With their glossy, dark green leaves and eye-catching, spherical flower heads, potted mophead hydrangeas are a popular houseplant gift option in the spring and a lovely substitute for cut flowers. Mophead hydrangeas, whose botanical name is Hydrangea macrophylla and which are also sometimes referred to as hortensias, can be grown as indoor plants in the spring for a while before being brought outside as the weather warms. Here’s how to care for a potted hydrangea if you’ve been gifted one.
Can I grow hydrangeas in pots outside?
“For Mother’s Day, my daughter handed me a lovely hydrangea. It has done so wonderfully that I’m curious if I should plant it outside or keep it within as a houseplant.”
Hydrangeas with foil encircling the pot, whether they were a gift or something you bought yourself, frequently differ from those bought at a nursery. The foil-wrapped hydrangea is often grown for a single, grand performance. The plant has been specifically fed to produce a lot of huge blooms quickly, frequently at the price of the plant’s long-term health.
The hydrangeas selected for this project are exclusively grown in greenhouses and might not be winter hardy where they are purchased.
If your locale isn’t warm enough to cultivate hydrangeas outdoors, you might wonder if you can grow them indoors as a houseplant.
A. There are a variety of reasons why growing hydrangeas inside in a home environment is not particularly successful. When hydrangeas may experience a period of dormancy brought on by chilly weather, they thrive. Hydrangeas rarely blossom indoors, attract insects, and lose their leaves unless they are in a greenhouse. They frequently dry out too rapidly and wilt, which makes them weaker.
However, some gift/florist-type hydrangeas may be grown extremely well in the landscape, as you can see from the images below.
Although growing hydrangeas indoors is not the optimal answer, it is conceivable if one lives in an apartment or in an area where they cannot survive:
1) Put the hydrangea in the coolest part of your house; ideally, an unheated room.
2) Position it close to a window so that it receives the most light possible.
The third and most crucial tip is to not overwater the plant by letting it sit in water or by watering it too frequently. It’s preferable to keep it dry during the winter, but it shouldn’t ever get too dry that it wilts.
Whenever possible, it is ideal to plant the potted hydrangea outside. It should only be planted outside in the early to mid-summer because it needs time to get used to the weather before winter.
In conclusion, unless it may be planted in the garden, foil-wrapped hydrangeas are best employed as a temporary plant in a person’s home.
When do hydrangeas bloom?
The type, cultivar, planting zone, and hydrangea blooming season all affect when they bloom. The majority of hydrangeas with new growth form buds in the early summer in preparation for blooming the next spring, summer, and early fall. Hydrangeas may stop flowering in the heat of the summer in hot locations, but they will blossom again in the fall.
How do you cut back hydrangeas?
Hydrangea plants don’t require pruning if they are allowed plenty of room to develop in the garden. Only the periodic clearance of dead wood is necessary.
Do you need to deadhead hydrangeas?
Your hydrangeas will continue to bloom into the fall if you deadhead them. Hydrangeas make wonderful cut flowers, so there’s no need to wait until the flower wilts. Leave the early fall blossoms alone so they can fade naturally. In the days leading up to your freeze date, you don’t want to promote new growth.
How do you control hydrangea color?
The distinction of hydrangeas is that you can modify their color. But keep in mind that not all hydrangea varieties can change their color. H. macrophylla, a species of bigleaf hydrangea, responds to changes in soil pH. Hydrangeas can absorb aluminum thanks to a low soil pH, which gives the blossoms a lovely blue hue. Reduce the pH of your soil by mixing in sulfur or peat moss to enhance the number of blue hydrangea flowers. Throughout the growth season, you can keep amending your soil with extra aluminum sulfate. When you add ground limestone to boost the pH, pink and red blooms shine.
You may precisely modify your hydrangea color using a soil pH test. To avoid the plant from being harmed, keep the pH level below 7.5. In the fall, all hydrangeas will naturally fade regardless of the modifications you’ve made. Don’t worry, the plant will display vibrant, new blossoms once more in the spring.
Can hydrangeas grow in shade?
Although they won’t blossom in complete shade, hydrangeas prefer dappled or infrequent shade. How much sun do hydrangeas need is more important to consider than whether they love the sun or the shade. Your hydrangeas require more sunlight the further north in your garden you are. A general guideline is six hours of sunlight each day. However, southern hydrangeas can thrive with just three hours of sunlight per day.
Can hydrangeas grow in full sun?
While hydrangeas prefer morning sun, they struggle in the hot, afternoon sun. For these gorgeous creatures, partial shade in the later hours of the day is optimal.
Can you grow hydrangeas in pots?
Even if you don’t have enough room in your garden to cultivate hydrangeas, you can still enjoy these lovely blossoms by learning how to grow hydrangea in a pot. As long as you follow the fundamentals of caring for hydrangeas, the procedure is rather straightforward. Select a pot with at least an 18-inch diameter to accommodate the mature size of the particular hydrangea you are growing. In order to maintain the constant moisture level that hydrangeas demand, look for non-porous containers. Excess water will be able to adequately drain thanks to drainage holes. Consider growing dwarf hydrangeas like Buttons ‘n Bows, Mini Penny, and Little Lime.
How do you keep hydrangeas from wilting?
Morning irrigation on a regular basis can assist stop withering. Some hydrangea cultivars simply can’t stand the heat. No matter how much water you give them, they will begin to wilt in the afternoon heat. Mulch applied in layers can help soil retain moisture and stay cool. You shouldn’t be concerned if your hydrangeas bloom again once the day cools. A little midday wilting is preferable to overwatering and drowning your hydrangeas.
Where to plant hydrangeas:
- A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. They’ll take more sun if you reside further north (possibly full sun all day).
- Think about the mature size and give it lots of room to expand.
- Pick a location with great drainage. If necessary, add compost to the soil.
- Plants won’t thrive if they are planted too close to a tree because of root competition and a lack of sunshine.
- Planting should not be done in open locations where strong winds could snap stems.
How to plant hydrangeas:
- By amending your soil with up to 15% organic matter and an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer, you may give your plant a good start (use half of what is recommended).
- Plant a little higher than you did while you were in the nursery container.
- In order to give the roots plenty of freedom to expand, the planting hole should be two to three times broader than the root ball.
- Before planting, gently untie the roots from their pots.
- Add the modified dirt back in and thoroughly water it.
- Planting in groups requires a minimum distance of 3 feet (more, if planting larger varieties).
Planting hydrangeas in pots:
- Put potting soil in a bag rather than garden dirt.
- Slow-release fertilizer should be added.
- For watering, leave 1 to 2 inches between the soil’s top and the pot’s rim.
- Make sure the pot includes space for the plant to grow and drainage holes.
Are hydrangeas preferable indoors or outdoors?
Although the plant cannot withstand severe frost, it is recommended to leave it outside for as long as possible. The plant can stay outside for a few more weeks if you cover it or temporarily move it inside to protect it from light frost.
Does hydrangea regrowth occur annually?
Hydrangeas will indeed reappear each year if they do not perish during the winter. Though not all gift hydrangeas are bred to grow especially winter-hardy. Thus, hydraneas occasionally do not endure the winter. However, most hydrangeas will reappear each year.
Do hydrangeas thrive in containers?
Selecting the appropriate-sized planter for your hydrangea is the first step in planting. Because their roots are vigorous and quickly fill smaller containers, hydrangeas do not grow well in smaller containers. Additionally, smaller containers dry out far too quickly for hydrangeas. Generally speaking, we advise purchasing a medium to big planter that is at least 2 feet wide.
Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the planter once you’ve chosen it. It is necessary for hydrangeas to be grown in pots because they will decay if the soil lacks adequate drainage. To aid in drainage, we also like to add a layer of rocks at the bottom. The most important stage for healthy plants is proper drainage.
You must then purchase soil made especially for planters. In containers, topsoil can occasionally fail to drain properly. Compost can be applied to the soil to provide additional nutrients.
Plant the hydrangea at the same depth in the soil as it was in the pot it was previously growing in when putting it in the pot. To water the planter without the water washing out the top, leave at least 2 inches between the top of the soil and the top of the planter. To assist the plant stay firmly in the pot, gently press down on the dirt around it to remove any air pockets.
Are hydrangeas winter-hardy?
Here is professional guidance on how to put hydrangeas to bed for the winter season from guest bloggers Megan Nichols and Jessie Jacobson of Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka, Minnesota. (They may have more hydrangea trees and shrubs in their zip code than almost anywhere else in the United States, so they are aware!)
The temperature has dropped, and autumnal symbols can be seen everywhere. The garden needs to be put to bed soon. Hydrangeas reward us with large, stunning, and prodigious blooms all season long. You may say that they are givers. It’s time to return the favor now. It’s time to tuck the hydrangeas in with kisses and wishes for sweaty dreams.
Here in Minnesota, our moods can fluctuate as drastically as the unpredictably harsh winter weather extremes, snowfall, and freeze/thaw cycles. Despite the fact that many hydrangeas are regarded as hardy, all of this can confuse them. To survive the winter and come back bigger and better the next year, they require some care. Although hydrangeas cultivated in warmer areas don’t need as much post-season primping as those grown in our zone, there isn’t a single thing that wouldn’t appreciate a little tender loving care right now.
Utilize these suggestions to get the most out of your hydrangeas so that you can be the one to present at this time next season!
(Is pruning in order? No and yes. Here is our recommendation for which hydrangeas should be pruned right away and which should wait until spring.)
Don’t Stop Watering
Make a commitment! I shall water my hydrangeas till the earth freezes solid, you declare while raising your right hand. really good Hydrangeas are thirsty plants by nature, so it’s essential to give them regular, deep watering. We don’t need to get all linguistically nerdy right now, but their name literally means “hydration.” Winter’s cool, dry winds completely drain the moisture from the vegetation, and hydrangeas don’t use lip balm. It need not be heated in order to be dry!
If a freeze is not a concern where you live, water deeply but sparingly during the winter depending on how much rain you get.
This is how: Making a small hole in the side of a 5-gallon bucket, filling it with water, and placing it at the base of the plant while it slowly drips out of the bucket is one method. Another option is to lay your hose at the base of the plant for about an hour with the water turned on to a gentle drip.
Give Them One Last Hearty Meal
Composting your hydrangea beds in the fall will give them a boost for the upcoming growing season. Everyone feels better after a full night’s sleep and a filling breakfast. This also applies to hydrangeas. After a lengthy winter’s hibernation, they will be ravenous for some nice compost. Compost can decompose during the winter if it is used now, making nutrients easily accessible in spring. A few inches of compost is advisable even in regions without a deep cold. Only compost is being discussed here! Don’t give your hydrangeas fertilizers that are high in nitrogen because this can encourage them to produce new foliage growth.
This is how: Before laying down mulch in colder climates, top dress the area with compost, well-aged manure, or other organic material after the ground has frozen. This organic fertilizer, which is rich in nutrients, will decompose over the winter, making nutrients available to the plant in the spring. Apply compost in the late fall or early winter in zones that are warmer.
Mulching helps keep moisture in and weeds out in warmer climates while shielding the crown and roots of your hydrangeas from harsh winter temperatures in colder climates. Snow serves as a natural insulator if everything goes as it should. Plants suffer during strange winters with little snowfall and extreme temperature changes. Apply a thick layer of mulch around the plant’s base to offer hydrangeas the best chance of flourishing. While decorative mulch is useful, straw, marsh hay, or dead leaves are suggested instead.
This is how: Apply a 6–8 layer of mulch once the ground has frozen (or late fall or early winter in zones with milder winters). This shields plants from the heave-ho of springtime freeze/thaw cycles, which can yank them out of the ground. Inviting mice to make this their snug winter home, causing rotting and illness, or tricking the plant into believing it’s time to bud, are all consequences of mulching too early. Be patient; you don’t have to do things early simply because your neighbors are.
Keep Them Cozy
The amount of winter cold determines whether or not hydrangeas require protection. Winter protection is not required in zone 7 if the air temperature stays above zero degrees. Wrap or totally cover barely hardy hydrangeas in chilly areas. This is crucial for plants that bloom on old wood, such hydrangeas with mop heads and large leaves (Hydrangea macrophylla). The most recent types of mop head/big leaf hydrangeas, however, bloom on both fresh and old wood, so it’s important to keep that in mind. In their favor and ours! Hardier hydrangea varieties like the paniculata and arborescens don’t often require additional winter care, although really low temperatures might cause its limbs to die back. Consider covering if a colder than usual winter is forecast.
This is how: Wrap plants loosely in a few layers of burlap, making sure to tie it off with strong twine. Making a mulch mountain and covering the majority of the plant is an additional choice. Smaller, newly planted specimens respond well to this technique.
There’s Still Time To Plant!
The first three varieties of hydrangeas can be grown here in Zone 4; oak leaf hydrangeas can also be grown in warmer climates (zones 5 to 9). The optimal time to plant shrubs is in the fall. Just make sure to do all of the aforementioned things, including watering and mulching.
Here are some of our favorites that you can plant now for stunning blooms the following spring.
These late blooming hydrangeas, sometimes known as PeeGee hydrangeas (summer into early fall). They are covered in elongated, conical flower heads that emerge white or green and blush into pinks and peaches as the season goes on.