Hydrangea: How to Plant, Grow and Care for Hydrangeas

Know everything about growing and caring hydrangeas including where to plant, soil, watering, fertilization and pruning.

Hydrangeas are very easy to grow , even in pots. These wonderful hardy shrubs are an excellent choice in a garden for lots of colour with good showing ability. They also make an excellent cut flower, fresh or dried.

Hydrangeas Blooms Planted in Ground
Hydrangea Flowers

How to Change Hydrangea color |  Green Hydrangea | How to Propagate Hydrangea from cuttings

Hydrangeas grow to various sizes depending on their variety. A dwarf variety Hydrangea macrophylla "Blauer Zwerg" only grow to around 1 m high, whereas Hydrangea macrophylla "Pia Mina" has pink flowers and grows to 60cm tall . Hydrangea macrophylla "Ayesha" grow to 1.5 - 2m high.

How To Care For Hydrangeas

The Soil And Position

The soil is of important to hydrangeas because its acidity determines the colour of the flowers. If the soil is acidic with a pH of around 4.5 to 5.0, the flowers will be light blue. As most garden soils are much less acidic so the flowers will be pink. It is possible to change the colour of flowers simply by changing the acidity of the soil. The white cultivars, however, do not change colour even if you change the soil pH. Find a guide on how to monitor the colour of hydrangeas.
  1. Choose a location of around about 1.5m x 1.5m where your hydrangea can grow to its full size without pruning.
  2. Planting in a Pot: I did not have such a large spot in my garden so I planted a small semi-hardwood cutting from a hydrangea plant, in a pot in early summer (Growing hydrangeas from cuttings).
  3. The soil should not be heavy or clay, if so add lot of compost or decayed leaves or pine bark to ensure good drainage.
  4. Hydrangeas are best in a semi shaded position or shaded during the afternoon, although there are hardy varieties that will tolerate full sun. Most of the varieties should be protected from afternoon sun and hot air.
  5. If you plant from a small plant from nursery, plant it at the same depth as was planted in the pot. It is better to choose your hydrangea when it is in bloom so that you know its colour.
  6. As my Hydrangeas remain in shade for most of the time, the flowers look good with bright colours all summer and change texture and colour in the fall.
Potted Blue Hydrangea
Potted Blue Hydrangea

Watering Tips

  1. Hydrangeas need regular watering, particularly in late spring to summer. Do not let them dry out, otherwise they will wilt. If they are growing in the ground, give them a deep soaking twice a week. 
  2. Since I planted them in pots, they needed daily watering and sometimes 2 times in summer. I kept a saucer under the pot, added some water crystals in the soil and put a thick layer of mulch to prevent the fibrous roots from drying.
  3. If the soil is clay or not draining well, do not over water to avoid root rot. 
  4. Some hydrangeas like Oak leaf are sensitive to "wet feet", so do not put the saucer otherwise the roots may rot.

Fertilizer For Hydrangeas

  1. Give hydrangeas all purpose fertilizer at the start of summer. Spread the fertilizer around the drip line of the branches leaving at least 12 inches from the trunk.
  2. A slow release balanced fertilizer twice a year can also be used. 
  3. You can also use cow manure and compost instead of chemical fertilizers. 
  4. Do not fertilize if the plant looks sick or wilted or stressed due to water deficiency. Always water the plant before and after fertilization.
Potted Pink Hydrangea
Potted Pink Hydrangea

Pruning Hydrangeas

  1. Prune the hydrangeas after the flowers have finished.
  2. Do not cut the stems that have not flowered as these will flower the following season. Prune other stems, cut back only the green, current season's growth to two leaf buds.

Video of Growing Hydrangea from cuttings

how to grow hydrangeas from cuttings
how to divide hydrangeas