Hydrangea flowers come from the genus hydrangeaceae, which has between 70 to 75 species in its family. These flowers are native to both eastern and southern Asia, as well as north America. Hydrangeas grow in early spring and continue to blossom well into late fall. They are generally white in color; however, depending upon the soil in which they are raised, they may be blue, red, pink, or light or dark purple. Hydrangea plants are opposite leaved vines and shrubs that reach between 3 to 8 feet, and burst forth with either “mophead’ flowers (which are said to resemble pom-poms), or “lacecap” flowers. Although each species can differ slightly, most hydrangea flowers grow best in moist, well drained soil, and a faint amount of shade.
The name hydrangea comes from the Greek words “hydro” and “angeion,” which roughly translates into water vessel; it is thought that the name was given solely for the shape of the flower’s seed capsules. Despite the fact that hydrangea flowers can be mildly poisonous when consumed, many people still use these particular flowers in herbal cigarettes, in teas, and as medicinal concoctions. Hydrangea syrup has long been used to help in soothing irritation caused by bladder stones, as well as working as a natural diuretic. The tea made from this flower is brewed not only for its sweet flavor, but also as a ceremonial bath which is done on the 8th of April – the birthday of Buddha – in Japan. Some people like to use hydrangea flowers for arts and crafts. This is usually done by clipping the flowers while they are ripe and letting them dry. After they have dried out completely (and changed colors to a creamy white, mauve, or even lilac purple), they can be placed into wreaths, used to decorate walls or door frames, or scented and turned into potpourri.
Hydrangea flowers have more recently become a big part of wedding ceremonies. The “mophead” variety is commonly placed within bouquets – sometimes held by the bride, at other times by the wedding party. Alternatively, these flowers can be sent to those who attended or were part of a wedding, as they can symbolize gratitude and a heartfelt emotion. These particular flowers sent either potted or as a bouquet can make a great thank you gift for any occasion.