There’s no doubt that the Hydrangea is America’s favorite flowering shrub! Not only is it loved by Americans, but it’s loved all over the world. Growing beautiful Hydrangeas can be tricky for some gardeners because of their gardening zone, but once you read these tips you’ll be on your way to gorgeous Hydrangeas!
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There are many different types of Hydrangeas, and knowing what type you have is the first step in growing this beautiful shrub. There are over 75 different varieties of this shrub, but we are only going to cover the most common Hydrangeas: Hydrangea Macrophylla, Panicled Hydrangea, Smooth Hydrangea, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, and the Climbing Hydrangea. If you already have Hydrangeas on your property and are unsure of the variety, you can at least learn what type and begin caring for your Hydrangea properly.
Water them properly
Hydrangeas are water-loving plants. They are named after water for that very reason: Hydr is a Greek word for water. So make sure your Hydrangeas are kept consistently watered during your growing season; and if your Hydrangeas get full sun, they will need extra water. Set up a routine of once a week watering for your shade loving Hydrangeas, and twice a week for your full-sun Panicle Hydrangeas. If your area is getting consistent rain, you can alter this schedule accordingly.
If you find that your Hydrangeas need more or less water, make adjustments. Even though Hydrangeas love water, they can still suffer from root rot. The goal is moist but not soggy soil. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the plant can help to hold in moisture and cut back on watering needs.
Prune at the right time
Many people are confused as to when they should prune their Hydrangeas. This is a big reason your hydrangeas may not be blooming or are misshapen. To get started with pruning, you need to know what kind of Hydrangea you have before getting out those shears. Different varieties of hydrangeas have different pruning requirements. Now mind you pruning is only needed to manage the plants size or to cut out the three D’s, which are Disease, Damage, or Dead branches. If your Hydrangea has any branches that are one of the three D’s, feel free to prune and discard those at anytime.
Many varieties of Hydrangea bloom on old wood. Old wood is last years new growth, or the years prior. If you prune those branches, you will be pruning off next seasons blooms. Hydrangea varieties that bloom on old wood are Oakleaf, Macrophylla, Climbing, and Mountain, and shouldn’t be pruned.
Some Hydrangeas bloom on new wood, only and if you prune those branches in spring you will cut off that years blooms. Panicle Hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so don’t prune this shrub until winter or early spring before the plant starts putting out new growth.
Now there are also Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood and new wood. If you needed to prune this Hydrangea for size management or shape, It’s best to do it in winter or very early spring like you would a new wood blooming Hydrangea. You will lose the old wood blooms for that year but still get new wood blooms.
To figure out what type of Hydrangea you have, the rule of thumb is to watch it for a year without pruning. You can use twist ties to mark old branches to see if they bloom and use a different color for new branches.
Once you know when and how your Hydrangea blooms, you will be empowered to prune if needed!
Make sure they are in the right light
Most Hydrangea do extremely well in partial shade conditions, meaning morning sun and shade in the afternoon. Panicle Hydrangeas however will need full sun which is 6 plus hours of direct sun a day. If you live in a southern area where the sun is blazing all day long, then a dappled shade spot would be perfect for your non-Panicle Hydrangeas.
You’ll know your Hydrangeas are in too much sun when you see leaf burn. Plant’s can get sunburned so keeping them in the right lighting is key.
Fertilize them at the right time
Hydrangeas do very well without being fertilized. It’s not necessary to fertilize in order to have blooms. However if you are growing Hydrangeas in pots, you will need to add a Hydrangea fertilizer to the soil in early spring just before your plant is waking up. If you want to fertilize your in-ground Hydrangeas, you can do so in early spring as well just before they wake.
Leave them alone
Sometimes, one of the best things we can do for a plant is to just leave it alone. Keep it watered and let it do its thing. The plant will tell you if there’s something wrong, and then you can troubleshoot.