11 Hydrangea Growing Tips

Once you know a few growing tips, you’ll enjoy these easy-to-grow beauties even more.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of HGTV Home Plant Collection

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins. Butler's Pantry designed by Kellie Griffin Interiors, Inc.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

They Can Take the Sun

You don’t need heavy shade to grow hydrangeas. In the South, most will thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade. The further north you live, the more sun these plants can take.

Avoid Trees

Don’t plant hydrangeas directly under trees. They don’t like competing for moisture and nutrients, and aggressive tree roots will crowd them.

Buy in Bloom

Buy a hydrangea (like this 'Peppermint Swirl') in bloom, if possible, so you can be sure you’re getting the variety you want. Sometimes plants are mislabeled.

Transplanting Hydrangea

The best time to transplant a hydrangea is when it’s dormant in early spring or late fall, after most of the leaves have dropped. Don’t wait until it’s so cold that the ground freezes.

Deadhead Your Blooms

Deadhead your hydrangeas to encourage more blooms. (Deadheading refers to cutting off dead or faded blooms.) But unless your plants have outgrown their location, it’s not necessary to prune at all, except to remove dead stems and branches.

Cut Flower Arrangements

If your hydrangea blooms wilt soon after you cut them, take a bucket of cool water along the next time you go into your garden. Drop the stems into the water right after you cut them. Back in the house, boil some water and let it cool for about a minute. Re-cut the hydrangea stems to the length you want, and pop them into the hot water for 30 seconds. Now put the stems in room temperature water and arrange as desired.

Watering Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are thirsty plants and like deep waterings, especially in hot, dry weather. But don’t let them stand in puddles. Amend your soil with plenty of organic matter so it drains easily.

Leaves, But no Blooms?

Lots of leaves, but no blooms? You probably over-fertilized your hydrangeas. Once in early spring and again in late summer/very early fall is enough (Northerners can usually fertilize just once, early in the growing season.) Use a time-release fertilizer or a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10.

Great Plant Combos

Hydrangeas make a beautiful backdrop. Combine them with peonies, sweet potato vines, Russian sage, begonias, viburnums, catmint, butterfly bushes, impatiens, hostas and any other flowers or foliage plants that like the same growing conditions. If necessary, keep your hydrangeas in shade or part shade, behind plants that need more sun.

Great Company

Try growing some evergreen shrubs and conifers near your hydrangeas. They’ll help provide winter interest when the plants drop their leaves.

Change Their Color

L.A. Dreamin' Hydrangea have pink and blue blooms on the same bush. But if you're long to change the color of your hydrangea, try this simple trick.