Page 24 - HOME Spring 2019
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Story by Julia Moore
Whether it's for the love of those large, beautiful blooms or for the nostalgia of growing grandma's favorite flower, gardeners can't get enough of hydrangeas. But growing them in Alaska – especially with our fluctuating winters – can be a real challenge. Here are some suggested varietals from pros across the state to get your show-stopping shrubs started.
Choosing a hardy hydrangea
When planting anything in Alaska, it’s important to keep in mind the hardiness of the plant. Only consider a plant with hardiness 3 or lower in Alaska. In Southeast Alaska or on the peninsula, you may be able to get away with a higher hardiness level. With hydrangeas, you’ll also want to look for species and varietals that bloom early, since our summers are so mild compared to the lower 48.
Hydrangea Arborescens
Also known as the “smooth hydrangea,” this species of hydrangea grows as a compact bush, needing trimming down to about 6-8 inches from the ground in late winter. (Bonus: Those summer moose munches won’t even matter.)
Try: Annabelle, a varietal with stunning white flowers.
Hydrangea Paniculata
Available in several hardy varietals, Paniculata bushes are distinct with large, conical blooms. Trim this early- blooming species in fall, winter or early spring before new blooms form. Tip: By thinning plants to five to 10 shoots per bush, you can achieve larger blooms – if desired, you can even try pruning into a tree form.

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