H. macrophylla: hortensia, mophead hortensia, lacecap hortensia, garden Hydrangea, big-leaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea
H. paniculata: panicle Hydrangea, peegee Hydrangea
Hydrangeas have large, showy flower heads comprising dense clusters of small flat four-petaled florets. The heads are most often rounded (H. macrophylla), but they also can be pyramidal in shape (H. paniculata).
Within the H. macrophylla species are two types of flower heads: 1) “mopheads,” which have rounded, densely massed clusters of florets, and 2) “lacecaps,” which have outer rings of florets surrounding flat clusters of small flower buds that resemble tiny berries.
Leaves are large and dark green, with roughly serrated edges.
Hydrangeas are available in a wide range of whites; pinks; violets (red-violet, blue-violet, lavender, purple); blues; greens; and even reddish-wines and browns, as well as bicolors and multicolors. New varieties are continuously being developed, creating new colors, and growers also use absorption and spray dyes to alter Hydrangea hues.
Depending on care and variety, cut Hydrangeas can last five to 10 days at the consumer level, and, typically, they do best in vase arrangements
Once available only in late spring and summer, Hydrangeas are now a year-round cut-flower crop from both domestic and foreign growers. Peak season, however, is approximately March through October.
PREPARATION Unpack Hydrangeas immediately upon arrival in your facility, and check flower quality. Remove stem bindings and any leaves on the stems that would be under water in storage containers.
HYDRATION AND NUTRITION Cut at least 1 inch off each stem, at an angle, with a sharp knife or pruner (do not crush or smash the stems). This will remove debris and stem-plugging microbes in the stem ends.
Immediately after cutting, dip or place the stem ends into a hydration solution to help these thirsty flowers absorb flower-food solution more quickly and easily.
Following the hydration solution treatment, place Hydrangeas into a sterilized container with lukewarm (100 F to 110 F) properly proportioned flower-food solution
REFRIGERATION After processing Hydrangeas, place them into a floral cooler at 36 F to 41 F to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or arranging them. These flowers do not tolerate prolonged refrigeration well, so sell them within three days of receipt.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Hydrangeas are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas and may exhibit flower shattering when exposed to it. Check with your supplier to confirm that an ethylene inhibitor is applied at the grower level or during transportation. Also, protect these flowers from sources of ethylene gas (especially produce) in your facilities.
CARE EXTRA Cut Hydrangeas are heavy drinkers and can wilt easily, so check the flower-food solution level in their storage and arrangement containers daily, and change the solution and recut the stems every other day.
Frequent light misting can be beneficial for flowers at room temperature. Antitranspirant sprays also will assist in extending these flowers’ lasting quality.
Pinch off florets as they fade.
|MEDICINAL PARADOX Hydrangeas contain the compound hydrangin, which is used in sunscreens, insecticides, parasiticides and more, and derivatives are used to treat liver, kidney and gallbladder disorders. However, if large amounts of Hydrangea bark, flowers or leaves are ingested by humans or animals, nausea may occur.
AFTERLIFE In many cases, Hydrangea flower heads will air dry naturally, upright or upside down, or they can be preserved in a solution of glycerin and water. Individual florets are ideal for pressing.
(See more Hydrangea “Fun Facts” in “Blooming Plant of the Month,” Page 26.)
To view 48 additional hydrangea varieties, please download the pdf.
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Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.J. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® , www.chainoflife.org
Cut Flowers of the World
by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik Van Wyk
Fresh Cut Flowers, by Gregory Milner
by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey