The Q&A Archives: Hydrangea SP

Question: I bought tree form hydrangea SP from you three weeks ago. Do you have any idea what kind of hydrangea I have bought? It is not doing too well and I don't know what I am doing wrong. On tag it had part sun would be okay but I'm not sure about that. It was grown by Pirtie Nursery in TN. I'm afraid I bought something that will not grown in North Georgia.

Answer: The term "hydrangea sp" simply means you purchased a hydrangea species rather than a cultivar (cultivated variety). While there are approximately 23 species of Hydrangea, only five are widely cultivated in the U.S. The most popular species is Hydrangea macrophylla, which is commonly known as bigleaf, French, garden or florist?s hydrangea. This Japanese native is rated as hardy to USDA cold-hardiness zone 6. It produces large inflorescences of white, pink or blue flowers in early summer.

I'm not sure which plant you have and you won't be able to positively identifiy it until it flowers (flowers are the easiest way to identify plants). In the meantime, the amount of sun that hydrangeas can tolerate depends on species, climate and availability of water. Panicle hydrangea tolerates more sun than do other species. Plants grown in hot climates require more shade than do those grown in the colder limits of adaptation. In southern climates, providing frequent and adequate watering will allow hydrangeas to tolerant more sun than if they were subjected to moisture stress.

So, I would keep the soil moist but not soggy wet, provide shelter from hot afternoon sun, and wait until it flowers so you can positively identify it and provide the growing conditions it craves.

Best wishes with your garden!

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