HYDRANGEA CARE GUIDE
Hydrangeas should be planted in the spring after the danger of frost, or in the fall well before the night time temperatures flirt with 32°.
If planting in the fall, avoid high doses of fertilizer as this will cause soft growth that will be damaged in the winter.
The soil should be rich in organic matter and well drained.
The ideal soil type is loam, so avoid sandy and clay soil.
If you have sandy soil, amend it with organic matter and plant only in
or near clay if the water will drain.
Hydrangeas are greedy plants and do best when fed during the early to middle part of the growing season.
We suggest a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote.
A water soluble fertilizer (Miracle Grow) used every 2 weeks, along with the slow release is ideal.
Hydrangeas are thirsty plants!
We can’t stress enough the need for plenty of water, both at planting time as well as once the plant is established.
Newly planted hydrangeas need to be watered once a day, maybe twice according to how much sun they receive.
Established plants will shine with regular irrigation. Stop the watering schedule in September and let nature take its course.
Here in the south, hydrangeas do best with morning sun and light afternoon shade.
All day filtered, bright shade will work as well.
Avoid all day, dark shade. This will result in small and infrequent flowers. Eventually, blooming will stop if plants are in too much shade.
There are several types of hydrangeas and pruning depends on the type of plant you have.
Macrophylla (mopheads) - This is the most common hydrangea with the big, round, fluffy blooms and large leaves. Some lace caps are included in the group. This type of hydrangea blooms on the old stems from last year. This means that next year’s flowers are being formed on this year’s branches. Our advice is to not prune this hydrangea at all, but to buy the size of hydrangea that will fit the spot. 98% of macrophylla hydrangea fall under this rule. The other 2% is the fantastic ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas. These bloom on new growth as well as old. No matter if we have a severe winter or late frost that would normally damage buds, the new growth will contain buds that can only be destroyed by drought. Oakleaf is also included in this group.
Climbing Hydrangeas - Growth can be slow at first, so pruning should be avoided. Prune only to change the direction of a branch.
Paniculata - This group includes ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangeas as well as ‘Annabelle’. They flower off the new growth and should be pruned. In spring, before new growth has emerged, prune your hydrangea in half. This will encourage vigorous growth and good structure that can support the weight of the blooms. Some suggest cutting the plant almost to the ground; this will cause rapid growth with huge flowers that can not be supported by the plant.
Hydrangea planting pictures courtesy of EndlessSummerBlooms.com. For more information, visit their site!