You have probably heard hydrangeas described as having a beautiful “antique” season of color, the late season. In most cases, the plants being discussed are big leaf (macrophylla) and mountain (serrata) hydrangeas. But don’t discount the oakleaf (quercifolia) and woodland/smooth (arborescens) hydrangeas. Their flowers also change into other colors. More about them later…
WHAT HAPPENS TO HYDRANGEAS IN LATE SEASON
August is when we start to have a few cool nights. That’s the signal for hydrangeas in the northern hemisphere to start changing their wardrobe. I’m not wild about the ones whose flowers go brown especially in a dry season. I’m talking here about the others that display a kaleidoscope of their fall colors.
Here are some shots of what happens to big leaf hydrangeas
Take a look at what happens to hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer®, The Original. Did I mention that it is still producing its reblooming flowers?
Then there is hydrangea macrophylla Double Delights ™ ‘Wedding Gown’ that ages from white to red.
Hydrangea macrophylla Queen Of Pearls® Royal Majestics® was pure white earlier in the season. Now it looks like this:
Back to Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer®, this time Blushing Bride. She’s going blue and lavender after starting out white. But only after she morphed into pale pink and pale blue on the same plant in mid season. Now this stunning color change.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blue Enchantress® was a deep blue color all season, and now is changing over to shades of lavender and pink.
A few more for your viewing pleasure:
Hydrangea macrophylla Double Delights™ ‘Perfection’:
Hydrangea macrophylla Fuchsia Glow™:
Hydrangea macrophylla Pink Shira™, entire plant:Big Leaf Hydrangea ‘Pink Shira’ Entire Plant Ageing
WOODLAND/SMOOTH HYDRANGEAS GET INTO THE ACT
Not to be outdone, many woodland/smooth hydrangea arborescens like ‘Annabelle’ and Incrediball® are going green right now. Yet they can’t help but continue to produce new white flowers.
To the right of ‘Incrediball’ you can see hydrangea serrata ‘Preziosa’ peeking out. That one has been changing color all season from its initial emergence of cream edged in pink. It will close out the season a deep wine color.
LET’S NOT FORGET HOW STUNNING AN OAKLEAF HYDRANGEA CAN BE THIS TIME OF YEAR
And of course, many oakleaf hydrangeas like this hydrangea quercifolia Snowflake™ age to three colors of green, pink, and cream.
WHAT TO DO AS THE HYDRANGEA SEASON WANES
So what’s a hydrangea lover to do? If you can’t stop and smell the roses, why not take a trip or two to your favorite independent garden center in the next few weeks to see their display gardens, and plants for sale? It’s very instructive and fun to explore these late season hydrangea colors. You may actually find one or two you want to add to your garden for one last late season hurrah!
NEW CLASSES ADDED TO FALL NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN OFFERINGS
I’m delighted to tell you that we have added more virtual classes to my NYBG schedule through September of this year. I’ll be teaching about shade gardening, shrubs, and hydrangea pruning. Go HERE to get all the details.
In the meantime, enjoy your hydrangeas and your August rest. We’ll be catapulted into winter prep before you know it!
Thanks for reading.
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