Gardening expert Dan Hinkley has traveled to the four corners of the world to discover new and exotic species of shrubs and vines. Here is a first look at some of the beautiful hydrangea species he found along the way; these special plants will be available to the public at a future date.
Plants Seen on the Show
An evergreen climbing hydrangea that's native to Taiwan and southwest China, this plant has beautiful, glossy green foliage held to the stems by red petioles. Its lacecap flowers are very much like the white lacecaps of a typical deciduous climbing hydrangea.
Hydrangea Aspera Var. Macrophylla
Hydrangea aspera is a very complex species that occurs in the Himalayas east to Central China. Considered the Queen of the Genus, it has magnificent felted foliage and plate-size flowers of mauve purple surrounded by white infertile flowers.
Hydrangea Aspera Subsp. Strigosa Elegant Sound Pavillion
This hydrangea is a naturally occurring mophead found in the wild of Sichuan. Most hyrdrangeas are lacecaps, but occasionally mutant forms appear with nearly all sterile flowers, now called mopheads.
Hydrangea Angusti Petala
This lovely species is from southern Japan and Taiwan and is the earliest blossoming of all hydrangea species. It's beautiful in flower and very fragrant, a rare trait amongst hydrangeas.
There are two ways to propagate hydrangeas -- seed propagation and tip-cutting propagation.
For seed propagation, begin by putting seed sowing soil in a container. Then, sow your seed, water it, and put the whole container in a plastic bag. Rooted pieces can be planted in the garden the following spring.
For tip-cutting propagation, begin by removing a 6-inch piece of stem tip, cutting directly below a set of leaves (called a node). Remove lower set of leaves. Reduce other leaves on stem piece by about 1/2 by cutting with pruners. Then, dip the end in rooting hormone powder, and insert it into rooting medium made up of sand and perlite or sand, peat, and perlite. Place a plastic bag over container to keep humidity high. The cutting will grow roots in about three weeks and the rooted pieces can be planted in the garden the following spring.
For more information on hydrangeas, check out Dan Hinkley's "The Explorer's Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World" (Timber Press). For more information about Rootone, available at most local garden supply or hardware stores, visit gardening123.com. Root-Gel is available from logees.com.