Cottage Style Decorating with bold hydrangeas

Cottage style decorating with bold hydrangeas can be seen here at the home of Flowergardengirl in North Carolina zone 7. I’ve been working with hydrangea cultivars for the past 10 years and have learned what they will do fantastically and where they have weaknesses. They will bloom prolifically if fertilized at the right time. What you fertilize them with turns out to be a key factor.

In the photo above and starting from right to left, ‘Limelight’, ‘Pinky Winky’, ‘Incrediball’ with green blooms that come after the white, and ‘Little Lamb’. ‘Limelight’ always out performs and outlast all the others. It stays white the longest. I have discovered that most white hydrangea cultivars turn green or brown with the Southern heat and humidity earlier than when growing in cooler climates. The same is true for the pinks and burgundies for ‘Pinky Winky’—it’s just not going to be as deep and true to the propagator’s website. The heat zaps them of turning deep colors. I wish I had a dollar for ever time someone came to my blog asking me why their white blooms faded so quickly or why the deep pinks in ‘Pinky Winky’ just seem to have disappeared. You can blame the darn heat for sure.

Plant hydrangeas so they get some sun and this holds for every variety. Morning sun is best but the sun cultivars such as ‘Limelight’ can grow in full sun but I don’t recommend it in the hottest zones. I recommend filtered late afternoon sun. Makes the bloom stay white longer.

Your hydrangeas will look prettier if you pair them with contrasting plants such as this red coleus. Both will grow well in the same conditions. Pictured is an ‘Incrediball’ hydrangea. Use the search feature on my blog to find this hydrangea in all its growing stages.

‘Pinky Winky’ is pictured on the right and paired with KnockOut® in the side beds at my home. The real key to growing healthy hydrangeas is knowing when to fertilize them. Some hydrangeas are ph sensitive and you’ll need special fertilizers to address pink or blue. My hydrangeas are not ph sensitive so they all get the same fertilizer. In February for my zone 7 gardens, I put down 2 cups of Holly Tone around the base of the plant and work it in.  There is a Tone for every gardening situation and I use them all. By far, my favorite complete fertilizer. Use it every season at least once. I use Flower Tone 4 times a season. I use Rose Tone once a month on the KnockOuts®

To the far right in this photo of my side gardens, you’ll see the delicate ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ which grows super slow. This is the 4th year in the ground and I think finally making some progress. It does not turn the pink it is advertised to be due to our heat and humidity. It just won’t so don’t be dismayed as it is still a pretty bloom in the garden. It does stay white for quite a long time. Longer than the ‘Incrediball’.

For about a month, you’ll have pretty white incredibly large ‘Incrediball’ blooms but then they’ll turn to this green color. I’m ok with that and have begun pairing them with apricot such as in this shrub rose cultivar. I have about 7 ‘Incrediball’ plants and this one does best in speckled light but they also do fine in full sun. They need a lot of water the first year getting established.

They show up nicely in the landscaping and folks are always stopping to ask about them.

Thanks for visiting me today. All photos were taken in my garden the first of August 2012. Enjoy your summer!

You can see a new post on the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea HERE

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful photos — thank you!
    Hydrangeas are my new favorite flower/bush/plant. Unfortunately, I don’t keep good records about variety etc. when I plant stuff, and then when I move it around the garden, it really gets “lost.” Anyway, I have some hydrangea that are blooming like crazy and others that don’t seem to have bloomed at all this year. They look the same in the leaf. My real question is, is it pretty likely that I have “incrediball” since I too have zone 7a site and it bloomed (the balls) white and has now turned green? Or do other varieties also behave this way? I don’t have any blooming that look like your pinky winky or limelight with the points on the blooms. Thanks again for the information about southern garden hydrangea!


    1. Anna says:

      I’m late in responding because I got sick on August 8th 2012 and have not kept up my blog. You may have an annabelle. Look that up and see. i wish you the best with your gardens. Hydrangeas need morning light or speckled light to bloom. I fertilize them with Espoma Holly Tone in February right before they start coming to life again after winter sleep.


  2. Anna, beautiful and healthy display of Hydrangea. Limelight is one of my favorites for the reasons you mentioned.


  3. Lovely combination of flowers, with a natural flow. Very nice photos!


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