The ultimate showdown between hydrangeas and Callas took place this week on our Instagram page. If you missed it, here’s a recap:
This week we asked you to vote for hydrangea or Callas, and boy, were we in for a surprise—this week’s winner won by a landslide! And, you know what, what with the winning variety’s seemingly magical color-changing properties, we should have seen it coming! Welcome to the world of hydrangeas, the winner of this week’s flower showdown.
It’s All in the Name
What’s in a name, you—or Shakespeare—may ask. When it comes to this week’s winner, the answer is, well, everything. Let’s break it down. Hydrangea, a name of Latin origin, is a combination of ‘hydro’, meaning water, and ‘angeion’ or ‘angos’, meaning vessel or bucket. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of growing or displaying hydrangea, this moniker will make perfect sense, as these billowing beauties are, no shade, thirsty. Originally discovered in Japan, each of hydrangea’s 70+ species has a different story, look, and requires a different gardening approach. So, let’s get into it!
A Look at the Hydrangea, in All Her Glory
This summer favorite comes in all the chicest shades, including white, blue, pink, violet, burgundy, green, multicolor, and more. Not only do different types of hydrangeas boast a stunning array of colors, but they each also have their own petal and foliage variations, including different textures, shapes, and sizes. Depending on the variety, hydrangeas can grow up to around 15 feet tall and around 8 feet wide. Well, this isn’t entirely accurate, take the Climbing Hydrangea, for example. This colossal hydrangea can grow up to 50 feet tall!
A Magician Never Reveals His Secrets, But We Will
If you’re a die-hard flower fan (considering the fact that you’ve made it this far means that you likely are), you may have heard of the wizardry of hydrangeas and where they get their color from. The secret to their hue? Soil! The color of bigleaf hydrangeas is controlled by the pH level of the shrub’s soil. With low pH soil, hydrangeas can absorb aluminum, which gives them their blue color, for example. For pink and red petals, hydrangea pros add limestone to the soil to ensure the rosy color. If you’re thinking of trying to play with a hydrangea’s color in your own garden, it’s best to test the pH level of the soil before planting.
At-Home Growing Tips
Although hydrangeas are quite sensitive when it comes to their need for sufficient water, they are actually quite adaptable to different landscapes and soils, including both alkaline and acidic soils, and can survive in both sun and shade. When planting new hydrangeas in your home garden, it is best to plant them during a more mild season like fall. Ensure that the soil that you are planting in is fertile with plenty of room for the shrub to spread. Hydrangeas require moist soil but overly-wet soil can cause unwanted root rot. To ensure long-term success, it’s best to have healthy, established roots before a hydrangea’s first bloom.
Keep in mind that the various species of hydrangeas require different gardening approaches, so do research on your specific hydrangea’s growing condition requirements.
Jump into the Top 2022 Decor Trend
Hydrangeas have taken center stage as the new ‘it flower’ of home decor. They’re so voluminous and unique that they often steal the spotlight in a fresh bouquet. This makes them perfect for a single-variety bouquet, which is one of the biggest home decor trends of 2022. Open up almost any edition of Vogue, Architectural Digest, Country Living, Better Homes & Gardens, or any other trendy home decor publication and you’ll surely stumble upon arrangements featuring solely hydrangeas.
Want to try the trend out for yourself? You’ll often find white or colorful hydrangeas in your monthly Enjoy Flowers subscription. Our bouquets feature anywhere from 30 to 35 blooms, so they can make one huge bouquet or one to two full bouquets. To try the single-variety home decor trend, gently remove the hydrangeas from your monthly bouquet, trim the stems to fit your vase, and spread the joy (and chicness) of hydrangeas around your home. Just remember—make sure that they always have plenty of water!
Much More Than Just Honorable Mention: Calla Lilies
Callas puts ‘honor’ in honorable mention because this variety is not only one of our favorites but our customers’ favorites as well! Also known as calla lilies, these stunners aren’t actually lilies at all, though they do share some similarities to lilies, including that they are both social flowers (meaning they grow best in groups). Callas aren’t just a favorite for at-home bouquets, they have been heavily featured in art and media. Take, for example, their presence in Georgia O’Keefe’s and Diego Rivera’s artwork, in the Katherine Hepburn film “Stage Door”, and in Greek mythology.
Want to try growing Callas at home? It’s a great variety to add to your garden as they can flourish in varying climates without much supervision needed on your part. But if you want to get your hands on stunning Callas without lifting a finger, our Garden and Designer Collections often feature Callas—and did we mention hydrangeas as well? A win-win!
Want to continue learning about some of your favorite varieties? Be sure to vote next week on our Instagram account!