How to Grow Hydrangeas

Опубликовал Admin
22-10-2016, 05:20
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From mid-summer to early fall, you don't have to look far to find beautiful hydrangea bushes growing in flower gardens, around fence borders and in front yards. These perennials produce large clusters of small flowers in varying shades of pink, blue, purple, white or a combination of colors that last well into autumn. Read on to learn how to plant, care for and dry hydrangeas so you can enjoy them all year round.

Planting Hydrangeas

  1. Choose a hydrangea variety. In order to figure out what type of hydrangea to plant, you'll need to figure out which variety is best for your gardening zone. Start by looking at a planting zone hardiness map to determine the number of your zone. There are hundreds of varieties of hydrangeas to choose from. If this is your first time planting these beautiful flowers, you may want to choose from among these common varieties that are known to be hardy and produce long-lasting blooms.
    • Mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, or "bigleaf" hydrangeas, grow well in zone 8, which has a warm climate. They don't do as well in colder regions unless you take measures to protect them from frost.. Look for the "Endless Summer" mop-head variety at your local nursery - it's a type of mophead hydrangea that blooms more than once over the summer. This type of hydrangea produces large balls of pink or blue blossoms that deepen in color over the course of the season.
    • The oakleaf hydrangea grows well in places with very hot summers without too much moisture. It is hardy through zone 4b/5a. This type of hydrangea has white blossoms.
    • Annabelle hydrangeas are more cold hardy than mophead or oakleaf hydrangeas, can still grow in zone 3. This type of hydrangea has white blossoms that turn light green later in the season.
    • Peegee hydrangeas can grow hardy even further north than Annabelles - all the way up to zone 3a. They are also able to grow in southern zones. They have white blossoms.
  2. Plan to plant in the spring or fall. Planting in one of these milder seasons will give the hydrangeas time to acclimate to the soil conditions and take root before the weather gets more extreme. Look for hydrangea plants in your nursery in early spring or early fall.
  3. Find a good planting spot. Hydrangeas are easy to grow either in planting beds or in large pots. Whichever method you choose, you'll need a spot that gets full sun in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon. Bigleaf hydrangeas will grow in complete partial shade, so choose this variety if you have a shady yard.
  4. Enrich the soil with compost. Hydrangeas need rich, well-drained soil that is kept moist. If you're working with dry or depleted soil, get it ready for hydrangeas by working in some compost. If your soil tends to hold water, you can add peat to help with drainage.
  5. Dig a wide hole in the soil. The hold you dig should be as deep as the root ball on the hydrangea plant, and at least twice as wide. Use a spade or shovel to dig a big hole to accommodate the plant's roots. If you're planting more than one hydrangea, they should be spaced 5–7 feet (1.5–2.1 m) apart, since the plants can grow to get very large.
    • Check the instructions that came with your particular hydrangea variety. Some hydrangeas can be planted closer together, while others may need to be planted at least 10 feet (3.0 m) apart.
  6. Plant the hydrangea. It's important to make sure the roots of the hydrangea get watered at the time of planting, so start by setting the hydrangea's root ball in the hole you dug. Fill the hole with a few inches of water and let it drain thoroughly, then fill the hole with soil and water it once more. Pat it down around the base of the hydrangea.
    • Planting hydrangeas too deeply can cause the roots to fail. If not planted deep enough, your hydrangeas could fall over in heavy rain or strong wind.

Caring for Hydrangeas

  1. Keep the soil moist. Hydrangeas will begin to wilt if the soil gets too dry, so make sure you water them every day or two, especially during the hot summer months. Water the hydrangeas near the base of the plants and above the roots, rather than spraying the water directly onto the flowers; this prevents the flowers from getting burned by the sun.
  2. Prune only when necessary. New hydrangeas do not need to be pruned; if you do so, you may not get new blossoms the following spring. If you have older hydrangeas that have gotten quite large and need to be cut back, make sure you prune at the right time of year according to the variety of hydrangea you planted.
    • Bigleaf hydrangea varieties should be pruned after the blossoms have faded in the late spring.
    • Oakleaf and other hydrangeas that bloom on the current season's wood should be pruned while the plant is still dormant, in late winter before the blooms emerge.
  3. Protect hydrangeas over the winter. Cover them with mulch, straw, or pine needles to a depth of at least 18 inches (45.7 cm). If you have smaller bushes, you can cover the entire plant for the winter. Remove the cover in early spring, after the last frost.
  4. Change the color of hydrangeas. The color of hydrangeas depends on the pH of the soil in which they are planted. If you have pink or blue hydrangeas, it's possible to change their color by changing the soil's pH. This can take weeks or months, so be patient!
    • To change flowers from pink to blue, lower the soil's pH by adding sulfur or peat moss.
    • To change flowers from blue to pink (which is more difficult than changing from pink to blue), add limestone to the soil to raise the soil's pH.
    • White hydrangea blossoms don't change color.

Cutting and Drying Hydrangeas

  1. Harvest hydrangeas when the flowers are mature. Wait until the color is rich and the flowers have a papery, rather than juicy, consistency. This will make the flowers easier to dry. Use a scissors or pruning tool to cut the stems.
  2. Dry hydrangeas to preserve them. Hydrangeas preserve beautifully when dried. Their color stays bright for a long time, and they hold their shape for years before disintegrating. To dry hydrangeas, use one of the following methods:
    • Hang them upside down. Tape the stems to the top of a doorway in a dry, dark room. Let them hang until they completely dry, then remove them and arrange them in a vase.
    • Dry them in water. Place the stems in a vase filled with a few inches of water. Allow the flowers to slowly dry as the water evaporates.
    • Use silica gel. Place the blossoms in a container and cover completely with silica gel. After a week or two, the flowers will be dry, their color perfectly preserved.


  • When transplanting a hydrangea from one area to another, it's best to wait until fall when the plant is dormant. Get as much of the root system as possible when digging up the plant.
  • As the blooms begin to fall off your hydrangeas, prune back the clusters to promote new blooms throughout the season.
  • It's best to plant hydrangeas in early summer or fall, and put them in areas with plenty of sun and some shade.
  • If you live in a northern area, plant hydrangeas where they will get lots of sun throughout the day. These perennials can withstand more hours in direct sun each day in cooler climates.


  • Hydrangeas will not thrive or bloom if you plant them in a very shady area where they get little or no sun.
  • When planting hydrangeas, wait until the chance for frost has passed, and avoid planting them during the hottest days of summer.
  • Do not over-water hydrangeas. Too much moisture can cause the plants to produce less blooms or make the roots rot.
  • Do not let the soil around your newly-planted hydrangeas dry out. Check the plants regularly if the weather gets hot and dry, and water accordingly.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydrangea plants
  • Shovel or spade
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
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