Hydrangeas are gorgeous shrubs, with long lasting, luscious summer blooms and glowing fall color. Enjoy them as specimens in the garden and as a bonus bring the blossoms indoors for cut or dried floral arrangements. So here is a guide to help you choose which Hydrangeas are right for your garden, container or landscape area.
1. Choosing the Right Hydrangea. First you need to choose the correct hydrangea- How much sunlight does the location have? What type of soil do you have? How big of blooms and what color of blooms do you want? All hydrangeas will bloom and grow well in morning sun and afternoon shade.
2. Planting Hydrangeas. Choose a location so that the hydrangea can reach its full size without pruning. Plant the hydrangea in well- drained, rich & organic soil. Make sure to not plant the hydrangea too deep in the ground. Plant at the same depth as the in the pot it comes in. The best time to plant hydrangeas are early spring - summer or fall. If you want to transplant a hydrangea, do so once the plant is dormant and has lost all leaves in late fall or winter.
3. Watering Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas need moist but well drained soil to thrive. Instead of trying to stick to a “rule” for watering hydrangeas, it is better to water so the soil is moist at all times, but not too wet. Each type of hydrangea requires different levels of water. The location of the plant will also determine how much water the plant needs. When thirsty- the leaves will start to wilt when the plant needs water. Hydrangea macrophylla and hydrangea paniculata require more water than hydrangea aborescens (smooth hydrangeas) and Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf).
4. Fertilizing Hydrangeas. Specialty formulated hydrangea fertilizer is available, however it is not necessary. Commonly found G&B fertilizer either- Rose & Flower, Bud & Bloom or Acid Lover is the easiest to use. It should be applied in spring or early summer. Not in the fall as that is when the plants are preparing for dormancy, and the fertilizer could trigger new growth which isn’t healthy for the plants.
5. Changing Bloom Color. Fertilizer will not change the color of the blooms, although extra ingredients added to fertilizers might change the color, but the fertilizer itself doesn't have this power. It is much easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than it is from blue to pink. Changing a hydrangea from pink to blue entails adding aluminum to the soil. Changing from blue to pink means subtracting aluminum from the soil or taking it out of reach of the hydrangea. You cannot change the color of white hydrangeas.
6. Pruning. Mophead hydrangeas do not ever need to be pruned. You only need to remove dead branches. Different types of hydrangeas need to be pruned using different methods. To determine what method to use, read the more in-depth article. It is important to prune the correct way, so you do not cause the shrub to have less blooms.