Hydrangeas are without doubt the queens of the summer garden, blooming for weeks and bringing tons of color. Not only that, they grow in shady areas where other flowering shrubs will not grow well. If you like hydrangeas, you will simply adore the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea, which as the name suggests blooms continuously from early summer into fall.
Hydrangeas are of two types – those that bloom on shoots growing from older branches, and those that produce their flowers on the new shoots. The first type bloom early, the second type bloom late. But the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea has both types of flowers, so it blooms early, and it continues to bloom late. Especially in smaller gardens, where every plant must really earn its way, this has simply got to be the hydrangea you want to grow.
Growing All Summer Beauty Hydrangeas
The All Summer Beauty Hydrangea forms a rounded bush, 3 to 4 feet tall, and the same distance across. The large leaves are about 6 inches long, and round, growing in pairs all along the stems. The leaves are a rich dark green, often with a purplish tone, with serrated edges, prominent veins and a thick texture. The plant produces many stems from the base, as well as shorter shoots on the sides of older stems, with foliage right to the ground.
It is deciduous, and the leaves turn yellow in fall. In spring the buds on the stems from the previous year sprout vigorously, and they quickly produce large, rounded flower-heads, which give this type of hydrangea one of its common names – mophead. The flower-head is made up of many rounded flowers with 4 or 5 petals, clustering together densely. The color varies with your soil. In acidic soil the color will be blue, and in neutral or alkaline soils it will be purple to pink to pinkish-red, sometimes on the same bush.
These early blooms will begin to color in June, and remain attractive for about 6 weeks, gradually fading and turning to soft shade of cream, beige or tan. They can be removed once you decide they are no longer attractive, but some gardeners love the fading flowers, with their subtle antique tones. In this unique and very special variety, new stems also arise from ground level, growing up through the older stems, and by late August they are also in bloom, and they continue to bring rich color until the end of September, or even later in milder regions.
Uses in Your Garden
Use the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea as a single plant in a small garden, or in a large pot or planter. Group them in shady parts of the garden, in the shadow of trees, or on the north side of your home. They are an excellent way to bring flowers and color to that shady part of your garden, and this is the ideal environment for growing hydrangeas.
Planting and Initial Care
The All Summer Beauty Hydrangea is hardier than many other types of mophead hydrangea, and it is completely hardy, without protection, in zone 5. It grows very well in all warmer zones too. It should be planted in partial shade, with protection from direct sun in the afternoon. It will also grow well on the north side of a building, with clear sky overhead, and under light, dappled shade, but not in full dense shade. In cooler zones it will even grow in full sun, if the soil is rich and always moist.
Like all hydrangeas it grows best in rich soil, which should have plenty of organic material added when you are preparing the planting area. Mulch over the roots with a 3-inch layer of compost, manure, rotted leaves or other organic mulch. Add new mulch each spring. When removing old flower heads, cut back to the first pair of strong buds. In early spring, shorten back the stems to a pair of strong buds, and remove any dead or weak stems. It is important to leave a framework of stems to produce the early flowers.
History and Origins of the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea
The All Summer Beauty Hydrangea is a special form of the mophead hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla. This shrub originated in China and Japan, and has been grown there for centuries, and in America for about 150 years. If your soil is pH 5.5 or less, your hydrangea will be blue. Many gardeners try hard to make hydrangeas in neutral and alkaline soil turn blue, by adding chemicals such as aluminum sulphate to the soil. This is rarely successful, and an easier way is to grow them in pots, using potting soil for acid-loving plants, and fertilizer for blue hydrangeas. In addition, it is best if you can use rainwater or de-ionized water (not water from a normal softener) for your plant.
But really, if you are growing in the garden, why not just take what your garden wants to give you and enjoy it? Blue, purple, pink or red, hydrangeas are always beautiful, colorful and a great way to keep the color coming in your garden through summer and fall. Sit back and enjoy whatever colors appear for you.
Hydrangeas are among the top-selling plants at the Tree Center, and we simply cannot keep them in stock, although we regularly receive fresh plants to send our customers the best. To enjoy the All Summer Beauty Hydrangea in your garden – in all its possible colors – order now, as we will soon be ‘sold out’.