Gardeners’ World: Monty Don on growing hydrangeas
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Hydrangeas are one of Britain’s famous plants, with their big and beautiful blooms brightening up borders and flowerbeds. When it comes to hydrangeas, fuller and longer-lasting blooms are always better. Although these plants are very good at getting on with things without needing a green-fingered hand, these tips and tricks will give your plant a boost when it decides to flower. Caring for hydrangeas can make a world of difference when it comes to your blooms.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Emma Locker, a gardening expert at DIY Garden shared four key tips to extend the blooming period of hydrangeas and ensure they grow fuller blooms.
Incorporate organic matter into the soil
Fertiliser is great for all hydrangeas as it provides nutrients the plants need, but also helps with drainage.
Emma explained: “Hydrangeas thrive off of the nutrients organic matter provides.
“If you find your hydrangea has barely any buds or isn’t flowering for as long as it should, try mixing some organic matter into your soil.
“Compost is packed with nutrients that hydrangeas greatly appreciate.
“Old leaves will also work wonders if you haven’t got a compost heap at hand!”
Compost is organic matter that’s been broken down by the natural activity of bacteria and insects, producing a dark, crumbly material that makes an ideal soil additive.
The expert noted that spring is “the perfect time” to add organic matter because it will begin to break down as the hydrangea prepares to flower.
She added: “They will release their nutritional goodness just in time to ensure a fuller, longer-lasting blooming period.”
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Make the most of the morning sunshine
Most hydrangeas are happier in light shade than they are in sunny positions so that they can bloom for months rather than weeks.
Emma said: “Hydrangeas prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. If you can provide these conditions, you’ll likely see bushels of long-lasting blooms come summer!”
However, the expert warned: “Avoid placing your hydrangea in a spot that receives full afternoon sun.
“The powerful UV rays can scorch the leaves, making it near-impossible for the plant to perform its best.”
If gardeners only have spaces with dappled afternoon sun available, don’t fret, so long as hydrangeas are not exposed to full sunlight in the afternoon, it will be fine.
Keep them protected
Buds that appear on your hydrangea in late summer and early autumn will have to face winter’s cold, hard frosts.
Therefore, Emma suggested: “To look after them during the winter, move hydrangeas to a sheltered spot or create makeshift walls with some stakes and chicken wire.
“Just place your stakes in the ground surrounding your hydrangea, then install a chicken wire fence around them.”
Gardeners can also use a fleece cloth to cover them. This will prevent air from moving through the branches and keep the temperature more constant.
This is particularly effective for plants that are in the ground.
Deter hungry mammals
If there’s one thing deer and rabbits love, it’s juicy hydrangea buds.
Emma explained: “Late summer hydrangea buds make an excellent meal for mammals as the temperatures drop and food becomes increasingly scarce.
“As well as protecting your hydrangea from the cold, a chicken wire fence surrounding your plant will keep the hungry mammals away from your precious buds.”
Gardeners can also create natural repellents to repel pests away from their blooms, for example using chilli pepper.
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