Every garden has shady areas; primarily on the north side of a home, and beneath or in the shadow of trees. Many plants need more sun than can be found in these spots, so plants that thrive in shade are especially valuable. Nikko Blue Hydrangea is the ideal plant for shady areas. It forms a dense mound of large leaves topped with enormous rounded heads of beautiful blue flowers all summer, and loves to be in the shade. Indeed, the color of the flowers will be stronger in shade and the plants will thrive. It can be grown as a single plant in any shady border, but a long border of Nikko Blue Hydrangea along a shady wall or driveway, in front of trees or along a shady path is a beautiful and easy way to create an atmosphere of real calm and peace.
Nikko Blue Hydrangea is a selected form of the Mophead, or French Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) which originated in China and Japan. These plants have been loved in Japan for centuries and many varieties were bred there. Even though there have been many newer varieties produced since they were introduction to Europe and America, ‘Nikko Blue’, which was one of the original Japanese varieties, has proved its worth and value by remaining popular, loved and widely grown. It has stood the test of time and will perform wonderfully in a wide range of conditions and locations.
Growing Nikko Blue Hydrangeas
Your Nikko Blue Hydrangea will grow at least one foot a year, until it reaches a height of 6 to 8 feet tall, and as much across. The height can be controlled and your plants kept smaller by pruning a little harder each spring. It is a tough plant, resistant to pests and having few if any diseases. It is normally not eaten by deer. Hydrangeas do need water since they are not drought tolerant and they should not be planted in dry places, or in hot sunny ones. Some morning sun is beneficial but not necessary, but the hot afternoon sun will cause all hydrangeas to wilt and need a lot of watering.
Size and Appearance
Nikko Blue Hydrangea grows into a shrub about 6 to 8 feet tall, and as much across. The height can be controlled and your plants kept smaller by pruning a little harder each spring. It has rounded deep-green leaves 8 or more inches long, which clothe the plant right to the ground, making a rounded mound that will shade the ground beneath it and prevent weed growing. In summer it is covered in huge balls of rich-blue flowers which last and last. Even when they eventually fade to a light-brown color they stay on the plants into fall and give an elegant appearance. With Nikko Blue Hydrangea you will need no other plants around it, as it will be interesting all season long.
Nikko Blue Hydrangea is hardy from zone 6 to zone 9. So it will grow all across America except for the tip of Florida and the coldest central and eastern states. It will also grow in zone 5, but fewer flowers will be produced, especially after more severe winters. These plants do extremely well in areas with good rainfall and mild winters, so are especially admired and loved throughout the South.
Planting as a Hedge or Screen
Nikko Blue Hydrangea should be planted 3 feet apart to make a dense informal hedge or screen. So dig a hole or a trench, two or three times wider than the pot and add plenty of organic material, like peat-moss, compost, rotted leaves or rotted manure to the soil. Place your plants in the hole or trench, replace most of the soil and firm it well down. Then water thoroughly and when the water has drained away replace the rest of the soil, being careful not to cover the roots with any extra soil. Keep well watered and apply mulch each spring to retain moisture.
Nikko Blue Hydrangea is the ideal shrub for shady areas. It will do well in the shade from homes and buildings but will also be happy with some sun in the early parts of the day. Do not plant in hot, dry areas or in the afternoon sun. Each spring removes any weak, thin branches and cut back the tip of the stems to the first pair of healthy, fat buds. If you want to retain a lower height, cut back to buds one or two feet lower than the height you want your Nikko Blue Hydrangea hedge to be. If your plants get too large, cut back further, just leaving a few strong branches low down, but you may get fewer flowers the first year after doing this.
How to Achieve Rich Blue Flowers
If your Nikko Blue Hydrangea produces flowers that are not the proper rich blue color, use aluminium sulfate. Mix 1 tbsp. in a gallon of water and put this around your plants every few weeks. That way you can easily keep your hydrangea flowers blue in any soil.
Buying Nikko Blue Hydrangeas at The Tree Center
Nikko Blue Hydrangea is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right color and growth habits. So it must be produced directly from plants absolutely known to be this variety. Our Nikko Blue Hydrangeas are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings of these known plants. That way every plant is identical to the original, which is particularly important to produce a uniform result when planted in a row. However, these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper, plants that will only be a disappointment.
We have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants – so supplies of this tree may be limited! Be sure to browse other unique varieties that we carry, like the Annabelle Hydrangea and the Red Sensation Hydrangea.