purple, so wherever you grow it, this plant is going to look great.
Blooms begin to emerge once the new shoots have developed, and right from the beginning they are charming. Clusters of tiny buds form in the tips of the shoots, and they first emerge in beautiful shades of chartreuse green. They expand steadily until summer comes, and then they begin to open. At first, they remain light green, and then the blue spreads from the edges of the 1½ inch wide blossoms, until the whole flower is a deep, rich blue you simply won’t believe. Each flower has a tiny white center that only adds to the beauty. Blooms last for weeks and weeks, and then fade into greenish tones that still look attractive right into fall. Hydrangeas have one of the longest flowering periods of any shrub, and this one is no exception.
The Cityline Rio Hydrangea should be grown in partial sun, with some afternoon shade, especially in hotter zones. The north side of walls and fences is ideal, in the brighter light of clear sky overhead, and also in the dappled partial shade beneath deciduous trees, where they thrive in both formal gardens and woodlands. The soil should be rich and well-drained, and moisture is important, since hydrangeas are not drought tolerant. Spring mulches with rich organic material help preserve moisture and provide lots of natural nutrients too. This plant is very resistant to powdery mildew, which makes hydrangeas and other garden plants look dusty and sad in the heat and humidity of summer. With the Cityline Rio Hydrangea you will have clean, rich-green foliage all summer, to help those flowers really sparkle. Other pests and diseases are normally not a problem. No pruning is really needed, especially in warmer zones. In cooler areas you should remove any dead branches at the end of winter, and trim back the ends of the stems to the first pair of fat buds – that is where the flowers are. Don’t cut back more than necessary, as the shoots from older stems are where the blossoms form.
If you don’t have the necessary acid soil in your garden for the best blue color in the flowers of the Cityline Rio Hydrangea, don’t worry, because this plant is the idea size for planter boxes and pots. That way you can enjoy it on your balcony, patio or terrace, in its own pot, or mixed with other flowering shrubs for an every-changing display. Make sure you have drainage holes in your chosen container, and use a potting soil blended for acid-loving plants. Water your potted plant as soon as the top inch of soil has dried, and always give enough water so that some runs out of the drainage holes. Use fertilizer that has been designed for blue hydrangeas, and use it as directed as soon as you see the beginnings of the flower buds at the tip of the new shoots. This will virtually guarantee the very best blue colors possible, no matter what your garden soil is.
History and Origins of Cityline Rio Hydrangea Shrubs
The Cityline Rio Hydrangea was created by Franz-Xaver Rampp and Konrad Rampp at their greenhouses, Rampp Jungpflanzen OHG, in Germany. They wanted to develop compact plants with sturdy stems, ideal for pots, but also suitable for outdoor gardens as well. This plant is awaiting patent protection, with the name ‘Ragra’, and it is released in North America under the Proven Winners® label, as one of the Cityline® Hydrangeas, especially suitable for city gardens and containers, but also ideal for smaller spaces and all gardens, small or large. The demand for these plants is huge, and our stock is limited, so order now, before they are all gone.