30 Facts You Need to Know If You Love Hydrangeas

If you can’t help but feel happy passing a bush filled with those unmistakeable vibrant pom-poms of purple, pink, and blue, we’re right there with you. Hydrangeas are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world, and with over 75 species, there’s a variety for every gardener’s taste. Whether you’re interested in secret tricks to help keep your buds alive year-round or curious about when and where they were first grown, check out this list of fun hydrangea facts.

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1

Hydrangeas were first cultivated in Japan.

They date back millions of years and fossils found in North America show they arrived here 40 to 65 million years ago. They touched down in Europe much later in 1736.

2

Their name has a Greek origin.

“Hydor” means water and “angos” means jar or vessel, emphasizing the need to water this particular flower often.

3

Each color has a different meaning.

Blue = apology, gratitude, understanding
Purple = pride, royalty, understanding
White = vanity, purity, grace
Pink = romance, true feelings, sincere emotions

4

Colors are determined by the soil.

The ideal pH levels for each shade are as follows:

Blue = below 5.5
Purple = between 5.5 and 6.5
White = between 6 and 6.2
Pink = over 7

If your soil has varying pH levels, you could end up with a blend of colors!

5

They were in Blake Lively’s wedding bouquet.

The actress must have read up on her hydrangea facts, because she opted for romantic pink ones for her 2012 wedding to Ryan Reynolds.

6

Hydrangeas don’t have petals.

Those beautiful petals aren’t petals at all. They are sepals, which are leaves that protect the flower bud. Only after they age do they turn from green to the pigmented colors you see.

7

Flowers can drink through their sepals.

8

There are over 75 species of hydrangea.

That being said, there are only six major ones that are grown in American gardens: bigleaf, smooth, panicle, oakleaf, climbing, and mountain. Each one requires a different type of soil, sunlight, and blooming time.

9

They contain low levels of cyanide.

10

They’re the official state wildflower of Alabama.

More specifically, the oakleaf species is—which usually involves large clusters of either white or pink flowers.

11

They typically bloom from May to July.

Certain species thrive better in cooler temperatures, though, so you could see them pop up as late as August or even September.

12

Hydrangea Day is January 5.

Sure, that’s when hydrangeas are out of season, but it’s always a good time to celebrate them!

13

It’s pronounced “hai-dran-juh.”

14

Madonna is not a fan of them.

While it’s hard to imagine anyone disliking this cheerful flower, the Queen of Pop actually hates them. In 2011, she was caught on camera saying she “absolutely loathes hydrangeas” when a fan gifted her with them.

15th

Hydrangeas have been used for healing purposes.

Buddhists have reportedly used the leaves to brew a sweet tea for “cleansing rituals,” as well as to treat autoimmune disorders, malaria, kidney stones, and more. Native Americans have used the root as a diuretic and the bark as pain relief for muscle aches and burns. Remember: We wouldn’t recommend trying this at home!

16

New England is known for its hydrangeas.

Every summer, flower lovers travel to see the Nantucket Blue, a special shade named after the famous Massachusetts island. Also nearby is the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, an event filled with garden tours, lessons, and more.

17

They need just the right amount of sun.

These gorgeous flowers love early morning sun, but don’t do so well in the hot afternoon heat. That’s why the best place to plant them is in a sheltered location, usually on the north or south side of your home, where it’s brighter in the earlier hours of the day.

18

There’s an American Hydrangea Society.

19

Drying them out can increase their indoor lifespan.

After being picked from the soil, hydrangeas can last for around 10 days. To extend that timeframe, dry them out by leaving them in a vase with just a few inches of water and letting it evaporate over time. The end result? Flowers that will last a year or two.

20

You can protect them in the winter.

Building an insulated enclosure around the plant with chicken wire and covering the branches can help keep it alive until the following summer, when it’s ready to bloom again.

Cutting away all those dead stems and overgrown branches is necessary to keep your hydrangeas thriving. If you don’t, they might not bloom the following year.

22

They’re a common fourth wedding anniversary gift.

If you’re nearing four years with your spouse, consider gifting them hydrangeas. The flower is often used to celebrate the special anniversary, and is meant to show appreciation.

23

Their shapes have names.

The pom-pom-shaped ones are called “mopheads,” while the more flat-headed ones are called “lacecaps.”

24

Hydrangeas are great for people with allergies.

Since the flower produces allergy-safe pollen, it remains a favorite plant among those with bad allergies.

25

They are also fragrance-free.

Leaning over to smell a hydrangea certainly won’t give you the same experience as a rose. Most species of the flower have no fragrance.

26

Hydrangeas can grow incredibly tall.

27

Overwatering is possible.

Just because hydrangeas love water doesn’t mean you should drown them. In fact, soggy soil and poor drainage will cause the roots to rot.

28

Mulch can help improve soil texture.

29

They can turn green without enough natural light.

When there’s less daylight, hydrangeas have the potential to turn green. This is especially common during the end of summer, when days become shorter.

30

They naturally grow in lots of places.

You’ll find wild hydrangeas in a variety of places with mesic forests (moist but not overly wet land), usually along streams or rocky areas.

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