Its nickname is even "Blue Island."

By Better Homes & Gardens
May 14, 2019
Credit: Francesco Bonino / EyeEm / Getty

Hydrangeas are a favorite of many gardeners. What's not to love about their huge, pillowy blooms? Not only are hydrangeas a treat to grow, but they have symbolism based on culture or flower color. For example, pink hydrangeas represent love and sincerity while white flowers are known to symbolize boasting or bragging. Hydrangea lovers will be delighted to know that there's an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that boasts thousands of blue hydrangeas every year. Even if it's just for the amazing pictures that roll in on Instagram every summer, we can't help but admire this flourishing island.

The Azores Islands, which sit in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (think between Morocco and Portugal), are known for their scenic rolling pastures, seaside views, hilly terrain, and exotic flora. The Azores is an archipelago made up of nine different islands, each one of volcanic origin.

Of the Azores, one island in particular stands out for its flora. Faial, nicknamed 'Blue Island,' is characterized by the thousands of blue hydrangeas that bloom every summer. Hydrangeas line the highways, country roads, and pastures on the island, turning heads at almost every corner. Not only are these flowers planted at pretty much any place they have a chance of growing, but locals raise them in their gardens as well.

There's a scientific reason why the hydrangeas on Faial are so blue. Since the island is the result of volcanic eruptions from thousands of years ago, its topography makeup is a little different than larger continents. According to Phys Org, volcanic eruptions release water, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen chloride, creating extremely fertile and acidic soil. This leads to hydrangeas' sharp blue color and their ability to come back stronger every year.

If you're lucky enough to make it to this hydrangea heaven one day, aim to visit in July or early August, when the hydrangeas will be in their peak bloom. And don't go picking: It's illegal to harvest hydrangeas on any of the Azores Islands. After all, you wouldn't want to strip the island of its natural beauty.


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