Having over more than 75 species in its family, Hydrangeas are mostly found in the countries of America, Japan, mountains of Himalayas, and Indonesia. They are also known by the name Hortensia. Although they are a shrub, this flowering plant can grow by climbing up trees and vines. When given proper care, Hydrangeas grow very much in height, sometimes even growing up to 100 feet (ca. 30 m) tall as a climbing vine.
The popularity of this plant can be attributed to its stunning flowers. It is usually said to bloom from early spring to the season of fall. These beautiful blooms are available in a wide range of sizes, colors as well as shapes. Some popular colors include pink, white, blue and purple. It grows the best in full sun although a partial shade works wonders too.
Hydrangeas can make for a gorgeous garden plant due to size and stunning colors. In a flower bouquet, these beautiful flowers look perfect and will easily brighten up your garden with its bright petals and exquisite fragrance.
Hydrangea flower meaning – name and its origins
There has been a lot of debate regarding the origins of Hydrangeas’ name. The name Hydrangea is said to have been taken from Greek language. The flower resembles the shape of an ancient water pitcher. It is a combination of the words hydro, meaning water and angeion, which means a pitcher, thus giving Hydrangea its name. Since all varieties of this flowering plant need a lot of water to survive and grow, the name is perfect.
Another name for this popular flower is Hortensia, which was also coined by a French botanist in the year 1771. There are a lot of rumors around this name. The botanist is said to have named this flower after a mystery woman whose identity is unknown. It could have been a commoner or even his mistress with whom he was acquainted.
The reason behind such speculations that it could be a woman’s name is because he was also very close to the daughter of the prince of Nassau – Hortense. They had met each other at a botanical event.
Even if it is not named after a lady, It is very clear that the name means ‘from the garden’ in Latin. Hortus is a Latin word which means garden. There are rumors that the botanist found Hydrangeas with other flowers in a garden, owned by the king of Mauritius. The origins of Hydrangea’s name till date remains under speculation, although it adds more mystery to the flower.
The Japanese call these plants mountain Hydrangeas as they are mostly found in the mountainous areas of Japanese islands. Hydrangeas found here are smaller and even have delicate flowers.
Hydrangea flower meaning
Hydrangeas need a lot of watering to grow and its symbolism and meaning varies from culture to culture around the world. For example, in Japan, it is said to represent the emotions of apology as well as understanding due to a folktale. According to the tale, a Japanese emperor gave this flower to the girl he loved after realizing that he neglected her. This made a favorable impression on the empire, along with his girlfriend’s family. The Hydrangea flower meaning can also be attributed to unity.
In contrast, in Europe, this flower has negative connotations as it often associated with arrogance. This is because Hydrangeas can only produce very little seeds, despite producing a lot of flowers. Whenever women rejected proposals of English men in the 1800s, men send them Hydrangeas accusing them of frigidity.
As a result, it was believed in the Victorian age, that young women who had Hydrangeas in their gardens or homes were very unlikely to get married. If a woman did not have luck in finding a suitor, Hydrangeas were said to be the reason.
However, in the present day, Hydrangeas are usually sent to people to celebrate certain occasions and milestones. Since they come in a lot of colors and sizes, it can be a classic and lavish gift.
Hydrangea flower meaning – colors
Hydrangeas can easily be recognizable by the pom-pom shape of its petals. Their different colors are due to the type of soil they are grown in, so one can choose the color of the Hydrangea they want.
In Japan, the blue Hydrangea has significance due to the legendary apology by the Japanese emperor to his mistress. Even in many cultures around the world, this blue flower has always been associated with apology and understanding for someone else. It is usually considered a thoughtful gesture to gift Hydrangeas.
Blue Hydrangeas are even more striking because blue is a very rare color among flowers. These big blooms can look really stunning as indoor plants when it is paired with other beautiful flowers. Even in the color blue, Hydrangeas can range from delicate white petals with blue tips to bright blue blooms.
White Hydrangeas have been linked to negative traits like arrogance and vanity. This meaning can be traced to the Victorian age, where men used to gift women they desired with these flowers. Despite this, white Hydrangeas in many cultures have stood for unity and peace and are considered a stunning addition to bouquets.
They symbolize true, heartfelt emotions and are thus used for summer wedding bouquets and spring floral arrangements. These delicate blooms also have been associated with pure and romantic love and sometimes even resemble the shape of a heart.
Purple Hydrangeas often represent deep understanding and are a popular addition to gifts, especially on fourth wedding anniversaries. Throughout many cultures, the color purple has been linked to royalty, power or gratefulness and presenting a bouquet of purple Hydrangeas to your partner is a nice gesture of appreciation.
Hydrangea flower meaning – cultural significance
They are highly symbolic flowers having a lot of meaning and significance. As they produce flowers in abundance, they are usually linked with pride and boastfulness in some cultures.
In many countries of Asia, people gift pink Hydrangeas when they want to tell them they love them or have a special place in their heart. This is because pink Hydrangeas can resemble the shape of a heart.
These beautiful blooms being a symbol of gratefulness, is usually gifted for wedding anniversaries.
As mentioned before, in Victorian age, gifting a Hydrangea had double meanings. They could either mean a thank you for understanding gesture or could even be considered as a gesture of vanity.
Most varieties of Hydrangeas are highly toxic and not fit for consumption. However, in Japan, they use a particular variant of this flower to make Ama-cha, an herbal tea. They contain a substance known as phyllodulcin, which makes the tea sweet and is considered safe to drink. In Japanese language, Ama-cha can be translated to sweet tea.
The tea is prepared by steaming and drying the flower’s leaves, which then turn to dark brown in color. This tea is generally served during the month of April, every year, during the Buddha bathing ceremony. It is considered the birthday of Lord Buddha in Japan. During this occasion, the tea is poured over a statue of Buddha as well as served to people who attend this event.
Ama- cha is considered amrita or blessed water and is used as a substitute for Amrita in Japan. In addition to Japan, countries like Korea also have the custom of making tea with the leaves of this flower, which is called Sugukcha.
Uses for Hydrangea Flowers
These flowering plants look extremely stunning in front yards and outdoors, often looking bright on summer days. Hydrangeas are known for being versatile and are widely used in floral arrangements as well as wedding garlands.
They produce pollen, which is allergy-safe and most of them do not give out much fragrance. As a result, they are great for gifting. Hydrangeas can therefore be a good option for bouquets as the possibility of them causing any allergic reaction is low, even for people who are mostly sensitive to flowers.
Hydrangeas are great for special occasions especially when you want to offer thanks or maybe even apologize to someone, because of their symbolism. In addition to being used as a flower in bouquets and arrangements, the roots of this plant are highly beneficial. They are said to have diuretic properties and can be used to treat many conditions of the urinary tract too.
Hydrangeas are elegant and classy flowers while being deeply meaningful and symbolic. If you want to deliver a heartfelt message to someone, you can never go wrong by gifting Hydrangeas. Whether it’s for anniversaries, a thank you gesture or even a sincere apology for some mistake, these beautiful flowers can easily brighten up anybody’s day. Hydrangeas look graceful and exquisite in a bouquet, home or even outdoors like a garden or courtyard. This is why these pretty blooms are a go-to option for many flower enthusiasts. So, the next time you’re wondering which flowers to pick up, hydrangeas should definitely be your top consideration!