Milflores (Mophead Hydrangeas) Luscious, abundant and impressive. At wholesale markets from New York to Paris to Hong Kong, cut hydrangeas are in a class with few peers and their notoriously fickle disposition makes them even more of a challenge for the home florist. But they are definitely worth the trouble and their recent abundance in local markets provides a stunning addition to your choice of potted and cut flowers.
We have had smaller hydrangeas (locally known as milflores for their seemingly thousands of blooms) in the Philippines for many decades. They thrive in cooler climates such as Baguio, Tagaytay and some cooler regions of Mindanao. Not a native to the Philippines, the flowers of the localized plants have become smaller and smaller — though they still look stunning when massed together. The native plants are often sold at roadside stands and farmer’s markets and recent prices are roughly P75-150 per pot depending on your haggling skills. Most native plants are blue or purplish in color.
Recently, a number of growers in Davao and the Mountain Province started cultivating imported hybrids of hydrangeas with simply spectacular results. Raised in greenhouses and under controlled conditions, precise potting mediums and abundant water, the growers have managed to raise plants with huge blooms in dark and light pink, blue, lavender and even some dark green.
The stunning blue specimens at right were purchased at the FTI market at just P50 per stem. They were apparently cut from a very mature plant raised in the Baguio area and the owner had agreed to sell the blooms in one fell swoop. With blooms at least 10 inches in diameter, these are among my finest market finds of the year. On another visit, I found nearly chartreuse colored potted hydrangeas (actually immature flowers that had yet to take on color) at top for about P80-100 a plant which was also quite reasonable.
While hydrangeas are notoriously fickle, I find they are well worth the bother. If you purchase already cut blooms or cut your potted plants, make sure the blooms get a LOT of fresh water to keep them happy. If they wilt, try plunging the entire flower head in cool water for 2-3 hours and they should recover. I find that fresh flowers last 5-6 days if well cared for.