Hydrangea Nikko BlueScientific Name: Hydrangea Macrophylla
Best Planted In Zone: 6-9
Nikko Blue hydrangea is the most common class of hydrangea. The large, round flower heads bloom in late spring, over a rounded canopy of dense foliage. Nikko Blue hydrange have large, oval-shaped leaves that often taper to a point. Blooming throughout the spring and summer months, the various shades of blue displayed are both stunning and somewhat unique. The flower color of the Nikko Blue hydrangea depends on the acidity level of the soil. In acidic soil, the Nikko Blue hydrangea has deep blue flowers, while in alkaline soil, the blooms tend to be lighter, and sometimes even pink. At mature height, they can reach 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. USDA ZONES: Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9.
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Choose a location where your hydrangea can reach its full size without pruning. For normal sized hydrangeas, expect the plant to reach about 4 ft. X 4 ft. Plant in well-drained soil! If soil is heavy, add roughage such as pine bark mulch. Do not over water, esp. in clay soil. This can lead to root rot. Do not plant too deeply. Plant at the same depth the hydrangea was planted in the pot. Hydrangeas can be planted any time of the year, though if possible you should plant in early summer or fall. If you plant too early in the spring or too late in the fall you run the risk of losing your freshly planted hydrangea. If you do plant out of season, just make sure to pay attention to your plant and be on hand to provide extra care when needed. Transplant a hydrangea when it has become dormant and lost all of its leaves (late fall or winter). Your hydrangea will need supplemental watering the first two years after planting, but don’t go overboard, as overwatering can quickly lead to rain rot. It is best to fertilize your hydrangeas once or twice in the summer but do not fertilize after August, as fall is when the plants begin to prepare for dormancy. If you fertilize too late in the summer it could encourage new growth that will make your plant too sensitive for winter.
Hydrangeas grow best in well drained, slightly acidic soils with plenty of humus (a type of compost) added. In the south more shade is best while in the north less is better. A good mulch is recommended especially in the south (to keep the roots cool) and pruning off any dead or dying leaves, stems or blooms is recommended. Most growers space them between 3 and 4 feet (for best results). Like most shrubs, they love regular watering but NOT heavily moistened soil. Fertilizing may not be necessary when using good soil but a slow release type applied once (early in the spring) is recommended ( a “10-10-10” fertilizer applied twice in the summer can do ok and is cheaper). Local gardening shops usually have several good choices, and your county extension office can test soil samples if you feel that it may be necessary. Side note: Hydrangeas grow the prettiest blooms when the soil is less alkaline and more acidic plus they bloom better in the future when pruning is kept to a minimum.