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Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Why everyone loves Hydrangea

Hydrangeas have been long adored for their large, luscious blooms, and stately habit. Today, they remain one of the most popular shrubs for color in the landscape. They come in a range of heights, habits, flowers sizes and colors, and are pretty easy to care for by just following a few simple steps that will enhance their beauty & performance.

Types of Hydrangea

Big Leaf - Hydrangea macrophylla. Also known as "mop heads". Flowers on old wood. Flower buds begins to form in late summer for the following year.

Panicle- Hydrangea paniculata.  Flowers on new wood so no matter how cold it is each year, they will flower reliably. 

Smooth - Hydrangea arborescens. Flowers on new wood so no matter how cold it is each year, they will flower reliably

Mountain - Hydrangea serrata. Flowers on old wood. Flower buds begins to form in late summer for the following year.

Oakleaf - Hydrangea quercifolia. Flowers on old wood. Flower buds begins to form in late summer for the following year.

Climbing - Hydrangea petiolaris. Flowers on old wood. Flower buds begins to form in late summer for the following year.  

Reblooming Hydrangea - Blooms on both old, and new wood so despite freezes, buds still flower on new wood.

How to Grow Hydrangea

Soil. Hydrangea love moist, well drained soil, and it's worth taking the time to perfect the soil for those beautiful blooms.  Soil should be rich in organic matter, and drain well. Avoid planting in sandy soils, or heavy clay.  Amend soil with compost.

Sun - Yes! Hydrangeas love up to 4 hours of sun a day - preferably in the morning. Avoid too much shade, or they won't flower as well. In warmer, southern climates, they prefer to be shaded from the hot afternoon sun.

Feeding.  - A slow release fertilizer like Osmocote is a must in spring.

Hydrangea Color

Only big leaf  (H macrophylla) and mountain (H. serrata) have the pigmentation in them to change color, but it can also depend on the cultivar. Depending on the varieties you have selected, plants can be encouraged (except for white) to change color from pink to blue or red to purple. You might get purple instead of blue, or rosy red instead of pink based on the presence and availability of aluminum in the soil, which is what influences color.

When considering the PH of the soil, and how it effects color, generally speaking, a PH of 5.0 to 5.5 will result in blue flowers, and a PH above 6 may result in pink flowers. Anything in between and you may see both pink and blue flowers on the same plant.

For blue flowers  - Apply sulphur (to lower PH)

For pink flowers -  Apply lime (to raise PH)

This can take a full growing season to work

 

About Pruning

Hydrangeas do not necessarily require regular pruning. They will perform well with just removing spent flowers.

Why doesn't my Hydrangea flower?

Your hydrangea probably flowers on old wood where flower buds begin to form in late summer. Plants won't flower if: 

  • 1) They are pruned in the spring 
  • 2) They are browsed by deer
  • 3) They are damaged by weather - when warm spring temperatures are followed by sudden freeze, flower buds can be damaged
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