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You won't want to toss this "bridal bouquet" '– it's so lovely that you'll want to keep it for yourself! Wedding Gown Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Dancing Snow' WEDDING GOWN) is named for a bride's gown, but its flowers may remind you more of her bouquet. Resplendent in white and covered with blooms, we guarantee that you've never seen a double lacecap hydrangea quite like this one. Elegant Double Lacecap Blooms If you've never seen a lacecap hydrangea, the name perfectly describes its look. It's a lovely variation on the traditional form of many round mophead-type hydrangeas by producing flowers that fittingly resemble an elegantly styled Victorian lady's lace cap. Instead of a full, round flower head, lacecap blooms are delicately flattened with lots of individual flowers growing tightly together to form the composite cluster. But typically only the larger flowers around the outer edge of each lacecap open to reveal their showy blossoms '– the "lace" of the "cap." The tiny blooms in the center of the lacecap are barely even recognizable as flowers. But Wedding Gown Hydrangea takes the conventional look of single-flowering lacecaps to a new and exciting level because its outer flowers are fully double! An Unusual Trait Compared to Other Lacecap Hydrangeas Wedding Gown Hydrangea is a departure from conventional lacecaps that have an outer ring of flowers, because it's classified as a modified lacecap hydrangea. This means that even the smaller flowers in the center bloom '– and they're double, too! This is what gives Wedding Gown Hydrangea the appearance of having lots of white bridal bouquets growing on its stems. When the outer flowers begin to open, you'll see the lacecap look. But as the center flowers bloom, they fill in the "bridal bouquet" to give it more of a rounded look similar to mophead types of hydrangeas. And you won't get just a few flower clusters; each compact shrub is packed with masses of flowers. How's this for a shrub with amazing flower power '– the Missouri Botanical Garden reports that each flower cluster contains up to 600 individual flowers! Even a Late Spring Frost Won't Stop These Flowers Wedding Gown Hydrangea is also a rebloomer! Once the first flowers open in summer, your plant will continue to bloom until frost. If you've grown other types of hydrangeas that were nipped by a late-spring frost, you'll remember your disappointment when your plants didn't bloom that year. The reason is that the flower buds on many types of hydrangeas actually begin to form the year before your plant blooms, on stems that grew the previous year. So if these developing flower buds are killed by a late frost the following spring, it takes another year for new buds to develop and bloom. Wedding Gown Hydrangea is a welcome exception to this rule. Not only does it form flower buds on last-year's growth, but it also sets buds on new stems that grow in the current season. If a late-spring frost kills the buds that developed the previous year, your plant will still produce flowers later that same year! Luminous White Color Regardless of Soil pH You never know what color some types of hydrangea flowers will bloom. You may purchase a "blue" hydrangea, but the next year in your garden, it blooms pink (or vice versa). You may even buy a "blue" or "pink" hydrangea when it's in bloom at your garden center to find purple flowers on your plant the following year! These types of hydrangeas depend on the pH of the soil to determine their flower color, and unless you know your soil's pH, you're not guaranteed that the color you purchased will remain true the following year when it blooms in your garden. But you never have to worry about a color surprise when you grow Wedding Gown Hydrangea. These flowers consistently produce a blizzard of pure-white blooms year after year! Dramatic Cut Flowers In a word ?… spectacular. Or how about another word ?… captivating. This only begins to describe the contribution that Wedding Gown Hydrangea adds to your floral arrangements. When it begins flowering in summer, fill vases for your summer luncheon or garden party with stems of Wedding Gown Hydrangea in full bloom. Or use Wedding Gown Hydrangea flowers as the white color pop in a mixed-floral arrangement with other flower colors. And what about the obvious '– using Wedding Gown Hydrangea flowers in a magnificent bridal bouquet '– it just doesn't get more spectacular that that! Compact Shrub for a Perfect Garden Fit If other types of hydrangeas are simply too large for your garden, Wedding Gown Hydrangea may be the perfect fit. These compact, deciduous shrubs grow only 2 to 3 feet tall, but they are quite full because their spread is slightly larger than their height (3 to 5 feet wide). You can tuck one shrub into any shady garden nook to add tons of color and character to a bare spot. Clustered in odd-numbered groupings of three or five shrubs, Wedding Gown Hydrangeas look like a large billowy cloud of white when they're in full bloom! When you plant this compact shrub in your landscape, you'll enjoy another plus '– no pruning to keep it looking its best. Wedding Gown Hydrangea stays neat and tidy without becoming leggy or overstepping its bounds. One of the Best Hydrangeas for Containers And here's why we say this: • Its compact size is perfect for pots. Other types of hydrangeas that grow very large can still be grown in pots, but their mature size can often grow out of proportion to their container (unless you have a very large pot). You won't have to muscle a huge pot onto your patio to plant Wedding Gown Hydrangea because it's perfectly at home in a pot that's only 16-18 inches in diameter. • Its width is greater than its height, which means the stems will spread out horizontally to cover the rim of its container for a lovely presentation. • You'll be able to enjoy Wedding Gown Hydrangea as a potted flowering shrub on your shady patio from summer through fall. • It's a winter-hardy perennial. In the landscape, Wedding Gown Hydrangea is a perennial in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 through 9. In a container, which lacks the surrounding ground soil to insulate its roots, it's still hardy to Zone 7! (If you live in zones 5 or 6, you can grow Wedding Gown Hydrangea in a pot, but you'll want to wrap the pot with a thick blanket or place the pot in a protected spot during the winter to help keep its roots from freezing.) Container Ideas • Because Wedding Gown Hydrangea has white flowers, you can choose any color for your pot and it won't clash. For example, if you love the brilliant color of cobalt blue, plant Wedding Gown Hydrangea in a glazed cobalt-blue container for a striking color contrast. • If you use a brightly colored pot, place the pot on a white garden pedestal. The vivid color of the container is the colorful "sandwich filling" between the white flowers of Wedding Gown Hydrangea and the white pedestal. • Plant a shade-loving vine, such as classic ivy, around the edge of the pot to trail down the sides of your container. • Use a good-quality potting mix that's specially blended to use in containers. The mix will stay loose, allowing your plant's roots to grow easily. • When you place your hydrangea in its container, keep the top of its root ball even with the potting mix. Lightly press the mix around your plant, and be sure to leave a couple of inches of "headspace" below the rim of the pot. Otherwise, if you fill potting mix all the way to the top of the container, water will easily run over the sides of the pot each time you water. A Fabulous Plant for Your Moonlight Garden What '– you don't have a moonlight garden? This themed garden is all the rage among landscape designers, because it offers a calming place of respite at the end of a busy day. Moonlight gardens are designed with "light and white" in mind '– plants with light-colored foliage and plants with white flowers. At dusk and early evening, these kinds of plants shine in the light of the moon when brightly colored flowers fade into the background. If you don't have a moonlight garden yet, put Wedding Gown Hydrangea at the top of your plant list! And if you don't want to dig and install a new garden area, you can still have your moonlight garden '– simply grow all light-foliage and white-flowering plants in patio pots! Only Minimal Maintenance Needed Wedding Gown Hydrangea is not a labor-intensive plant to grow; in fact, you'll be delightfully surprised at how easy it is to care for. You'll want to keep your newly planted shrub watered very well during its first year in your garden to help it develop a strong and healthy root system (water container plants more often). By applying a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around your plant, you'll help conserve the moisture around the roots. Just make sure that after a heavy rainfall, the soil drains well. If your plant sits in standing water for too long, its roots can rot. Keep it out of direct sun (some morning sun is okay), but plant it in a spot that's shaded in the afternoon. Give it a little fertilizer in late spring, ideally based on soil-test recommendations, so it has maximum bloom potential! Care For new plantings, dig a hole one and a half times wider than the plant's container; place plant in hole, keeping the top of the root ball ground level; and back fill with dirt. Water thoroughly and then mulch around the base to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. New plantings require more frequent watering than established plants. Wind, temperature and soil are factors to consider in watering. Feed plants in early spring and again in early fall with an all-purpose fertilizer, following label instructions.