For Skye Hamilton, it all started with hydrangeas. Many Idahoans collectively agree that the ever beloved ball-shaped flowers that are popular in landscaping designs and floral arrangements are “not possible to grow in the Treasure Valley”. Hamilton has grown an Instagram following - *44.4k in a year - proving that theory wrong. On her platform, she shares how to plan, execute and maintain a vast variety of hydrangeas that are located right on her gorgeous Eagle, Idaho property.
As we are gearing up for spring, brainstorming future landscaping projects, and looking for a way to bring some fresh, year-round glamour to our homes, we partnered up with Hamilton to give us the insider info on how to get those big, beautiful blooms popping, even in Idaho!
The following article was written by Skye Hamilton of Hamilton House Designs.
Advice From the Hydrangea Queen
There is no flower that evokes the feeling of instant charm quite like a hydrangea. Those gorgeous fluffy blooms provide an instant wow factor, whether they are growing fresh in your landscape, or a dried centerpiece on your table. Hydrangeas have one of the longest bloom lives of any flower giving you so much bang for your buck.
They are a super versatile landscape addition seeing as how they can be grown whimsical and country, or sculptural and modern.
Finding Your Idaho Hydrangea
When you think of growing hydrangeas, Idaho is probably not the first place that comes to your mind, but what you probably didn’t know is that the vast majority of Idaho is well within the ideal growing zones for hydrangeas. Why should the South and coastal areas have all the fun, when you can grow amazing hydrangeas right here in the Mountain West.
The key is choosing the correct varieties for your growing zone. As much as I would love a gorgeous hedge of Cape Cod blue Macrophylla hydrangeas, this is just not the right climate for them.
When it comes to growing hydrangeas in Idaho, Hydrangeas Paniculata (commonly known as panicle or PeeGee), and Hydrangea Arborescens (often called Smooth hydrangeas, Wild Hydrangeas or Annabelle) are your best bet. These two varieties are the most cold and heat hardy.
Paniculata can be grown in full sun and are the most adaptable of all the hydrangea varieties. While Arborescens need more shade, they are a wonderful alternative if you love the classic large ball hydrangea look.
Where to Find The Right Hydrangeas
If I can impart one take away from this article, it is the importance of buying from a local nursery and not a big box store. Your local nursery is an invaluable resource of expertise specific to your climate and growing zone. They will only carry varieties that will thrive locally. Big box stores can be great for annuals, but these are investment plants and you want to get it right the first time.
My favorite nurseries in the Treasure Valley are Edwards Greenhouse, Old Valley Nursery, and Madeline George Nursery, although there are so many great nurseries.
When To Plant
Winter and early spring are the perfect time to start planning your hydrangea additions, and your watering systems. Hydrangeas have wide shallow roots and prefer moist well drained soil, so a drip system is your best bet for watering. Paniculatas are more drought tolerant and only need to be watered once a day, while Arborescens do best with small amounts of water throughout the day.
Nurseries will start putting out their hydrangeas around the end of March, or early to mid-April depending on the weather. They tend to sell out quickly so be on the lookout!
Follow me on my various social media platforms for all my tips and tutorials on everything from finding the best variety for your location, planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning and so much more! This spring I will be experimenting with new varieties and documenting the process from start to finish.
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