How To Plant Hydrangea Plants

Planting hydrangeas is a present you can give yourself. These lovely flowering plants are a great addition to any environment thanks to their profusion of vibrant blossoms.

How to Choose Hydrangeas

The hydrangea plant comes in a variety of varieties. Although one is a vine called climbing hydrangea, the most grow as shrubs. The most popular hydrangea varieties in zones 6 through 9 may be mophead and lacecap varieties, which can serve a variety of purposes in the landscape.

Choose panicle, smooth, or oakleaf hydrangeas to grow as a hedge; these varieties also have attractive fall foliage.

Choose an oakleaf hydrangea or a climbing variety if you intend to cultivate hydrangeas in complete shade.

The panicle hydrangea, which can be grown as a tree, is the variety you want if you’re growing hydrangeas in colder climates because it has the most winter hardiness.

Where to Plant Hydrangeas

Light and moisture are the most crucial elements to consider when deciding where to plant hydrangeas. Plant them in the South where they’ll get early sun and afternoon shade. You can grow the wildly popular French (also known as bigleaf) hydrangea or panicle hydrangea under these circumstances. These identical varieties of hydrangeas can withstand full-day sun in northern regions.

The root term “hydra” (as in hydration) in the name “hydrangea” provides a hint as to how much water these plants require. Make sure the location you choose is near a water source. Also be aware that French hydrangeas typically require the most water to flourish.

What Kind of Soil to Use for Hydrangeas

Concentrate on enhancing the native soil if you want to cultivate hydrangeas in planting beds. Mixing equal portions of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Trees and Shrubs and existing soil is one quick and easy way to do so. You can also plant hydrangeas in containers in warmer climates (zones 7 and higher), where winters are often not too harsh. Use Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix to fill pots to provide the ideal habitat for them.

It is important to note that the pH of the soil, which indicates how alkaline or acidic the soil is, affects how the blossom color of lacecap and mophead hydrangeas changes. In alkaline soil, flowers bloom pink to red, while in acidic soil, they turn lavender to blue.

When to Plant Hydrangeas

The ideal time to plant hydrangeas is typically when you see them on sale at neighborhood garden centers. By region, this timing will change. For instance, hydrangeas should be planted in the early spring or early fall in regions with freezing winters and snow (as soon as summer heat breaks). The planting window for hydrangeas is longer in warmer climates with moderate winters, lasting from fall until early April.

Planting Hydrangeas In-Ground

The type of hydrangea you are growing will determine how far apart you should space your plants. The plant tag should ideally be examined. Keep in mind that hydrangeas grown in the shade typically develop slightly larger and wider leaves. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the container the hydrangea arrived in when planting it. Fill the hole with the 50-50 soil mixture mentioned above after setting the plant in the hole so that the root ball is at the same level as it was in the container. After planting, thoroughly water.

Planting Hydrangeas in Containers

Verify once again that plants are planted at the same depth as they were growing when planting hydrangeas in containers. The size of the container you should choose will depend on how big your hydrangea will get. It’s generally okay to begin with a pot that is 2 inches bigger than the one the plant is currently in.

Watering Hydrangeas

After planting, give the plant plenty of water, making sure to moisten the soil around the root ball. You might not need to water the hydrangeas again until growth picks again if they are dormant (without leaves).

In soil that is consistently moist, hydrangeas flourish. At least once per week, check the soil. It’s time to water when the top inch of soil is dry. Except in times of drought, hydrangeas can usually thrive on rainfall after they are established.

Mulching Hydrangeas

After hydrangeas are planted, mulch the area surrounding the plants (but not on top of them) with a 2- to 3-inch layer. Mulch inhibits weed development and sunlight availability, helping to keep soil moist and prevent weed growth. Pick the mulch that complements your landscape the best, whether it’s Scotts bagged mulch, chopped leaves, pine straw, or another locally accessible material.

Feeding Hydrangeas

When hydrangeas first start to grow in the spring and again right before the summer, fertilize them. After August, especially in areas with chilly winters, refrain from feeding hydrangeas. It is best to use a slow-release plant food. Try Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Flowering Trees & Shrubs Plant Food, which provides nutrition for up to 3 months, for the greatest results.

Pruning Hydrangeas

The sort of hydrangea you are growing will determine when to prune it. You should prune plants as soon as flowering is ended because French and oakleaf hydrangeas both produce flowers on old wood (stems from the previous year). Hydrangeas, both smooth and panicle, bloom on new growth, so you can clip stems in late winter or early spring. In general, hydrangeas shouldn’t require much pruning beyond removing dead or broken wood as long as you give them enough space to spread and grow to their full size.

Protecting Hydrangeas in Winter

In order to assist safeguard flower buds that have already grown for the following year, many gardeners in cooler regions create a burlap screen around oakleaf and French hydrangeas. Making sure the hydrangea you’re growing is hardy in your gardening zone, though, is the most crucial component of winter protection.

Using Hydrangeas in Your Landscape

The garden can use hydrangeas for a variety of purposes. Plant hydrangeas as a foundation planting around a house or as a privacy hedge. Potted hydrangeas can add beauty to a deck or entry garden, and a single hydrangea can serve as the garden’s focal point. Additionally, hydrangeas blend in well with diverse borders of perennials and shrubs and offer a natural-looking element to a woodland scene.

Wedding bouquets and vase fillers both love using fresh hydrangea flowers. Most experts advise waiting to allow flowers age and dry naturally on the plant if you want to dry hydrangea blooms. Harvest when you favor the color stage.

Ready to begin hydrangea cultivation? To learn more about a product, to buy it online, or to locate a retailer near you, click on any of the product links above.

When should hydrangeas be planted?

Learning the fundamentals of how to plant hydrangeas can help you save time and money, just like with most other items in your garden. You’ll improve your chances of enjoying big, vibrant hydrangea flowers for years to come by picking the appropriate site, getting the soil just right, and planting correctly.

When should I plant hydrangeas?

The best time to grow hydrangeas is in the fall, followed by early spring. The goal is to provide the shrub lots of time to develop a strong root system before it blooms. Early in the day or late in the day are the ideal times to plant. The day’s cooler hours provide relief from heat exhaustion. Water new plants frequently until they get established.

Locations to plant hydrangeas

The first step is knowing where to grow hydrangea plants. Hydrangeas are frequently grown in beds adjacent to houses or fences. This is so because hydrangeas prefer the mild early sun to the hot afternoon sun. A protected area with sunny mornings and shaded afternoons is the ideal spot to plant hydrangeas. This is frequently found on the north or south side of a house. Avoid planting underneath trees since it could cause competition for nutrients and water. Flowers and leaves can both be destroyed by strong winds.

hydrangea-friendly soil

The soil needs to be rich in organic matter for hydrangeas to thrive. Drainage is important. Although hydrangeas prefer damp soil, they cannot stand standing water. Root rot can be brought on by wet, poorly draining soils. Your hydrangeas could pass away in a matter of weeks. Consider adding a lot of compost to your heavy soil before planting to increase the soil’s quality.

Methods for planting hydrangeas

Simply dig planting holes that are 2 feet wider than the root ball for planting hydrangeas. So that your plant lies level with or just higher than the surrounding soil, match the depth of the hole to the size of the root ball. You can improve water drainage away from the plant’s base by making a small mound.

The best way to grow hydrangeas

Simple propagation methods can multiply a single hydrangea into several more. The optimal time to layer bigleaf and panicle hydrangeas is in the early to mid-summer. You only need to:

  • Close to your hydrangea plant, make a tiny trench.
  • Bend a branch such that the middle of the branch meets the earth in the trench (six to 12 inches of branch should extend past the trench).
  • Where the branch meets the trench soil, make scuff marks on the bark.
  • After the trench is filled, cover it with a paver, brick, or stone.
  • The branch can be transplanted to a different area once it has established its own root system over time.

Hydrangeas with smooth or oakleaf leaves produce new growth from underground stems. Simply separate the baby plant from the main plant by digging it up. After then, it can be moved to a new spot.

Do hydrangeas like shade or the sun?

With the ideal balance of morning sun and afternoon shade, hydrangeas flourish. Even the sun-loving Hydrangea paniculata will thrive in some shade. Some hydrangea cultivars may survive complete shadow, though.

The oakleaf hydrangea, also known as hydrangea quercifolia, is a substantial species of hydrangea that may reach heights of up to eight feet. In a shade garden, this big bush makes a beautiful backdrop. The height will provide excellent midsummer seclusion. Oakleaf hydrangeas are summer bloomers with mostly white blooms, elegant oakleaf-shaped leaves, and lovely peeling bark.

Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris is another choice for full shade. This climbing species, which has lacy, white blossoms in the summer, can reach a height of 50 feet if it is given adequate support. The foliage is a rich shade of green and would look wonderful growing up a tree trunk or covering the face of a building. It would also look lovely covering the roof of a garden shed.

Full shade cultivars require the same upkeep as partial shade. In the deeper shade, it will be especially crucial to keep the plants free of leaf litter and with excellent airflow. Water your plant once a week after it has become established. Keep a watch on the leaves, and if you notice any drooping, especially during the hot summer months, water them right away. The importance of this increases in hotter regions.

These leaves’ unique shape would be a lovely complement to Hosta leaves. The white blossoms would contrast nicely with the lighter hues of your shady blooms and provide some brilliant brightness to your shaded locations.

Shade Varieties

There are a few different hydrangea cultivars that thrive in the shade. Some types can even thrive in zones 3 (which doesn’t warm up until later in the spring), which is one of the coldest growing regions. Let’s examine some of the best shade selections!

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow queen’

The movie “Snow queen” is stunning. The flowers are stunning, as they are with all hydrangeas. These rose blush-colored blossoms appear in the middle of summer. The foliage of this plant is my favorite component. The leaves begin the season in a very deep green, gradually changing to a deep reddish bronze color, and finally finishing in that shade, offering a stunning splash of color to your fall landscape.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

With a height ranging between 12 and 15 feet, this Oakleaf Hydrangea is one among the biggest. In the summer, this plant blooms with incredibly deep cream-colored flowers. A woodland garden would be a truly lovely place for “Alice.” This cultivar would look especially beautiful if it were grown as a bordering hedge.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

‘Annabelle’ enjoys partial shade and has some of the largest flowers in the hydrangea family (12 inches wide!). These enormous blossoms can be supported all season long by the sturdy stalks. This shrub can grow up to five feet tall and five feet broad, so give it plenty of area to expand. These enormous, all-white blossoms bloom for a long time.

In a mass planting, as a specimen shrub, or as a foundation planting, “Annabelle” would look lovely. These bushes should still be included in your cutting garden. Imagine a bunch of flowers that large! Wow!

What sort of soil prefer hydrangeas?

Friable, loam soil and soil with a high organic content are ideal for hydrangea growth. The soil must have a light structure that drains properly and be able to retain rainwater. You won’t need to add any fertilizer to the soil if it is nutrient-rich.

While bigleaf hydrangeas can tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils, doing so will change the color of their blossoms (Hydrangea macrophylla).

How should the ground be prepared before planting hydrangeas?

  • When roots are spread out, they grow more quickly. So that the root system has lots of room to easily expand, make the hole deep and wide enough. So that you may place the dirt at the bottom of the hole, where it will be most beneficial, keep it in a separate pile.
  • Mix dehydrated cow dung, garden compost, or peat moss (up to a 1/3 concentration) into the topsoil pile to help the soil become looser. Make sure the peat moss you purchase is either granular peat or baled sphagnum. You may also mix in 2 or more inches of organic material or our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium evenly with the current soil.

You can get the perfect organic ingredients from your lawn, such grass clippings and crushed leaves. The grass and leaves not only decompose to replenish the soil’s nutrients, but also to assist loosen the soil. These can be collected in the fall in preparation for spring planting.

Common soil amendments:

  • compost
  • sand
  • manure
  • lime
  • bog moss

Most soil types will benefit from the addition of organic elements like our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost. Sand-like soil particles are bound together by organic compounds, improving moisture and nutrient retention. Additionally, they disintegrate clay and silt particles to allow water to permeate and allow roots to grow.

Are hydrangeas water-intensive plants?

The damp soil is ideal for the Magical Garden Hydrangea. Both hydrangeas planted in the ground and those in containers require regular watering. This is particularly crucial during warm weather. Giving the plant a lot of water a few days a week is preferable to giving it a little each day. And when watering, be sure to keep the flowers dry. The optimum times to water on warm days are early in the morning or late at night. The plant is “resting” at this time, making it the optimal time for water absorption. A well-drained soil is also beneficial.