How To Plant Hydrangeas In Florida

For Easter, we bought a bunch of hydrangeas. What should I do when I plant something in my landscape?

The best place for hydrangeas in the landscaping can help reduce the amount of maintenance required. The optimal site is one with morning sun and afternoon shade, or all-day filtered sun. Find an area that is naturally moist as well, if at all possible.

Increase the amount of organic matter in sandy soils to keep them moist. Hydrangeas prefer a steady damp but not wet environment. Water as soon as the soil’s surface seems dry to the touch, which may be every day as the plants get established. Keep a 2- to 3-inch mulch layer in place beginning a short distance from the stems. During the warmer months, feed your landscape according to the label’s instructions. Keep a fungicide on hand as well to use as necessary. Leaf spotting and powdery mildew are common problems for hydrangeas.

My okra plants are growing well, however the new leaves have some black spots that are moving slowly. Are those insects?

Aphids, which have a pear-like appearance and are about the size of a pinhead, are fond of eating okra. They are misbehaving by sucking the fluids from the fresh stems and leaves. Others use insecticidal soap, while some gardeners choose to wash them off. To be effective, soap sprays must hit the insects. It is recommended to use soap sprays available at garden centers as homemade remedies might occasionally harm plants. Traditional insecticides with labels for okra aphid control can also be found at your local garden center.

Q: I see that each month has the moon sign planting dates specified. Do they actually aid in crop growth?

A lot of traditional farmers and gardeners rely on planting dates based on the moon’s transit through each astrological sign. These days, it is advised for the best plantings to use some indications since they are more productive than others. It might be more accurate to state that many people believe using moon sign planting dates promotes healthy plant growth. Try these dates out on your upcoming garden or landscaping job to see if anything changes.

My plants need fertilizing, but there are so many options available. Is one type of fertilizer superior to another?

A: Fertilizers for use in residential landscaping can be found on the shelves of garden centers. You can pick from items that work quickly in the water to granules that release food gradually over months, feeding the plants. Your decision may be influenced by how frequently you want to fertilize your plants.

The quick-acting products might be acceptable if you prefer to be in charge and fertilize frequently. However, a steady release that offers two or more months of feeding could be appropriate given that many gardeners also have other jobs to complete. The slower-releasing products are more economical and cost-effective for the environment. Only if you have plants with particular requirements, like azaleas, blueberries, or certain fruit trees, would you choose something other than a general landscape fertilizer.

We have a trash can full of ashes from the fireplace. Can we use them as fertilizer in our gardens?

A: Use caution when sprinkling wood ashes across the garden and landscape. Wood ashes can be useful since they have a lot of phosphorus, potassium, and a few trace elements but nearly no nitrogen. One issue is that wood ashes react quickly to become alkaline.

Wood ashes could change the soil’s pH, making their use harmful for plants that like acidic environments, such as azaleas and blueberries. If you want to keep the flowers on hydrangeas blue, you wouldn’t use them surrounding them. They should only be utilized if your soil is acidic, and even then, a half-inch dispersion over mulch and soil is sufficient. If necessary, add a few cups to each compost pile to balance pH and add nutrients.

A: The mulch that was just applied to our landscape was placed around the citrus trees. These, it seems to me, dislike mulch. Is this a fact?

A: You can put mulch up to about a foot or two away from citrus tree trunks, but not much closer. Actually, all tree, shrub, and perennial stems and trunks should be kept several inches away from mulch. Keeping these areas damp could result in rot or other pest issues. Keep mulch layers between two and three inches thick as well. Overmulching can hinder root growth by reducing water and air penetration into the soil. It’s ideal to keep vegetable gardens’ mulch layers to two inches and flower beds’ layers to one inch. Only a light topping may be required if the soil surface is covered by a thick layer of mulch.

Are hydrangeas able to thrive in Florida?

What is your favorite plant? is usually one of the first inquiries after people learn what I do for a livelihood. That question can be challenging to answer because I’m a bit of a plant nerd! But I always come back to the same response: “Hydrangea. My fellow gardeners and I appreciate hydrangeas for a variety of factors. A hydrangea in full, billowy bloom is without a doubt one of the few plants that inspire more happy memories of summers past or lead to more impulsive purchases at nurseries. Few specimen bushes offer more floral punch while necessitating less maintenance from the grower. My own passion for hydrangeas began with my first attempt at propagation, when a softwood cutting of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’—taken with the assistance of someone much more experienced than I—seemed to magically sprout roots in a makeshift greenhouse made of a cypress box with a rusty, crusty sliding glass door. The hydrangeas got me. Despite having all of these positive qualities to its name, the genus Hydrangea is nevertheless neglected and underestimated in contemporary settings. Let’s discuss some of the best Hydrangea species and cultivars to search for at the nursery as well as the two main reasons why gardeners struggle and become frustrated with hydrangeas in the landscape.

First off, hydrangeas are known for using a lot of water. Hydrangeas are sensitive to water, as their name might imply (the Greek word for water is “hydor”). They merely show signs of drought more quickly than most other plants, which does not necessarily suggest that they need more or less water than other plants. This characteristic makes hydrangea an especially valuable indicator plant in the landscape. In general, hydrangeas wilt in the afternoon heat; this is completely normal. This is especially true for those that were planted in too much sun. However, the gardener will know that irrigation is necessary if the plants are still wilting the next morning. The plants could start to deteriorate if you don’t provide watering quickly after they inform you they need it. Consider this feature as an early warning system rather than a downside. What other plant shows such concern for us gardeners?

The second most common cause of hydrandea failure is poor site selection. In Florida, growing hydrangeas in full sun produces less than stellar results. All hydrangea species thrive best when planted in areas that receive at least some afternoon shade, if not filtered shade all day long. The negative effects of afternoon sun exposure include increased wilting due to heat stress, higher irrigation needs, and “bleached flower colour.” Never forget that growing the proper plant in the incorrect location is less frustrating than other situations!

Now that you’ve learned how to grow hydrangeas successfully, it’s time to choose the right plant for your yard! For the gardener’s consideration in Northwest Florida, three main species—H. macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea), H. quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea), and H. paniculata—perform notably better here than the rest of their relatives (Panicle Hydrangea).

When in bloom, H. macrophylla, the traditional hydrangea that everyone’s grandmother cultivated, stands out as one of the most distinctive plants in the shaded Southern landscape. H. macrophylla is an incredibly low maintenance plant, requiring only occasional irrigation and seldom fertilizer; H. macrophylla even tolerates salt spray and may be grown on the Gulf Coast! It has enormous “mopheads of inflorescences in stunning colours of blue (or pink, depending on soil pH). The majority of inquiries I get about H. macrophylla concern plants that aren’t flowering because they were pruned at the wrong time of year. Pruning once-blooming traditional cultivars like “Nikko Blue” as soon as flowering is ended in the late summer will produce the finest flowering returns. The wood from the previous season is where these plants establish their flower buds; pruning older varieties in the fall or winter may invigorate the plant, but it will stop it from blooming the next year. Fortunately, improvements in hydrangea breeding over the past 20 years have offered gardeners the option of planting remontant cultivars that bloom on wood from the current season. Remontant cultivars like “Endless Summer,” “Penny Mac,” “Bloomstruck,” and “All Season Beauty,” which are frequently sold, offer a similar early summer flower display to the traditional varieties but continue to bloom intermittently for the remainder of the summer. Even better, they can be cut back at any time without affecting the bloom display for the following season!

The natural Oakleaf Hydrangea is the next option for those seeking to diversify their hydrangea collection (H. quercifolia). Native to Florida, the oakleaf hydrangea grows untamed around the northern end of the Apalachicola River in steep, shaded ravines. The Oakleaf would be worthwhile to plant even if it never bloomed since it has enormous, oak-shaped leaves that may grow up to a foot long and give Floridians some of the best fall foliage color. The flowers, like with all hydrangea species, are the major attraction. This species has 8–10 white flowers in panicles that are carried gracefully above the rough-textured leaves. In addition to these qualities, Oakleaf Hydrangeas are quite simple to cultivate, reaching heights of up to 10′ and requiring only proper irrigation and some shade during the heat of the day from the gardener. Look for the cultivars “Alice,” “Semmes Beauty,” and “Snowflake,” which are the author’s favorites. These H. quercifolia cultivars and selections all do exceptionally well in Northwest Florida.

Last but not least, H. paniculata, the newest hydrangea species introduced to Florida gardens, has made tremendous strides in the landscape business during the past ten years. H. paniculata, which is primarily grown as the cultivar “Limelight,” solves some of the shortcomings of the two aforementioned species because it can withstand full sun and requires considerably less water, perhaps making it a more sustainable plant for many situations. Similar to the remontant H. macrophylla varieties, this plant blooms on new wood and even seems to relish a harsh pruning each winter; plants that have undergone this pruning appear to be more vigorous the following season and produce larger greenish-white flower panicles than those that have not. H. paniculata, in particular “Limelight,” is a valuable addition to any landscape, despite the fact that it is a relative newcomer.

You can see that there is a hydrangea for every yard, and no authentically Southern landscape is complete without a few of them. This summer, when browsing your neighborhood garden center, check for the options and species described above, plant them correctly, and then take pleasure in the succeeding yearly flower display for many years to come! Who knows, you might develop a love for hydrangeas as I did!

What is the ideal location to plant hydrangeas?

Plant hydrangeas close to a water source in an area with lots of light. Choose a location in the South where there is morning sun and afternoon shade. Hydrangeas can tolerate full-day sun in the north.

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.

In Florida, how much sunlight should hydrangeas receive?

For a month or longer after being given, hydrangea plants seem beautiful before gradually losing their color. Bright pinks and sky blues frequently turn green and ultimately fade to a filthy white. Remove the old flower clusters from your plants before they start to look too ugly, and then find them a permanent home.

You can preserve this particular plant in a container and allow it to bloom again in the spring. To give the hydrangea room for new roots, it is recommended to give it a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger. To encourage growth, place the plant on a patio, balcony, or alongside a walkway.

The majority of gardeners prefer to locate an in-ground planting location in the landscape. The optimum location has afternoon shade and morning sun. In order to keep sandy soils moist, add a lot of organic matter to the mixture.

For both container-grown and in-ground plantings, have the soil analyzed right before you plant. Blue and acidic soil are required for hydrangeas in the color pink. Use these additional pointers to guarantee healthy growth now:

  • Feed in-ground seedlings in March, June, and September, and container plantings every month from March through November. Alternately, use a slow-release fertilizer and follow the directions on the label.
  • Water the soil as needed to keep it moist.
  • Keep a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the root system.
  • After flowering, immediately begin any necessary trimming.
  • Fungicides can be used as needed to control leaf spots and powdery mildew.

Although they can be a little difficult to grow, hydrangeas provide beautiful, long-lasting blossoms. Your garden center is getting a lot of new types, and many of them flower for months.