Hydrangeas are recognized for their big, beautiful blooms. That’s why they are popular both as plants and cut flowers for one’s garden. What’s more, they smell fabulous as well. These flowers are loved for their versatility, and that’s why they are frequently used as bridal bouquets set in a country garden. When you see big hydrangea heads, do look closer, as you will see that they are actually small clusters of blooms arranged together. You can even grow these little star-shaped flowers along wooden stems to create an eye-catching pompom shape.
An Introduction to Hydrangea
Ancient hydrangea fossils date back between 40 and 65 million years ago and were found in North America. However, the hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan. These flower varieties did not appear in Europe until the 1730s when a colonist introduced a North American varietal to England. In many cases, hydrangeas are mainly used for landscaping due to their petals contained low levels of cyanide. Yes, they are unfit for consumption! However, Buddhists are known to drink hydrangea serrata in the form of a sweet tea as part of a cleansing ritual. The tea was believed to help relieve the symptoms of autoimmune disorders as well as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and malaria.
Hydrangea has also been used in Western culture for a variety of reasons. Studies have shown that Native Americans utilized the bark for pain relief (mostly for burns and muscle pain) and the root of hydrangeas as a the bark as pain relief.
Common Varieties to Keep in Mind
- Climbing hydrangea: Also known as Japanese hydrangea vine, this flower is native to Asia. It can also climb up walls and other various structures. In some instances, it can reach up to 80 feet in height.
- Oakleaf hydrangea: Their leaves resemble those of oak trees. Their leaves can change color during the fall.
- Panicle hydrangea: Also called limelight hydrangea, panicle is native to China and Japan. The flowers have the ability to turn deep pink.
- Smooth hydrangea: This flower variety is native to the U.S. and is typically planted as a hedge plant. You can grow this as a large shrub, in some cases, up to six feet.
- Bigleaf hydrangea: Other names include French hydrangea, garden hydrangea, and florist’s hydrangea. Bigleaf hydrangea is easily spotted for its short-stemmed, heart-shaped, and thick and shiny leaves.
What do Hydrangeas Mean?
Hydrangea gets its etymological meaning from water (hydros) and jar (angos), which are Greek words. The name also originates from the continuous moisture that’s needed to keep the blooming, healthy, and happy. In Japan, hydrangeas have been used as a sign of gratitude or apology because past emperors have given them as symbols of apologies to his maidens. In Europe, however, hydrangeas have a negative sentiment. They were used to declare arrogance. In the Medieval ages, hydrangeas also became synonymous with frigidity. It was believed that women who grew these flowers would never find husbands. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the color meanings of hydrangea:
- Purple: royalty, wealth, and abundance
- White: bragging, abundance, grace, and purity
- Blue: rejection, regret, and forgiveness
- Pink: sincere emotions and love
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