All About Hydrangeas
Hydrangea is a genus of 70+ species of beautiful flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia and the
Americas. The greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 3 – 9 feet tall, but some are small trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous.
Hydrangea flowers are produced from early spring to late autumn; they grow beautiful, large flower heads, usually at the end of producing stems. Typically the flower heads contain two types of flowers: small non-showy flowers in the center or interior of the flower head, and large, showy flowers with large colorful sepals (tepals). These showy flowers are often extended in a ring, or to the exterior of the small flowers. Plants in wild populations typically have few to none of the showy flowers, while cultivated hydrangeas have been bred and selected to have more of the larger type flowers.
There are two flower types in hydrangeas, which includes the commonly grown “bigleaf hydrangea”—Hydrangea macrophylla. Mophead flowers are large round flower heads resembling pom-poms. In contrast, lacecap flowers bear round, flat flower heads with a center core of small flowers surrounded by outer rings of larger flowers having showy sepals or tepals.