How To Take Care of Hydrangeas?

To care for hydrangeas, provide them with well-drained soil, partial shade, and regular watering. Feed with a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer and protect them from extreme temperatures in winter.

How to Care For Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering plants that add elegance and charm to any landscape or garden. Caring for the hydrangeas is relatively straightforward, and with the correct hydrangeas care, you can ensure beautiful blooms for your garden area.


Hydrangea basically needs partial shade and morning sunlight. Plant them in well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic pH. Keep the soil consistently moist but do not overly saturate.


Deep watering once every seven days suffice. You can prune after blooming to remove dead or damaged wood.


In early spring, apply a slow-release plant food to provide the plant with essential nutrients. Mulching can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.


Those residing in colder regions must take steps toward winter protection. Cover the plants with a thick mulch layer or burlap to safeguard them.


Need more details about caring for a hydrangea plant? Please read below as we delve deeper into the world of hydrangea maintenance and care for you to discover how to nurture these enchanting plants for optimal growth and beauty.


Hydrangea Information & Growing Preferences

Sun Hydrangeas prefer full to partial sun exposure.
Soil They thrive in moist, well-drained soil.
Water Keep the soil consistently moist, not saturated.
Fertilizers Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in spring.
Pruning Prune after blooming to remove dead or damaged wood.
Pest & Diseases Susceptible to common garden pests like Japanese beetles, aphids, four-lined plant bugs, black vine weevils, and spider mites, and diseases like powdery mildew, botrytis blight, and brown or yellow leaf spotting
Winter care Put burlap screening or wrap with burlap


How To Take Care Of Hydrangeas?

Hydrangea varieties are beautiful flowering shrubs that require specific care to thrive and produce stunning blooms. Below we will address a detailed guide to care for hydrangeas.

A. Where to plant hydrangeas: Pot or ground?


Depending on the specific circumstances or preferences, you can plant hydrangeas in pots or directly into the ground both.


If planting hydrangeas in pots, pick a container with good drainage and employ a top-quality potting mix. Potted hydrangeas offer the advantage of moving them around, letting you move them to different locations as needed.


On the contrary, planting them directly in the ground ensures a more stable and natural environment. This option lets the roots spread freely and provides better insulation against temperature fluctuations.


Regardless of the location, consider factors such as desired mobility, available space, and long-term growth potential.


B. Do hydrangeas need full sun – the best place to plant hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas thrive in sheltered locations with sunny mornings and shady afternoons, making the south or north side of the home a suitable spot. However, avoid planting them directly under trees to prevent competition for resources.


While hydrangeas like partial shade, the specific light requirements may vary by variety and species. Generally, they thrive in full sun to partial shade locations, with approximately five to six hours of morning sun followed by dappled shade.


In warmer regions, they benefit from two to three hours of morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.


C. What is the best type of soil for hydrangeas?


The best soil for hydrangeas is well-drained soil with abundant organic material. While they cherish moist soil, they cannot tolerate waterlogging. It can result in root rot.


Adding compost or other organic matter to the soil is a good idea for hydrangeas care. It can elevate the quality and improve drainage.


Hydrangeas thrive in varied soil types but enjoy fertile, humus-rich soil. It is worth noting that soil pH impacts the bloom color for some hydrangea species.


Acidic soil with a pH lower than 6.0 or lower produces blue flowers, whereas alkaline to neutral soil with a pH of 7.0 or higher results in pink blooms.


D. When should I mulch my hydrangeas?


Mulching hydrangeas is crucial to conserve soil moisture, suppressing weed growth, regulate soil temperature, and improve overall plant health. The best time for mulching the hydrangeas is in early spring after the soil has warmed up and thawed.


Apply a mulch layer around the plant’s base before the growing season begins to retain moisture and guard the roots.


It is vital to ensure the soil is adequately moist before mulching and avoid piling the mulch directly against the hydrangeas’ stems to prevent stem rot. Replenish the mulch as needed across the growing season to maintain its benefits.


E. Should you water hydrangeas every day?

Watering hydrangeas daily is usually unnecessary as it can result in overwatering, which can be detrimental to the plants. The watering frequency is crucial for hydrangeas care. It primarily depends on individual plant needs, soil type, and climate.


As a general guideline, hydrangeas cherish consistent watering in the soil, but it does not want to be swamped. Thus, the balance between keeping the soil moist and letting it dry slightly between waterings.


When establishing your newly planted hydrangeas, you must offer regular watering until the roots mature. Water deeply at the plant’s base, ensuring the water reaches the root zone. It allows the roots to grow deeper into the soil.


After the hydrangeas establish, you can alter the watering schedule based on the soil’s moisture levels and weather conditions. Generally, hydrangeas benefit from deep, thorough watering once in seven days, providing adequate water to penetrate the root zone.


It encourages healthy root development and helps the plants endure periods of dryness. But please monitor the moisture levels in the soil and alter the watering schedule accordingly.


Factors like sandy soil, high temperatures, or windy conditions may require more frequent watering, while clay soil or cooler weather may necessitate less often watering. So, alter hydrangeas care accordingly.


To determine when you must water, check the soil’s moisture level by inserting a finger or a moisture meter into the soil. If the top inch or so of the soil feels dry, it is typically a good indication that it is time to water.


But please do not let the soil become completely dry between waterings, as extreme drought stress has an impact on the hydrangea’s health and blooming. Proper watering involves ensuring consistent moisture rather than a specific daily watering routine.


Adjust your watering schedule based on your plant’s needs and the environmental conditions they are experiencing.


F. Fertilizers: What can I put on hydrangeas to make them bloom?


bloom. However, please apply the right type and amount of plant food. However, if your soil is already nutrient-rich, you may not have to fertilize your hydrangeas.


When choosing a fertilizer, opt for a general all-purpose variety with a balanced nutrient ratio, such as 10-10-10 or something that does not have an excess of one type of nutrient. These ratios indicate a percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, respectively.


If you are new at learning how to care for hydrangeas, it is better to choose a slow-release fertilizer and use it twice yearly, once in spring and again in early fall.


Spread the fertilizer widely around the drip line of the branches instead of directly putting it at the plant’s base. Cover the fertilizer lightly with soil to help it integrate into the soil gradually.


Alternatively, you can apply the plant food specifically formulated for flowering shrubs. You must be cautious and pick a fertilizer based on your hydrangea’s needs.


For instance, for bigleaf hydrangeas, several light-feeding applications can help. You can apply plant food in March, May, and June to provide a steady nutrient supply across the growing season.


On the contrary, Panicle and Oakleaf hydrangeas profit from two fertilizer applications in June and April. Smooth hydrangeas need feeding only once in late winter.


As part of the hydrangeas care, it helps to conduct a soil test. It aids in finding the precise nutrient needs of your soil and gives detailed information about the nutrient composition and pH level, allowing you to tailor your fertilization approach accordingly.


With the right amount and type of fertilizer, you can support hydrangea’s healthy growth rate and abundant blooming.

G. How to prune hydrangeas?

Pruning hydrangeas demands consideration for the type of hydrangeas you are growing. While some bloom on old wood, meaning their flowers develop on stems from the previous growing season.


Prune them in summer after blooming, removing up to one-third of the stems, including the weakest shoots, while keeping old productive wood and fresh new stems for future growth.


Other varieties bloom on the new wood, the current year’s new stems. For such species, you must prune in early spring or late winter by cutting the stems back to the ground. Understanding your hydrangea’s blooming habit is vital to pick the apt pruning method and time.


What Pests and Diseases Affect Hydrangeas?


Hydrangeas are susceptible to garden pests like black vine weevil, Japanese beetles, aphids, spider mites, and the four-lined plant bug.


Another pest, the rose chafer, can also damage the hydrangeas by feeding on the leaves and leaving them skeletonized.


While insecticidal soaps or chemical insecticides can help manage pests, you must not apply them during the blood period. Ideally, you must hand-pick the pests and place them in pails of soapy water.


Beyond pests, hydrangeas are also susceptible to diseases like botrytis blight, powdery mildew, and viral spotting that causes brown or yellow leaf spots.


Fungicides can help to manage most of the disease issues, but you remove the infected plants with viral marks and destroy them instantly to prevent further spread.


Taking proactive measures is crucial for hydrangeas care. It can help control pests. Further, promptly addressing the disease concerns helps maintain hydrangea’s overall health and beauty.
Related: How long do Hydrangeas live?


How Do You Prepare Hydrangeas For Winter?


Preparing hydrangeas for winter is imperative for survival and helps promote healthy growth in the following season. Here are some steps to prepare hydrangeas for winter:


1. Mulching: Apply a mulch layer around the plant’s base before the ground freezes. Mulching aids in insulating the roots, guard the plant against extreme temperature fluctuations and helps retain moisture.


You must employ two to four-inch organic mulch layers, such as compost or shredded bark, and spread it evenly around the plant, avoiding direct contact with the stems.


2. Watering: Hydrangeas require adequate moisture going into winter. So water deeply before the ground freezes to ensure the plants are well-hydrated.


But please be cautious and do not overwater, as waterlogged soil can result in root rot. So, keep a check on the moisture levels and alter watering accordingly.


3. Pruning: You must prune hydrangeas as per their blooming habits. So, for varieties blooming on the old wood, prune after they finish blooming in summer.


However, hydrangeas that bloom on new wood must be pruned in early spring or late winter before new growth starts. Remove damaged or dead branches and thin out dense growth to better air circulation.


4. Guard against harsh weather: In areas with severe winters, guard hydrangeas from cold winds and heavy snow.


Install a fabric wrap or burlap around the plant to act as a windbreak and prevent snow from weighing down and breaking branches. Leave adequate space between plants for air circulation and remove the wrap in spring.


5. Covering: In areas with brutally cold temperatures, veil the hydrangeas with a protective layer, such as an overturned bucket or a frost blanket, during particularly harsh winter nights. It ensures extra insulation and guards the plants from freezing temperatures.


By employing the above-listed hydrangeas care instructions, hydrangeas withstand winter and ensure their vitality when spring arrives.