Notable for their big, showy blooms, hydrangeas are one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. In spring and summer, their colorful large pom-pom-like flowerheads can be seen in gardens and florist shops across the country. An ornamental bloom that has been around for a very long time, hydrangeas evoke an old-fashioned charm. Their immense florets make them great cut flowers and popular in weddings and everyday bouquets. With over 75 species and numerous varieties, the gorgeous hydrangea comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors such as blue, pink, red, purple, maroon, green, and white.
Characteristics of Hydrangea
Hydrangeas are most commonly grown as shrubs, but they can also grow as trees or vines reaching nearly 100 feet tall. Their beautiful big blooms are made up of clusters of flowers called a "corymb," which has three general forms: mophead, lace cap, and panicle. Mophead blooms have the domed, pom-pom shape most of us are familiar with. Lacecap hydrangeas have clusters of smaller flowers surrounded by larger blooms, and Panicle hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower clusters. The most widely known variety of hydrangea is called "bigleaf hydrangea," which has the lush, bountiful, rotund blooms that grace and enchant gardens worldwide.
History & Origins of Hydrangea
"Hydrangea" comes from the combination of two Greek words, "hydros," meaning water, and "angeion," meaning vessel, which loosely correlates to "water vessel." It's believed this name came about due to hydrangeas needing a lot of water to thrive, but it could also refer to the shape of their seed pods which resemble a water pitcher. In some countries, Hydrangeas go by the name "hortensia." They are native to Asia and the Americas but were first cultivated in Japan. In 1736, an American colonist introduced hydrangeas to Europe, where they have since become immensely popular.
Hydrangea Fun Facts
- The flower color of bigleaf hydrangeas can be changed based on soil acidity.
- Except for the white flowers - these never change color.
- The hydrangea is so beloved it has its very own day - Hydrangea Day is January 5th.
- Hydrangea leaves and petals are toxic so keep kiddies and pets away from them.
- The root and bark of hydrangea shrubs are not toxic and have been used in healing rituals by Native Americans.
- Hydrangeas are relatively easy to grow - they just need watering and pruning.
- Hydrangea blooms don't have petals - they are actually sepals, which are leaves that protect the flower bud.
Hydrangea Symbolism & Meaning
The symbolism of hydrangea flowers is dependent on factors such as color, culture, and time period. In Japan, hydrangeas symbolize deep-felt apology and gratitude. In Victorian times, hydrangeas had a negative connotation of boastfulness and arrogance. This meaning likely came about due to the abundance of flowers the hydrangea plant produces yet yields very few seeds. In the U.S., hydrangeas symbolize heartfelt emotion and are often given for the fourth anniversary. Different colored hydrangeas also carry their own symbolism:
Cut hydrangeas have a long vase life. Place a few stems with bountiful blooms in a vase for an instant pick-me-up and touch of charming décor.
If you need to send an apology to someone, the hydrangea is the perfect flower for doing so, especially blue hydrangea.
Send purple hydrangeas to convey a deep understanding to someone who could use your support and to let them know you are thinking of them and are there for them.
Representing gratitude and sincerity, pink hydrangeas make the perfect gift to give a friend for their birthday or "just because."
To show heartfelt emotion and how much you love your partner, present them with pink or red hydrangeas as a sincere, romantic gesture.
A popular bloom in bouquets, weddings, special events, and more, shop gorgeous flower arrangements featuring hydrangeas with Freytag's Florist. The hydrangea's large flower head, full of abundance and lushness, adds a romantic and charming touch to any occasion. With their wide appeal, variety of colors, and diverse meanings, hydrangeas are pretty much perfect for all occasions.