A Beginners Guide to Growing the Hydrangea Serrata
The hydrangea serrata plant is a popular type of hydrangea that is grown in gardens in many locales around the United States for its summertime blossoms and comforting smell. Also referred to as Japanese mountain hydrangea, this flowering shrub is native to the mountains of Japan and Korea.
Like many other types of hydrangea plants, the hydrangea serrata is well-liked because of its beautiful flowers. This particular type of hydrangea does not have the huge flowers that hydrangea plants are famous for, but it does have lovely blooms that vary in color and hold the same beauty, just a smaller version. The flowers of the h. serrata are flatter than most hydrangea plants, but they do still gather into larger bunches on the shrub.
The color variations in the h. serrata plant range from light periwinkle blue to pale pink to deep crimson. Interestingly, the color of the flower is actually determined by the pH level in the soil, so it can be controlled to some degree by the grower. Soils that have a higher acid level (usually a pH of 5.5 or less) will produce blue hydrangea flowers. If the soil is less acidic (having a pH of 5.5 or higher), the plant will grow pink flowers. White hydrangeas flowers, having no color, are not affected by the pH level of the soil in which they are grown.
If your hydrangea produces pink flowers and you would like to change them to blue, you should add lime to the soil. If the original flowers on the hydrangea plant are pink and you want to change the color to blue, then you will need to add aluminum sulfate to the soil to produce the desired color change. Soil additions should be made in the early spring, and it may take a complete season before the color change takes hold and is seen in the plant.
This particular hydrangea produces a good sized shrub, growing heights of between 3 and 6 feet. They are a full and leafy bush, so they require plenty of space in which to grow and flourish. Hydrangeas are perennials, and that means they will continue to grow and flower year after year without needing to be replanted.
Most types of hydrangea bloom throughout the summer months, and the hydrangea serrata usually displays its full beauty from early summer right on through to the middle of fall. This is another reason why the hydrangea has always been a popular flowering shrub. It has a good long growing season and adds welcoming color to the garden all summer long. The leaves of the hydrangea plant are an attractively deep shade of green, and their color and size make a wonderful backdrop for the brightly colored flowers.
Yet another reason for this plant’s popularity is the low maintenance. Hydrangeas require little special care, and you get a lot of flower for the minimal effort. They require normal watering – weekly when there is not sufficient rain. They prefer an area that sees both sun and shade, but generally don’t require huge amounts of sunlight all day long.
Young hydrangea serrata plants should be fertilized with extra phosphorous during the first year to aid in the development of a strong root system. (The phosphorous level of the fertilizer is indicated by the second number on the bag.) Once the plant is full grown, it can be fertilized once every couple of years with a normal garden fertilizer.