Flower spotlight: hydrangeas

Flower spotlight: hydrangeas

Derived from the Greek language, hydrangea means “water vessel” because of the shape of its seed capsules. They are native to America, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, and the Himalayas and bloom from early spring to late autumn.

Hydrangea flower heads (also called corymbs or panicles) come in two types: large bold flowers and small interior blooms. The larger, more colorful blooms are typical for bouquets and floral arrangements because they have been specifically bred for their size. The smaller blooms are more common in wild growth populations.

Hydrangeas are often white, but certain species can come in blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. The level of aluminum ions and the presence of pH in the soil determine the color of the hydrangea, and gardeners can cultivate certain colors in the blooms by adjusting the acidity in their garden soil. An acidic soil (pH below 7) can produce blue to purple blooms because it has available aluminum ions. Alkaline soil (pH above 7) produces red to pink blooms because the aluminum ions are tied up.

Small hydrangeas are a popular choice for a potted blooming plant, which can then be transplanted into the recipient’s garden. In cut floral arrangements, they can be used to add a splash of color and fullness to a bouquet. They’re also a great base flower for bouquets in shallow or bowl-shaped vases, as the hydrangea bloom can be used as a grid to help hold other flower stems in place.

Hydrangeas are toxic and should not be eaten by humans or pets due to the cyanogenic glycosides inside the plant. There are some ways it can be used safely however, including when brewed in ama-cha, which is a Japanese sweet tea, and a Korean tea called sugukcha.

Declared the official Alabama state wildflower in 1999 and heavily desired in pink hues across Asia, hydrangeas continue to grow in popularity and use. Their shape and the range of colors available make them a versatile flower.

Be sure to ask about hydrangeas the next time you place your order with Lilygrass flowers and decor.

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