How to Grow Hydrangeas
Whether you call them Hydrangea Macrophylla, House
Hydrangea, French Hydrangea,, or Mopheads, growing
Hydrangeas in the home garden can be an enjoyable
experience. They are lovely, whether used as single plants
or in mass, such as in a hedge, or border.
Hydrangeas grow best in partial shade to full sun.
They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in
Hydrangeas need a lot of water. In fact the word
"Hydrangea" comes from the Greek for "water tub"!
They grow best in rich soil, so dig in a lot of compost,
and other organic matter, when you plant them, and mulch
Fertilize liberally in the spring, in May in the South,
and again in August. Wait until June to fertilize in
northern areas. Use a good balanced, slow-release,
fertilizer and apply ¼ cup around the base of a very small
plant, and 1-2 cups around a very large plant. Spread out
to drip line, but don't get it next to the trunk. Mulch
with homemade compost to cover roots.
Never fertilize a plant that looks sick or wilted, it
will just stress it more.
You can propagate from softwood cuttings in June. Take
a 6"-8" tip cutting, strip off the bottom leaves, dip end in
rooting hormone, then stick about one inch deep in sterile
moist sand, vermiculite or sphagnum moss. Create a mini
green house over plants with plastic and place in bright
light, not full sun, until roots form.
Or, you can just root them in water. Again, place in
bright light away from full sun until the roots form.
1. Dig a hole 2 times as deep and wide as the root
ball. Break up soil in the hole and mix in 1 inch compost.
2. Remove from container and loosen soil around outside
of root ball.
3. Set in hole so plant is at same level it was in the
pot, you may need to add dirt back into the hole to raise
4. Fill in hole, around plant, with the soil and pack
gently. Water well to remove air pockets. Mulch well with
5. Early fall is the best time to plant new Hydrangeas.
In Spring, prune back old or damaged growth, and old
flower stems. Don't cut new shoots, they are where the new
blooms will be.
In late summer, after blooming, prune to just above the
next outward facing bud.
For larger flower clusters, thin plant down to half the
number of stems.
Powdery Mildew-evidenced by white powder on leaves,
which then turn yellow and wilt. Treat by removing infected
spraying with a fungicide.
If the plants aren't blooming well, it could be due to:
1. Winter kill. The buds form on the previous years growth,
and can be killed off if temps drop below 25 degrees
Fahrenheit. Protect when harsh weather is expected.
2. Too much shade. They prefer partial to full sun,
preferably morning sun, with shade during the hot
3. Poor Fertilization.
You can change the color of the blossoms, by changing the
acidity of the soil.
Add Aluminum Sulfate to make the soil acid for Blue
flowers. Or, add Lime to make the soil alkaline for Pink
You will need to repeat the process 2 or 3 times over the
growing season and continue it as long as you want the
change to continue. It may take a year or two to see the
results you want. This doesn't usually work on the white
varieties on Hydrangeas.
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