Planting & Maintenance
Planting Your Hydrangea:
- Planting your hydrangeas in early spring or in the fall is ideal.
- If you plant them in the summer, they need a lot more water in the beginning to establish the root system.
- When you are planting a hydrangea, remember that the blooms and stems must be protected from strong winds and the hot afternoon sun.
- Avoid trees, don't plant hydrangeas directly under trees. They don't like competing for moisture and nutrients. Aggressive tree roots will crowd them.
- Choose a good garden soil, moist and high in organic matter, to give your hydrangea a strong start. Make sure your plant has good drainage. If the soil is too wet, the roots might rot, and the plant will die.
- The location should be sunny or partly shaded, planting on the eastern side of a building ensures that, in the afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest, your plants are in the shade.
- If the pH of your soil is too high (alkaline), it can be reduced (made more acidic) by the addition of one tablespoon or more of Aluminum Sulfate per plant – this will make your flowers a deeper blue. Coffee grounds and tea bags can be used as a mulch around hydrangeas. It changes the pH of the soil and makes the pink ones turn to blue. To know more about changing hydrangeas color, check the boxes below!
Maintenance (General Hydrangea Care):
- An annual mulch of compost is beneficial. In very cold or exposed locations, mound with soil and mulch the base of the plant with pine needles or leaves.
- Water deeply once a week, and maybe more, if the weather is particularly hot or dry.
- Most varieties do well in full sun to part shade, as long as they are planted in moist, rich soil.
- Hydrangea fertilization needs vary greatly, depending on your intended bloom color. Certain elements of the fertilizer affect the soil pH, which is a major determinant of bloom color in the pink/blue hydrangea varieties.
- Most species require little pruning except the removal of dead flower heads after blooming or in early spring.
- For Hydrangea arborescens ('Annabelle'), prune the previous year's flowering wood to the ground in early spring. For Hydrangea macrophylla (mopeheads and lacecaps) and Hydrangea serrata (Oakleaf Hydrangea), thin out 2 or 3 year old flowering shoots at ground level to promote vigorous new growth. Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea) should be pruned only for aesthetics. For more information about 'pruning', check the box below.
Hydrangeas can live for many years without ever needing to be pruned, but if your shrubs grow out of bounds or lose flowering vigor, then there are some essential pruning guidelines you must follow to ensure bountiful blooms the next year!
Check out our varieties!
There are three types of Hydrangeas:
1. Hydrangeas who form flower buds on new wood (stems developed during the current season). These shrubs should be pruned in early spring before the new growth emerges. You can just cut them back to the ground or, if you experience some flopping of the flowering branches, cut stems back to 2 feet from the ground, this way you will still have old, strong growth to help support the branches.
→ Hydrangea paniculata/ Panicle Hydrangeas or Pee Gee
→ Hydrangea arborescens/ Smooth Hydrangeas ('Annabelle')
2. Hydrangeas who form flower buds on old wood (stems from the previous summer). Prune spent blooms immediately after flowering (midsummer – before August!), or remove only dead, damaged, unsightly wood.
→ Hydrangea macrophylla (Big Leaf, Mophead or Lacecap Hydrangeas)
→ Hydrangea quercifolia /Oakleaf Hydrangeas
3. Hydrangeas that flower on both new and old wood It is recommended to prune them like old growth blooming varieties. Prune these hydrangeas only if they are getting too large for the space or if you want to remove old flowers. The best time to prune them is after they flower in the late summer. If you prune them much beyond late summer, you will risk removing the flower buds that are developing on the current branches.
→ Everlasting Series & Endless Summer Series
Want more blooms for the summertime? Here are a few tips :
- Stop fertilizing in late summer to acclimate the plant for the winter. Fertilizing encourages additional growth instead of allowing the plant to naturally go dormant.
- Do NOT prune your hydrangeas. If you prune in the fall, it leaves the stems exposed to harsh temperatures, which can cause the stem to die all the way back to the ground rather than over-wintering.
- Keep soil moist until the ground is frozen.
- Protect the crown and basal buds with 4-6″ of mulch or leaves.
- Protect from wind – using burlap, snow fence or plant in a protected area.
- In the spring, uncover and prune back dead wood. Once growth begins, fertilize, sit back and enjoy!
- Bring containers inside after the first frost (if you have hydrangeas planted in containers).
- Cut fall-color hydrangeas for arrangements.
Fall is a great time to create dried arrangements, you can use the flowers (who are starting to fade in colours like red, orange and yellow, even green for some varieties) for wreaths or combining them with other dried plants (wheat, grasses, thistles, eucalyptus, pine or other evergreens, cones, willow or dogwood branches even oak or maple leaves, etc.). Enjoy creating! Below there are some arrangements with hydrangea flowers from our nursery. The varieties used are Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pistachio Next Generation', Hydrangea macrophylla 'Masja', Pennisetum 'Moudry', Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus' , Viburnum berries and Rose hips.
Other ideas concerning creating
How to Change Hydrangea Color
Hydrangeas may produce pink, blue, or lavender blooms, depending on where it's planted and how it's fed. Alkaline soils, pH of 6.0 or more, are more likely to produce pink blooms. Acidic soils, pH 4.5 to 5.5, produce blue flowers.
- Pink hydrangeas can be turned blue by applying aluminum sulfate to the soil, to lower the pH.
- Blue hydrangeas turn pink by applying lime to the soil, to raise the pH. If your soil naturally produces very blue or very pink hydrangea flowers, you may need to grow your hydrangeas in containers or raised beds to achieve the desired color. If you do attempt to change the color of your blooms by adding these minerals, dilute them well, and add sparingly. It is very easy to scorch your plants by adding too much. White hydrangeas are not affected by efforts to change bloom color.
Impact of Coffee Grounds & Tea bags
Coffee grounds turn soil more acidic, helping hydrangea blossoms turn blue rather than the typical pink or white. The acidity of the grounds provides the key element, though aluminum sulfate or eggshells also produce the same effect. All hydrangea blooms respond to increased acidity in the soil, though the soil must still be fertile and drain well. Amend the soil with coffee grounds to increase the acidity by digging it into the soil or dump your coffee grounds into your compost bin and add the compost as part of your twice-yearly fertilizing ritual for your hydrangeas. Used tea bags applied to the soil around the plant, makes pink blooms change to blue!