In The Garden Now ... Firefly Hydrangea

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mop Head Hydrangea  ‘Firefly’

Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

Many people have memories of old fashioned mop head hydrangeas growing in their grandmother’s garden. They were often large flowering shrubs six to eight feet in diameter covered with masses of globe shaped flowers blooming their hearts out through summer. If you saw them growing in the Pacific Northwest they were probably blue due to the fact that our soil is quite acidic and promotes that color in a plant that could produce either pink or blue flowers.

‘Firefly’ Mophead Hydrangea becomes a striking four foot high shrub bearing dark reddish pink and cream colored semi-double florets that become a more intense color as they mature. The foliage also takes on a reddish cast which adds to the drama. I’m always attracted to red flowers and those on ‘Firefly’ are striking.

This hydrangea likes part sun and will bloom from late spring through autumn adding color to the garden when temperatures are pleasant and you’re most likely to be outside. Hydrangeas like plenty of water so be sure to provide for them especially while plants are becoming established. Give this beauty a try in a container or planted in the garden!

Note:  Be aware that there is another Hydrangea ‘Firefly’ (Hydrangea anomala ‘Petiolaris ‘Firefly’).   This is a climbing hydrangea growing 10 to 20 feet high with white flowers and green and yellow foliage. It’s a nice climber but looks and performs nothing like our mop head Hydrangea ‘Firefly’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Firefly’). Select plants carefully to be sure you are getting the one you want. In the plant world there are often very diverse plants with the same common name.

Botanical Name:    Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Firefly’ (Horcos PPAF)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


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