February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Hydrangeaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Deutzia Widely cultivated for its many graceful and ornamental members, this genus is composed of 60 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs found mainly in temperate Asia with a toehold in Central America. Most of the commonly grown deutzias are spring flowering and deciduous. They have pointed oval to lance-shaped leaves in opposite pairs, often with serrated edges, and heads of small, starry, 5-petalled, white, cream or pink flowers that are usually held clear of the foliage. CULTIVATION: Most deutzias are very frost hardy and the genus is a mainstay of temperate gardens. They are best sheltered from strong winds that can damage the thin leaves or strip the flowers. Prune and thin after flowering to maintain a good framework of strong branches. Propagate from seed or half-hardened summer cuttings.
Hydrangea There are about 100 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, trees and climbers in this genus. They are native to eastern Asia and North and South America, where they grow in moist woodland areas. The leaves are usually large and oval with serrated edges. Flowerheads are comprised, to varying degrees, of very small fertile flowers surrounded by larger, showy, 4-petalled sterile florets. They may be conical, flat-topped (lacecap) or rounded (mophead). Colors range from white through to red, purple and blue, and in Hydrangea macrophylla can vary depending on the acidity or alkalinity (pH level) of the soil. Acid soils produce blue flowers and alkaline soils produce reds and pinks. CULTIVATION: Hydrangeas are accommodating plants that grow in a wide range of conditions and give a good floral display with minimum attention. However, they will do better in good soil with compost and light feeding. Grow in sun or dappled shade and ensure they have ample moisture. Although it is best to grow H. macrophylla cultivars that suit the soil pH, it is possible to change their color by dressing with aluminium sulphate for blue and with lime for red. Pruning is not essential but can be carried out in late winter. Old exhausted wood can be removed and the plants given a light overall pruning to maintain shape. Larger blooms can be encouraged by cutting back to the second or third pair of buds. Species can be propagated from seed sown in spring as well as from tip cuttings in late spring or hardwood cuttings in winter. Cultivars are propagated from cuttings only. Both H. macrophylla and H. serrata and their cultivars strike very easily.
Philadelphus Occurring within the Hydrangeaceae/Philadelphaceae family, there are 60 or so species of mainly deciduous shrubs in this genus. They grow on rocky hillsides and in open scrubland in temperate regions of Central and North America, the Caucasus, the Himalayas and eastern Asia. They usually have peeling bark and are frequently grown for ornamental purposes. They are also cultivated for their scented double or single flowers, as a specimen shrub in woodland or in a shrub border. CULTIVATION: They grow well in full sun, partial shade or in deciduous, open woodland in moderately fertile soil that is free draining, but will flower better in full sun. Some species, if grown on inferior soil or if not pruned, can grow coarsely with expanses of bare stem and few flowers. With proper care this can easily be remedied. If grown in pots, a loam-based compost is best, and regular feeding and watering are necessary throughout the growing season. Propagate from softwood cuttings taken in summer or hardwood cuttings taken in autumn and winter.

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