Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’

Although I would never admit this to my garden plants, I do have my favourites amongst them. And one of them is the stunning Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’. I picked up ‘Nikko Blue’ last year; it was an impulse buy, which is something I did a lot of last year. It was my first real year of gardening after a hiatus of over 10 years, so my fanaticism enthusiasm was certainly understandable. Now that the initial excitement is out of the way, I’m no longer buying plants impulsively. On the contrary, I’m being very selective.

But despite last year’s plant-buying binge, and the fact that quite a few of those purchases were discarded (some intentionally), there were a few plants that turned out to be fabulous choices. And this is one of them.

When I planted this hydrangea last spring, it was an itsy bitsy thing:

Just a baby...

It was so small when I brought it home that it had a difficult time getting through the summer. It would dry out easily, and whenever the sun beat down on it, it would practically collapse. Then winter came along and there was the worry of whether it would survive until spring, so I offered it extra protection in hopes that it would help. So, in its starting stages, I had to keep a very close eye on ‘Nikko Blue’ to make sure it didn’t die on me.

Well, it was well worth the added effort because now it’s grown into this:

Amazing what a difference one year makes...
And it’s making flowers like this:

Isn’t it simply stunning? I certainly think so. And it’s not even done growing yet. It will eventually reach a height of 4 to 6 feet with an equal spread. I. AM. THRILLED.

Here is some basic information about this lovely plant for those of you who might be interested in adding one to your own garden:

Common Name: Big leaf hydrangea
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spread: 4 to 6 feet
Bloom Time: July - August
Bloom Color: Blue in acid soil; pink in alkaline soil.
Exposure: Part shade (Tolerates full sun if kept moist)

Sometimes, impulsiveness pays off, don’t you think?


  1. Yes, sometimes those are the best purchases. Odd that they are called Nikko 'Blue' though. I love hydrangeas - I find them very regal, almost Victorian - and you have inspired me to buy a few (if there are any left) - I know a lot of places are having clearance sales right now.

  2. I adore hydrangeas, Martha, but have a bit of trouble growing them here, as we don't have much shade to speak of. And it's been quite hot and dry this year. I do have a few of the white-flowered variety, which seem to tolerate the sun better. I have to pamper them with extra water, though.

    Your pink Nikko Blue is lovely---I can see why you like it so.

  3. They sure are, NellJean. I'd also love to see the flowers in blue.


    It is odd, Jane, because the only way the flowers will turn blue is if your soil is acidic, which many times you have to make that way. I'm going to do that and see if the plant makes blue flowers.


    Beth, I find that hydrangeas do much better when they're grown in part shade, although they will tolerate the sun if you mulch the soil around the roots and give them extra water. I find it silly that this plant has the name 'blue' in it when the flowers don't automatically grow as blue.