Shrubs with large, showy inflorescences look marvelous during blooming. The number of colors the hydrangea has to offer will satisfy even the most discerning gardener. In this article, you will find as much information as possible about this wonderful plant.
Hydrangea care tips
- Plant the hydrangea in a location with 4-6 hours of direct sun per day.
- Use well-drained and nutritious soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0.
- Water it when the soil around it is 1-1.5 inches dry
- Feed the hydrangea with a multi-purpose fertilizer at least once a year.
- Cut back the inflorescences as soon as they bloom.
- Mulch with organic matter 2 to 3 inches thick.
- Protect against diseases and pests using neem oil.
|Hardiness:||USDA zone 3-8 (1-12)|
|Size:||Height 1-6 ft and width 2-10 ft|
|Shape:||Rounded with upright stems.|
|Type:||Perennial, deciduous, shrub.|
|Light requirements:||4-10 hours of direct sun per day. Sun, Partial Sun, Shade|
|Soil:||Loam or amended soil.|
|Soil pH:||6.0-7.0 Grow best in slightly acidic to little alkaline soil.|
|Watering:||Water when soil is 1 inch dry.|
|Growth rate:||Fast, slow, medium.|
|Blooming:||Late spring and early fall. On old and new wood.|
|Flowers color:||Red, pink, purple, white, blue, and much more.|
|Leaves color:||Bright green.|
|Pots:||Needs a large pot and frequent watering.|
|Best time for planting:||Early spring and early fall.|
|Pruning:||Deadheading after flowering and removing deadwood.|
|Reblooming:||In early fall.|
|Spacing:||4-10 feet apart (center to center).|
|Transplanting:||Early fall or early spring.|
|Fertilizer:||Balanced NPK formula, once per year.|
|Propagation:||By cuttings in early spring.|
The best place for planting is in partial sun. Depending on the species, hydrangeas can tolerate 4 to 10 hours of direct sunlight per day. Do not plant them in full shade. Only certain types can grow in full sun.
It is also good if the place of planting will not stagnate water and there will not be cold draughts.
The best time for planting is in early spring before the buds open. Avoid planting in the summer when it is very hot. The second suitable period for planting is the first half of fall.
A few days before planting, water the hydrangea generously. For planting, give preference to a cloudy day over a sunny one.
Dig a hole twice the size of the root system and fill it with a bucket of compost. Mix it with the native soil. Place the shrub so that the stems and crown are not left buried in the ground.
Backfill the entire space in the hole with loose and well-drained soil mix. Next, water the hydrangea with 1-2 gallons of water.
The ideal sun exposure for all hydrangeas is the partial sun. Hydrangeas are best exposed to up to six hours of direct sunlight in the morning.
In the afternoons and evenings, it is best to keep it in full shade. But some species can tolerate much more light.
For example, panicle hydrangeas can grow in full sun all day and they will be fine. They can also tolerate full shade, but you still need to provide a few hours of direct sun for the best blooms.
Mophead hydrangeas, on the other hand, are most sensitive to direct sun. They only need morning sun. If this hydrangea gets afternoon sun, it will get burned. As a result, the leaves and inflorescences turn brown.
All other hydrangeas fall somewhere in between. You should definitely check with your supplier about exactly how much sun a particular hydrangea needs.
Hydrangeas prefer moist and nutritious soil, but at the same time, it should not stagnate water. It is better if the soil has some organic matter.
If you have clay or sandy soil, it is better to improve it with organic matter. Because clay soil is poorly drained and sandy soil dries out too quickly and is very poor in nutrients.
Before planting, mix the native soil in which the hydrangea will grow with the same amount of compost or soil conditioner. Peat also works well. Always use ingredients only from reputable suppliers.
The result is a nutritious soil mixture that will stay moist for a while but not too wet. This is the ideal environment for hydrangeas to thrive.
In addition, the organic matter will make the soil slightly acidic. In such soil, you will avoid chlorosis, which is a very common problem. Also, some hydrangeas will turn blue if the pH is below 6.0.
Hydrangeas are moisture-loving plants and need plenty of watering. The best way to check whether it needs watering is to feel the soil with your fingers. If the soil is more than 1.5 to 2 inches dry, the hydrangea should be watered.
Use 1 to 3 gallons of water for each shrub. The larger the shrub, the more water it needs. You can water either with a hose or with a drip hose. The latter is more convenient because there is no need to stand near the plant and the water will soak into the soil better.
Avoid watering according to a certain schedule as this can lead to over-watering and the soil will become swampy. This can lead to root rot, which is difficult to treat.
On the other hand, if you water too little the Hydrangea will droop. This is especially true for newly planted plants and with hot summers.
The closer you get to winter, the less often you need to water the hydrangea. Usually, in winter the ground is moist, so watering is not necessary at all. But in the case of dry, warm winters, water hydrangeas about once a month.
Because of the abundant flowering Hydrangea needs a lot of nutrients. In the section on soil I have already written that it must contain organic matter, that is, be nutritious.
Hydrangeas also need to be fertilized with mineral fertilizers. Slow-release granules are best. They usually have a life of 90 days so you should apply them in spring. As a result, the plant will be supplied with minerals for almost the entire growing season.
As for the composition, it is better to choose a fertilizer that contains approximately the same amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
What you should avoid is using a fertilizer with a lot of nitrogen, because the nitrogen will stimulate the growth of the leaves and not the flowers.
The second fertilizer application should be done right after the blooms. In this case, you should use a multipurpose fertilizer that will take effect immediately.
And the last type of fertilizer is organic fertilizer. Simply mulch your hydrangea with good quality compost in the spring. The layer of mulch should be 2 to 3 inches. Avoid putting mulch on the stems and crown.
The easiest way to propagate hydrangeas is by cuttings. If you do it right, the next year you can get a full-grown plant that will inherit all the features of the mother. Seed propagation is also possible, but the new plants will be very different from the mother plant.
The best time to take cuttings is spring. The cuttings should be at least 6-8 inches long. The number of internodes in the cuttings should be at least 2. It is best to choose one that does not have flower buds.
Prepare trays or pots with drainage holes. Fill them with the sterile seedling substrate. Immerse the cuttings in the soil at least 2 inches deep and about 3 inches apart.
Water the soil in the trays liberally and transfer to a shaded greenhouse. The humidity should be at least 60%. In a few weeks, the first roots will appear, but the full root system will not appear until the end of the season.
Do not transplant the cuttings from the trays until the following spring. They should remain in the greenhouse or in another sheltered location all winter.
мHydrangea is most often affected by fungal diseases. Botrytis Blight, Cercospora, Anthracnose are among them.
Anthracnose appears as light brown spots on the leaves. Over time, the spots become larger and the leaf turns yellow. This disease is most active in wet weather.
Cercospora is very similar to the previous disease, but the spots are much darker and almost black. It usually affects almost the whole leaf. This is caused by poor air exchange and high humidity.
Botrytis Blight is a more serious disease. Affected leaves immediately wither and turn brown, and a gray mold appears on them.
Although all these diseases are different, the treatment is approximately the same. The first thing to do is to remove the diseased leaves and burn them.
Next, spray the hydrangea with an aqueous solution of fungicide. Repeat the spraying a week later. A different fungicide should be used each time. The first time you can use a multi-purpose one and the second time you can use a copper fungicide.
Also, make sure that there is good air exchange around the bush. If necessary, repot it or transplant plants that are growing too close.
Avoid overwatering and too much moisture around the hydrangea.
Hydrangea leaves are also often the target of many different pests. The most common are aphids. They are small bugs that parasitize the upper leaves and stems. Aphids are usually spread by ants because they feed on their sweet secretions.
To get rid of the aphids, wash them off with a stream of water from a hose. Next, spray the leaves with an aqueous solution of neem oil. This is usually enough to stop them from doing more damage to your plants.
The second, more formidable pest is the weevil. These are large enough beetles that lead a nocturnal lifestyle. That’s why the leaves may be bitten around the edges but you won’t find the pest.
The easiest way to get rid of this beetle is to destroy its grubs. To do this, use beneficial nematodes. Dilute them in water and pour the soil around the hydrangea. After a while, the weevils will disappear.
The third pest is the spider mite. This is a very small sucking pest. If you see tiny cobwebs on the leaves and young stems and the leaves turn brown, it is probably a mite. To get rid of them, spray your hydrangea with acaricide (miticide).
In general, hydrangeas do not need pruning except for deadwood. Dead branches can be trimmed at any time of year. Do this as close to the ground as possible but do not damage the crown.
If you want to renew your hydrangeas, you can also cut them back. The best time is early spring. Keep in mind that some species only bloom on old wood and if you cut them back, they will not bloom in the current year.
On the other hand, there are many varieties that flower both on new and old wood. They can be cut at almost any time. Just don’t cut back the annual stems until the hydrangea has bloomed.
It is also good practice to trim the inflorescences when they have faded. Some gardeners leave them in over the winter because they have some decorative value.
This makes some sense, but if you remove the inflorescence immediately after flowering, the plant will not lose energy to create seeds. As a result, next year’s blooms will be more abundant.
Always use a stringy and sharp tool. It is better to cut in dry weather than in wet weather so that the wounds dry quickly.
The most appropriate time to move hydrangeas is in early spring. You need to get there before the buds start to push. If you transplant at this time, you can count on a positive result of almost 100%.
The second good time is in the autumn. The main thing is to transplant in 30 days before frost.
What you don’t want to do is a transplant in the summer. This is especially true if the summer is very hot and dry.
Overcast weather is most suitable for transplanting. If it hasn’t rained a few days before, water the hydrangea the day before transplanting.
Dig out the shrub as carefully as possible. The fewer roots you damage, the sooner it will take root in its new location.
Plant the hydrangea as I described in the planting section above. Use soil that is well-drained and nutritious.
After transplanting, water the hydrangea and shade it with a garden umbrella for several weeks. As a result, the plant will lose less moisture and will tolerate relocation more easily.