It is hard not to love the Hydrangea (also known as, Hortensia). The vibrant colours of the flowers are enough reason to see why it has been popular for many generations.

Interesting Facts About The Hydrangea

  • they were first cultivated in Japan, but were also discovered in North America
  • 70 – 75 species
  • can grow 1 – 3 meters tall
  • smaller tree versions can grow up to 30 meters (climbing up nearby trees)
  • most Hydrangea species flowers are white, but also range in blue, red, pink, light- and dark purple
  • Faial is known as the blue island owing to the massive number of Hydrangeas present

Its earlier name Hortensia is a Latinised version of the French name Hortense referring to the wife of Jean-André Lepaute (an outstanding French clock-making empire of their day).

The etymological meaning of Hydrangea stems from Greek words meaning water vessel, referring to the form of its seed capsules (hydros, water; and angos, jar). The name comes from the constant moisture required to keep the flowers happy, healthy and blooming.

In Japan, they are said to be a sign of apology or gratitude because an emperor gave them as apologies to his maidens.

In Europe, Hydrangeas gained a negative sentiment as they were used to apparently declare arrogance. But over time their colours were used to signify diverse emotions such as love and sincerity (pink); forgiveness (blue); purity and grace (white); wealth and royalty (purple).


Green Fingers

While caring for a Hydrangea in a pot might be fairly easy, Hydrangeas grown in gardens will eventually need a little love and care. To avoid sagging stems over time, it is suggested to prune them annually. Their flowers bloom during spring right up until fall. This makes the plant a great long term investment in your garden. No need to replant plants each year. Have a look at Gilmours thorough article on how to care for your Hydrangeas.

Colours are affected by the presence of aluminium ions available in the soil. In other words, the colour can be determined by the acidity of the soil. With a low pH level the flowers range from blue to purple and with a high pH level present, flowers will range in pinks and reds.

Once your Hydrangea has chosen its colour, you cannot change the pH levels in the soil to produce a different colour. However Gardenista suggest adding coffee grounds to your soil to turn petals blue.


Pet Friendliness

Unfortunately, this bright and beautiful plant is toxic to your fur babies. If consumed, your pet may develop signs of toxicity that can lead to gastrointestinal upset - you will need to see a veterinary as soon as possible. Even though the symptoms might be mild and easy to correct, you may require assistance to avoid lasting damage.

Other symptoms (depending on how much your pet has ingested) include:

  • lethargy
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • anorexia
  • increase in heart rate
  • increase in body temperature

The recovery from this toxicity can include ice packs and fluid therapy. Ingrini strongly suggests reading Wag Walking’s article on all the implications involved.



Ingrini would like to give a big thank you to the following sources who provided very insightful information in order to write this post:

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