How to Care for Hydrangeas

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Having a beautiful flower garden always tends to liven up the neighborhood. One of the most beautiful possible plants to have in a garden is the hydrangea. Hydrangeas are some of the most stunning plants around, especially when they blossom. Those large and colorful blossoms look like nothing else.

With that being said, just like any other plant, hydrangeas need proper care. This is what we are here to address today: how to care for hydrangeas.

They’re not the most difficult plant out there to care for, but they do require some work. Today, we’re going to cover a wide range of hydrangea planting and care tips to help you keep them alive. Planting, watering, pruning, and more: we will cover all of this right here and now.

What is a Hydrangea?

When it comes to caring for any sort of plant, knowing what that plant is definitely helps. Now, the hydrangea is technically considered a shrub. That said, they do of course have some extremely beautiful flowers.

Generally speaking, these plants will bloom in the spring and early summertime. Now, caring for them is not overly hard, and they tend to really grow all by themselves. They grow quite quickly and can easily reach up to 15 feet in height.

One of the most important things that you need to know is that hydrangeas are perennials. Moreover, another important fact is that in terms of the zones they grow in, hardiness zones three to seven are ideal. Therefore, getting the right type of hydrangea for the hardiness zone you are in is vital.

On that note, there are a few different types of hydrangeas. These different types of hydrangeas thrive in different hardiness zones.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common types of hydrangeas and which hardiness zones do they grow best in. This will help you determine which types of hydrangeas you should plant in the area you live.

  • A common type of hydrangea is the big leaf hydrangea. In fact, it’s the most common of all hydrangeas out there. This type of hydrangea grows best in hardiness zones 5 to 9.
  • We then have the oakleaf hydrangea. This is another one that does well in warmer zones, generally zones 5 or warmer. This type of hydrangea is ideal for withstanding high summer heat.
  • You then have the panicle hydrangea, which is ideal for any zone up to zone 3. These are some of the easiest ones to care for and they can get really tall too.
  • The other main type to consider is known as the smooth hydrangea. This is the type that you might be most familiar with, as these have large white clusters of flowers that form. For this reason, they are often known as snowballs. If you live in a colder climate, this is the hydrangea of choice.

Tips for Planting Hydrangeas

How successful you are with caring for your hydrangeas all starts with how, when, and where you plant them.

You have to choose the proper time to plant them, the proper location, and the right type of soil too. There are also other things to consider here. Let’s go over some of the most valuable tips for planting hydrangeas, so can keep them alive for as long as possible.

When to Plant Hydrangeas

The best time to plant hydrangeas is during the early fall. This is followed by early springtime. The fact is that you need to give your plant plenty of time to establish a solid root system before it blooms.

If we are talking about the best time of day to plant a hydrangea, this is going to be early morning or late afternoon. You want to plant your hydrangeas during the cooler parts of the day. This will help prevent heat stress from occurring.

Where to Plant Hydrangeas

In terms of where to plant hydrangeas, there are a few important things that you need to keep in mind here.

  • First, hydrangeas tend to prefer having warm morning sunlight. However, they generally don’t do too well in the heat of the afternoon. Therefore, planting them in a location where they can get sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon is ideal. Both the north and the south sides of homes are ideal for this.
  • You also want to provide your hydrangeas with some protection from the wind. Those large blossoms can be pretty susceptible to high winds. A strong wind might just completely kill a developing hydrangea.
  • You also want to avoid planting your hydrangeas directly under trees and far too close to other plants. You don’t want your hydrangea to have to compete for nutrients and water.

The Best Soil to Plan Hydrangeas

One of the most important parts of planting the hydrangea is choosing the right soil. One thing to keep in mind is that while hydrangeas do like a good deal of moisture, they do not tolerate being waterlogged at all. You need soil that has great drainage. You need to avoid root rot from occurring.

You also want that sort to have plenty of nutrients, so mixing it with some fertilizer or compost as recommended. The more organic material the soil in question has, the more nutrients hydrangeas will get. A good idea is to put a bit of gravel underneath the soil to allow for good water drainage.

Planting Hydrangeas

Planting a hydrangea is not really difficult. You want to dig a hole that is a couple of feet wider than the root ball.

Make sure that the hole is deep enough to completely cover the root ball, without covering the plant itself. You also want to create a slight mound, which will help water drain away from your plant.

How to Care for Hydrangeas

How to Care for Hydrangeas – Important Tips

Now that you know how to plant a hydrangea, let’s go over some of the most important tips you need to keep them alive. Here, we’re going to cover pest control, fertilizing, and watering.

Watering Hydrangeas

Watering hydrangeas can be a challenge. They require a good balance of moisture, without being waterlogged. You want to water them with about 1 inch of water per week. You should divide this into three separate weekly watering sessions.

When you water them, make sure to water the soil. You don’t want to get the stems, the leaves, or the flowers wet.

Moreover, make sure to water them early during the morning. If you water them during the day, especially if it is hot, it will cause them to wilt. Do also keep in mind that both smooth and big leaf hydrangeas need more water than other types.

Fertilizer and Mulch

To help keep your hydrangeas cool during hot days, adding mulch on top of the soil is recommended. Mulch is also going to breakdown over time. This will therefore help add nutrients into the soil.

On that same note, you do also need to fertilize your hydrangeas. Do keep in mind that each hydrangea variety has slightly different needs. For instance, a smooth hydrangea just needs to be fertilized once, sometime during the late winter.

Oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas need to be fertilized twice per year, once in April and once in June. Big leaf hydrangeas on the other hand need smaller doses of fertilizer, but on a regular basis. This type of hydrangea should be fertilized in March, May, and then again in June.

Hydrangea Pest Control

The other thing that you need to do is to take care of pests as they occur. If you see a pest infestation on your hydrangeas, spraying them down with a neem oil and water mixture is recommended.

However, there is too much to cover here, but that said, there are a lot of pests that may infest your hydrangeas. It is essential that you are able to identify and take care of pests as soon as they appear.

Propagating Hydrangeas

What is very neat about hydrangeas is that they are extremely easy to propagate. First, you just have to dig a small trench somewhere close to your original hydrangea. You are then going to choose a relatively strong and healthy looking branch.

You want to bend this branch down so that it comes into contact with the soil, somewhere in the middle of the branch. Keep in mind that up to 12 inches of the branch should extend past the trench that you have dug.

You then want to mark the bark at the spot where it touches the soil. You then want to fill in the trench, and place some kind of heavy stone, rock, or brick on top. Eventually, you will see that the branch forms its own root system. You may then cut it off and transplant it into a different area.

Do keep in mind that both oakleaf and smooth hydrangeas actually put out new shoots using underground stands. All you have to do is dig up the new plant and separate it away from the original plant. You can then transplant it into a new location.

Caring for Hydrangeas – The Bottom Line

As you can see, caring for hydrangeas is really not all that hard. As long as you follow all of the tips that we have listed above, you should have an awesome hydrangea garden this summer.

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