Magazine article Sunset

Little Lace Caps

Magazine article Sunset

Little Lace Caps

Article excerpt

Help hydrangeas make the transition from house to garden

Floral shops and nurseries are full of foil-wrapped pots of hydrangeas this time of year. You'll find two types in bloom: those with standard flowers, and lace cap hydrangeas with clusters of small fertile flowers surrounded by a ring of big sterile blossoms. Both types come in whites, blues, pinks, and bicolors. The lace cap hydrangeas in 6-inch pots shown at left are about a year old. Greenhouse growers force them to flower young, but the plants won't stay small very long; most eventually grow into 4- or 5-foot shrubs.

In most parts of the West, except the desert and the coldest-winter areas, forced hydrangeas can make the transition from indoors to the garden. While the plants are still indoors in pots, water when the top 2 inch of soil dries out and snip off flower clusters when they're past their prime.

Then in May, after danger of frost is past, allow hydrangeas to harden off, or gradually acclimatize, to outdoor conditions on a patio that gets filtered sun. …

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