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Hydrangea

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Botanical name: Hydrangea

Plant type: Shrub

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Part Sun, Shade

Soil type: Any

Soil pH: Acidic
, Slightly Acidic to Neutral, Neutral
, Neutral to Slightly Alkaline

Flower color: Red, Pink, Blue, Purple, White

Bloom time: Summer, Fall

With immense billowy blossoms, hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Colors also beguile with clear blues, vibrant pinks, frosty whites, lavender, and rose—sometimes all blooming on the same plant!

The colors of some H. macrophylla  flowers are affected by the relative availability of aluminum ions in the soil. Acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5 produce blue flowers; soils with a pH greater than 5.5 product pink flowers. White flowers are not affected by pH.

Unrivaled in the shrub world, these elegant ladies are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce flowers in mid-summer through fall (when little else may be in bloom). Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

Planting

  • Most hydrangeas thrive in rich, porous, somewhat moist soils. Add compost to enrich poor soil.
  • They prefer full sun in the morning, with some afternoon shade; however, many will grow and bloom in partial shade. This is especially true for the bigleaf hydrangeas (see Recommended Varieties below).
  •  Plant in spring or fall.
  • Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide.
  • Set the plant in the hole and fill it half full with soil. Water. After water is drained, fill the rest of the hole with soil.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Space multiple hydrangeas about 3 to 10 feet apart.

Care

For the first year or two after planting and during any drought, be sure hydrangeas get plenty of water. Leaves will wilt if the soil is too dry.

PRUNING!

  • When growing H. macrophylla varieties in Zones 4 and 5, don't prune unless absolutely necessary, and then do so immediately AFTER blooming. Otherwise, remove only dead stems in the spring.

If you need to prune an older hydrangea, it depends on which variety you have.

  • The common Bigleaf hydrangea should be pruned AFTER flowers fade (late spring/early summer). If you prune before bloom, you may not have blossoms the following spring.
  • Oakleaf, panicle, and smooth hydrangeas blossom on the current seasons' wood so they should be pruned BEFORE bloom when plant is dormant, i.e. late winter or early spring.

In the fall, cover plants to a depth of at least 18 inches with bark mulch, leaves, pine needles, or straw. If at all possible, cover the entire plant, tip included, by making cages out of snow fencing or chicken wire, and loosely filling the cages with leaves. (Do not use maple leaves.)

Pests

Click links for common pest pages:

Gray mold

Slugs

Powdery mildew

Rust

Ringspot virus

Leaf spots

Harvest/Storage

Try drying hydrangea flowers to create a wreath or other decorations around the house:

  • Harvest the heads when the flowers have matured and developed a papery consistency.
  • Remove leaves from stems, and hang upside down in a warm, dry, dark, airy room.
  • When completely dry (usually a couple of weeks), store in a dry location out of direct sunlight.
  • To enhance flower color, spritz dry flowers with diluted Rit dye.

Recommended Varieties

There are two main groups of hydrangeas.

Group 1: Plants that bloom on new growth (this year's stems)

These hydrangeas, which form their buds in early summer on new growth, will flower reliability each year, requiring no special care.

  • Panicle hydrangeas ( H. paniculata) are hardy to Zone 3 and boast fat, cone-shaped flower heads. They are a good choice for a beginner. The most common cultivar is 'Grandiflora', or P.G. (PeeGee) after its initials, a big old-fashioned floppy shrub that is 10 to 15 feet tall.
  • Smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens) or "snowballs" are excellent for cold climates, flowering reliability in Zone 3. The flowers look like oversized white-flowered pop-poms. Look for cultivars 'Grandiflora' and 'Annabelle' which produce large blooms in late summer.

Group 2: Plants that bloom on old growth (last year's stems)

If you live in Zone 8 or warmer, choose plants from this group.

  • Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia) exhibit incredible bud hardiness and thrive in Zone 5. This graceful plant is noted for its spectacular fall colors that range from red to purplish burgundy. The flower heads turn a rich brown that lasts all winter. Try 'Snow Queen', 'Snow Flake', and 'Alice.'
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) are the most common species and come in two flower shapes: Mopheads (or Hortensias) which are hardy to Zone 6 and bear large, ball-shaped flowers and lacecaps which are suitable for Zones 5 to 9 and form airy, elegant, flat-topped clusters of flowers. We love 'All Summer Beauty' (Hortensia) which has profuse, dark blue flowers, pinker on soil near neutral. 'Nikko Blue' (Hortensia) is vigorous, with large, rounded blue flowers. 'Blue Wave' (Lacecap) produces rich blue to mauve or lilac-blue to pink flowers.
  • Climbing hydrangeas are just magnificent, lighting up the trunk of a tall tree. This vine blooms from late June to early July, exhibiting flat, lace, creamy-white flowers against glossy leaves.

Wit & Wisdom

It is possible to change the flowers' colors but not instantly. Color correction takes weeks, even months. It is easier to change blue flowers to pink than pink to blue. Wait until the plant is at least 2 years old to give it time to recover fro the shock of its original planting.

  • Start with the Hydrangea macrophylla variety. Have your soil pH tested.
  • To get blue flowers, you need to lower the pH, which you can do by adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil.  To get pink to light red flowers, add ground limestone only around the plant; a pH above 7.5 will result in poor growth.

Picture Gallery

Browse all the different colored hydrangeas in our picture gallery!

Comments

Cut as much stem as you wish

By Almanac Staff

Cut as much stem as you wish but just make sure you cut early in the morning and only blooms that are fully open. Put in cool water asap.
To avoid wilting, here is a tip that we read about:
--Put cut ends in almost-boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge into cool water.

MY HYDRANGEA LEAVES ON TWO

By TERRI SAPORITA

MY HYDRANGEA LEAVES ON TWO SMALL BUSHES ARE LIGHT GREEN, ALMOST YELLOW. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM?

First, monitor the moisture

By El Brant

First, monitor the moisture level and try to make sure that the plants are not being 'over watered'. The other possible culprit is soil ph levels. Take a sample of your soil near the plant to the local arboretum (county extension office). They may offer soil testing - which will tell you what you need to do to correct the soil ph. Either way, this is going to be a relatively easy fix.
I hope you have plenty of blooms!

I have 2 hydrangas, but do

By William Robert

I have 2 hydrangas, but do not know the variety, but they are "old". They receive morning sun and some shade in the afternoon. They only produce a few flowers each.Planted in beds that support others shrubs without problem. What can be done to help these plants bloom? I have not added any fertilizers.

Add compost to enrich the

By Almanac Staff

Add compost to enrich the soil. Do a little research to find out what type of hydrangea you have and then prune some of the older branches in the fall or spring. See our pruning advice above.

I just planted my hydrangea 3

By Shelli

I just planted my hydrangea 3 days ago. I have watered it every day. The leaves are beginning to wilt and turn brown. What should I do..

Look under the hydrangea

By Almanac Staff

Look under the hydrangea leaves and see if there are tiny spider mites. They suck the juice from the leaves. If you've got mites, spray all leaf surfaces with insecticidal soap. If you're not sure of this diagnosis, bring a sample back to the nursery!

Hi this may sound of the wall

By Diane mal

Hi this may sound of the wall but my daughter has a puppy and she was peeing in the flower bed plus I was putting morning coffee grinds on some off the flowers and they are just beautiful this year and I live at the Jersey shore so we do not have the greatest of soil but this is what worked for me both things have different acids !

Can Hydrangeas receive too

By martydean

Can Hydrangeas receive too much water? Have 3 that have died in a new bed that received heavy run off in Late winter/early spring. Replaced and it is hot July and they are wilting again. What could be wrong?

Hydrangeas need well draining

By Almanac Staff

Hydrangeas need well draining soil and don't like wet feet. Add compost to the soil and put some mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist. Supply some shade if the sun is too hot.

My hydrangea bloomed the

By Joan DiTondo

My hydrangea bloomed the first year with huge dark pink flowers. Every year after the blooms get smaller and numerous. It is very healthy. I live in south jersey have sand soil and fertilize with Miracle gro.

I have a hydrangea (not sure

By BonnieN

I have a hydrangea (not sure what type) that I planted three years ago. When I planted it, it had full, beautiful blooms. The first year it didn't bloom at all, which I expected. Last year and this year it has big blooms, but they only open around the edges. What can I do to get the blooms to be fuller again, like they were when I bought the plant?

I got a plant for Mothers

By Jamielynn wallace

I got a plant for Mothers Day, since then it's lost almost all of its leaves and all the blooms died. It was poted in a larger pot in good soil and watered 2-3 times per week. Why is it in so much distress? I do see new growth on it now, but not sure what else to do for it. Can you help?

Florist hydrangeas (the kind

By La

Florist hydrangeas (the kind they sell for mother's day) are much more delicate than shrubs you would buy at a garden center. They are really bred for short-term beauty and most people throw them out when they wilt. If you water it well (not soggy, but don't let it dry out) and keep it in a partly sunny spot (not too hot, protect from full afternoon sun) you might be able to keep it alive and next year get more flowers. Eventually you should plant it in the ground.

I have a hydrangea that is 13

By Shelia Jones-McPherson

I have a hydrangea that is 13 - 14 years old. My bush has never flowared. It is in 3/4 shade, red clay mixed with potting soil, and I have added lime two years ago. What else can I do?

Too much shade reduces

By Almanac Staff

Too much shade reduces blooms. You may need to transplant your hydrangea to a sunnier spot. Morning sun is best. Add compost to the soil and add mulch around the plant to keep the soil moist.

I have lacecap hygrangea and

By Marge Q.

I have lacecap hygrangea and they produce large buds, but they turn brown before the buds open. Why?

Hydrangea flower buds and

By Almanac Staff

Hydrangea flower buds and blossoms turn brown if the plant becomes stressed. It can be caused by not enough water or too much sun. If the buds are exposed to full sun for many hours, the plant cannot provide enough moisture to the buds and they dry out. About 4 hours of morning sun is perfect.

I have (2) endless summer

By Melissa Dempsey

I have (2) endless summer hydrangeas, which were just planted March 2013. I live in zone 8. Both are nearing the end of their first flowering. Should I deadhead these? I've read mixed things about deadheading the first growing season.

Also, I have a Nantucket Blue hydrangea, planted the same time as the endless summers. Do I deadhead this one as well? Some of the leaves are brown; should I cut these off? What could be the cause of this?

Thank you!

Do deadhead the spent

By Almanac Staff

Do deadhead the spent flowers. It will encourage new blooms. Don't prune the stems or branches this year. Let the plants get bigger and more established first.
Brown leaves is a sign that the plant isn't getting enough water. Hydrangeas need lots of water. Add some mulch around your plants to keep the moisture in the soil. It's OK to remove the brown leaves.

I was given a Hydrangea in a

By Laureen

I was given a Hydrangea in a pot for mothers day, as I didn't know anything about the plant I looked it up online and discovered it's a shrub. I live in an apartment with a balcony, how do I take care of this plant???

Many hydrangeas will grow

By Almanac Staff

Many hydrangeas will grow well in pots. Choose a pot that is about 2 to 4 inches bigger than the pot the plant came in. Follow the planting advice above and put the container in a sunny or semi-sunny spot on your balcony. Depending on where you live you need to protect it with mulch or other coverings over the winter months.

I do so much appreciate this

By Verbie

I do so much appreciate this page i have learned the things that i needed to know for my plant thank you so much

I planted a hydrangea in my

By tina g

I planted a hydrangea in my backyard. it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. it had blooms on it when i bought it. they are gone now. will it bloom again this year?

Most hydrangea varieties will

By Almanac Staff

Most hydrangea varieties will not rebloom. Endless Summer is a new collection of hydrangeas that will rebloom.

I bought a Blue Heaven

By patricia leible

I bought a Blue Heaven Hydrangea. I planted it with moisture retention soil from Miracle Grow. The plant get some shade but mostly sun. I watered the plant with aqua feed from miracle grow. Now, the plant has some dark spots on its leaves. I also sprayed it with some pesticide that they recommended at Lowes. The dark tiny spots appeared later. Does anyone have an idea what could it be?

My hydrangeas bloomed

By julia donahue

My hydrangeas bloomed fruitfully for countless years then just stopped blooming, but produced a very large healthy bush--without flowers. I live in NJ (not sure what zone)...after 4 years with no blooms I saw ONE flower this year :( about to give up and dig it up...any ideas?? We are well watered and it is in the perfect sun exposure....Just noticed my smaller bushes that bloomed for 3 yrs. have ZERO buds now too--but also have a very healthy bush growing...very frustrating....

It looks your plant needs to

By Fiona Jones

It looks your plant needs to treated with Holly Tone. You should feed the plant with Holly tone in spring and fall, then you will see the plant bloom. You can buy it at Home Depot or Lowes

I live in zone 7 and every

By Dawn Mcentire

I live in zone 7 and every year my plants get such a beautiful deep green color on the leaves and they are really full... but they never bloom. I do not understand why they are not blooming. I have had them about five years and last year there was one bloom and quickly faded away. I make sure they have plenty of water and they only have morning sun and then in the afternoon they have lots of shade. Any ideas???

My colleagues bought me a

By Playwrightmxm

My colleagues bought me a beautiful hydrangea last year. This spring, it was starting to leaf again when landscapers mistakenly chopped off the leaves. Will this come back, ever? Thank you!

First, you need to know what

By Almanac Staff

First, you need to know what type of hydrangea you have. For mophead, lacecaps, and oaklead varieties, the best time to prune is actually in the summer before August. They form their buds on "old wood" in Aug/Sept/Fall for the following season's bloom. If it's cut back in June or July, it won't harm the next year's bloom.
However, PeeGee hydrangeas can be pruned any time except for the spring/summer when they are preparing to bloom. You can prune them in the fall, winter, or spring. If you prune at the wrong time, you may harm the next season's blooms but it's not forever!

I planted a hydrangea last

By Melissa McDunn

I planted a hydrangea last year (don't remember what kind) and we live in zone 5. Everything above ground looks dead but I see some green sprouts right underneath. Could this be my hydrangea coming back?

Yes, it is the hydrangea

By Almanac Staff

Yes, it is the hydrangea growing from the ground. Prune the dead branches and the new growth should fill in.

My hydrangea is about 5 years

By nobloom

My hydrangea is about 5 years old and grows beautifully every year, but doesn't bloom.
Any ideas?

If you have late spring

By Almanac Staff

If you have late spring frosts the new buds could have been damaged. Sometimes improper pruning causes no blooms. And, make sure that your hydrangea variety is suitable for your climate. Some varieties are not cold hardy.

What is the best fertilizer

By Shirley Pickreign

What is the best fertilizer for hydrangeas? I have very sandy soil.

We have sandy soil and we

By Bonnie Rincon

We have sandy soil and we have never fertilized our hydrangeas. We have so many blooms on all of our bushes right now. We have pink, blue and lavender. We just cut off dead branches as needed.

Just discovered this site and

By Lesley

Just discovered this site and love the great questions and helpful insights. Being new to site, I accidentally pressed the first star in the rating box, above. This is a 5-star site and am sorry that my inadvertent vote will be used to calculate the average rating. Thank you!

I just bought a house that

By vika

I just bought a house that has 2 hydrangea plants out front I planted one this year and its doing amazing but the old ones are more hard grey brown stems with little green leaf new stems how would I get these to bloom? Or take care of them and prune them thanks!

I live in Zone 4b. I have

By Gina Mallette

I live in Zone 4b. I have several Annabelle & PG bushes, all white, which do well. I want to plant some blue and pink varieties but when I went to my local nursery, the owner said that they won't do well here. Are there any blue or pink varieties that will do well in this zone?

Endless Summer hydrangeas

By Almanac Staff

Endless Summer hydrangeas will grow in Zone 4. They come in different shades of pink and blue.
Good luck!

Hi I recently bought 2

By Joseph Zammit

Hi I recently bought 2 hortensia plants and suddenly my house is filled with several mosquitoes, do you know if this plant is friendly to insects. What can I do?

Mine are mature, should I

By Linda Peters

Mine are mature, should I remove all the sticks, they looks like dead old growth. I have lots of green on the bottom and big leaves. But the tall sticks looks bad. Leave them or pull them. Albany NY area.

Remove the sticks if they are

By Almanac Staff

Remove the sticks if they are dead. The new growth will fill in and cover any empty spots.

Fungus

By Anonymous

I have 4 Nikko Blues and all of them have powdery mildew and the purple leaf spots within one week of planting. I have been spraying daconil fungicide on them about every 10 days and pruning the infected leaves. The are perky just do not look that pretty. Is there anything else I should do? Should I go ahead and feed or fertilize? It seems that they have not really had any new growth.

black spots

By Anonymous

My plant has black spots on the stems. Why?

You have a fungal disease

By Almanac Staff

You have a fungal disease called black spot. Remove and discard the stems and leaves that have black spots. Spray the hydrangea with a mixture of 1 pint of tepid water and 1/2 tablespoon neem oil.

Charm Hydrangea

By Anonymous

I planted a charm Hydrangea in my yard, which has full sun. It was beautiful last year, but has failed to show any signs of life so far this spring. Is it dead or just slow to emerge? I live in central Nebraska.

I am having the same issue

By cmcree

I am having the same issue with my Annabelle hydrangea here in Centennial, CO zone 5a. Seemed happy when I planted it last summer. I didn't water it during the winter (read an article that said not to). It's now April. When should I start seeing new growth?
Also, what is a "charm" hydrangea? I haven't heard of that before.

Insect & disease control

By Anonymous

Can I use Orthenex Insect & Disease control on my Hydrangea

Not knowing what insect pests

By Almanac Staff

Not knowing what insect pests you have we recommend starting with an horticultural oil and mixing the oil according to package directions before spraying.

Leafs wilting on the top.

By Anonymous

The leafs of my hydrangea are wilting and i'm not sure why or what to do. Any suggestions??

My leaf are wilting and how

By Renee Horrocks

My leaf are wilting and how do you dead head hydrangea?

Usually, they wilt when they

By Linda Peters

Usually, they wilt when they need water. Mine do, after watering, they perk right up. Only about 20-30 minutes after.

plant in a pot

By Anonymous

I would like to replace a spot in the garden where there is currently a giant flower pot with a hydrangea. We live in Omaha, NE and this spot receives the correct amount of sun for this plant. I'm wondering if I can put the hydrangea in the giant pot or if it must be planted the ground. Thanks for your help!

Hydrangeas grow well in pots.

By Almanac Staff

Hydrangeas grow well in pots. The main disadvantage is the difficulty of keeping them watered. Plant a larger size plant (if you bought the plant in a 3 or 5 gallon container) in a large container. Smaller hydrangeas should be started in smaller pots and then moved into bigger pots after 1 or 2 years.

Thanks!

By Anonymous

Thanks!

First Blooms

By Anonymous

At what age do Hydrangeas begin producing blooms?

It sometimes depends on the

By Almanac Staff

It sometimes depends on the variety and how big the plant was when planted, but usually if planted at the proper time, new plants will bloom the following summer.

Want flowers

By Anonymous

I live in nc and mine were way over grown so I cut them way back now that it is getting warm I'm not getting any flowers just a big bush what should I do

Too late. :(

By Anonymous

There is nothing you can do this year. Flowers grow on old growth. If you leave it alone (don't cut down this fall) you should have flowers next year.

Took it out and they wilted

By Anonymous

I bought a big pot of hydrangeas from Costco yesterday and placed it in our front yard. It was about 3 degrees Celsius overnight and 10degrees this morning. When I came home this afternoon I was dismayed to find my hydrangeas all wilted!! Oh no! What am I going to do to revive them? Should i bring them indoors? Please help!

are my hydrangeas dead?

By Anonymous

I purchased 2 about a month ago. They've done well in their pots in the house until now... the flowers are dead and leaves are dry. They've been watered fine all this time and have partial sun during the day. Are they dead? Should I go ahead and plant them in the garden?

Zone

By Anonymous

How do I know want zone I live in?

http://planthardiness.ars.usd

By Turfgal

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Here is the USDA Plant

By Almanac Staff

Here is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the U.S. (the most commonly-used reference): http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

I live in northeast louisiana

By billy jaubert

I live in northeast louisiana

lacy hydrangeas

By Anonymous

i just moved to Jacksonville, AR. will the lacy kind of hydrangea do well here?

The lacecap type of Hydrangea

By Almanac Staff

The lacecap type of Hydrangea macrophylla (the big leaf hydrangea) is probably the most common hydrangea in your area so that bodes well.

Arpita

By Anonymous

I have brought Hydrangeas yesterday from Lowes and i am living in north carolina , How i should take care my plant so it can bloom nice flowers.Please adise

I bought two gorgeous Hydrangea plants with blooms.Please advise

By Anonymous

I bought my Hydrangea from a good nursery, both plants have 4 very large blooms and small roots in small pots. I want to plant them ASAP, but what to do with blooms? Should I cut them off or leave young plants blooming? I am afraid it will take too much strength from them. Please give me advise.
Thanks in advance.
Tonya

Plant hydrangea outside after

By Almanac Staff

Plant hydrangea outside after the danger of frost is long past. Use a soil mix rich in sphagnum peat moss. To maintain acidity, fertilize once a month with aluminum sulfate. Only remove the blooms when they turn brown. If your flowers are droopy, you can use a peony hoop or stake them with cloth straps. What is your variety of hydrangea? Be sure to prune properly so that you do not mistakenly remove next year's buds! See this page on varieties.

Az.

By Anonymous

I live in Phoenix where it gets incredibly hot. I have a continiously shady (cannot grow grass)area under a tree which also gets irrigation every two weeks. Would these grow there?

Hydrangea generally grow in

By Almanac Staff

Hydrangea generally grow in cooler climates. If you want to try one, go for a variety called Oakleaf Hydrangea -- Hydrangea quercifolia. It grows in hotter climates, however, it does need well-drained soil. Check out this page for more details: http://azlandscape.blogspot.com/2009/05/oakleaf-hydrangea-quercifolia.html

Single long stemmed Hydrangea Natural Pink

By Anonymous

These flowers were already growing sporadically in back yard, side yard, and utility path when I moved in. I dug up a lot and planted in common area. they grow to 5 or 5.5 feet and a few taller. there is only one flower to each stalk. Both old flowers and seedlings blown by wind come up each spring. One time I saw it sold as a chlerorhodendron (was on ticket) --each single stalk was for $13.00. I have found not such flower.

My flowers definitely look like the globe hydrangea on single stalks not bushes. Can you identify and explain how to take care of or point me to site regarding them.

Thanks a lot.

It's hard to tell what type

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to tell what type of flower you have without seeing a photo. If you search for clerodendron instead of chlerorhodendron you'll be able to find some information and images online.

when to plant

By Anonymous

I recently purchased a white hydrangea. I live in New York where the weather is finally getting warmer but the nights may be at 45 degrees. Is it too soon to plant outside? If so what temperature will they tolerate as a newly planted plant?

Plant the hydrangea when you

By Almanac Staff

Plant the hydrangea when you are sure that you will not have more night frosts. A frost will kill your plant. If you decide to wait a week or two you can put the container outside during the day and bring it in at night.

Seattle area (zone 8b) Just

By Anonymous

Seattle area (zone 8b) Just moved here so need to know which hydrangeas do well here. Have absolutely fallen in love w/ these flowers when selling my house and hope there are some that thrive here!??? thanks!

Seattle

By Anonymous

I lived in the Seattle area for 12 years and had several hydrangeas that did very well.. They were a beautiful blue and my favorite in the garden! Good luck.

Yes, these lovelies are hardy

By Almanac Staff

Yes, these lovelies are hardy to zone 8. The types you see most often in your area are "hydrangea macrophylla," commonly known as mopheads and lacecaps. Find examples on this page: http://www.joycreek.com/ref-hy.htm

Hydrangea macrophylla

By Anonymous

I received one of these plants as a gift. The tag says hardiness zones 7 to 9. I live in Erie, PA, zone 5A, can I plant it outside or is it strictly a houseplant or can I plant it outside in the summer and bring it in in the winter? Thank you!

Often hydrangea plants that

By Almanac Staff

Often hydrangea plants that come with foil around the pot are are one-time bloom. However, if yours has a tag indicating hardiness zone, then that suggests it's from a nursery. It is always best to plant the potted hydrangea outdoors whenever possible. Hydrangea plants need winter dormancy to "chill" if they are to bloom. Unfortunately, you did not receive a variety meant for your gardening zone. You can try it out; early or late freezes may damage flower buds and you may have less blooms. Plant in early to mid summer so it has time to acclimate before winter arrives.

my hydrange blooms dont age

By Anonymous

I have a bigleaf hydrangea in a pot that i bought at a nursery with some blooms which don't age and just wilt. What is wrong?

Potted hydrangea need large

By Almanac Staff

Potted hydrangea need large quantities of water and should never dry out. Check the soil several times a day. Do not allow the pot to sit in a pan of water for long though. If the plant still wilts severely, submerge both the pot and soil in a pan of deep water and allow it to sit there until the soil ball is thoroughly soaked. Drain. Also, make sure your hydrangea gets a lot of sun. Place it in a sunny window but not so direct that the blooms will burn. Hydrangeas like cool temps. At nighttime, keep in a room that is 50 to 60 degrees F.

Flowers

By Anonymous

We just got in Hydrangea's and we are keeping them watered but some of the flower look like they are dying , is it because the are chilled or or over watering what would you say the problem is .I hope you can help us.

Are they in pots? Where do

By Catherine Boeckmann

Are they in pots? Where do you live? What type of hydrangea? You need to provide more information. Without knowing that, I'd say give it a shot of Miracle-Grow. Keep the soil moist at all times as this plant has a high water requirement and tends to dry rapidly in the home.

will not grow

By Anonymous

WE RECEIVED A HYDRANGEA AT OUR DADDY'S FUNERAL IN 1989, WHICH MY HUSBAND PLANTED IN THE YARD. IN ALL THESE YEARS IT HAS NOT GROWN MUCH. THERE ONCE WAS PINE TREES IN THE YARD WHICH HAD LARGE ROOTS, THEY HAVE BEEN CUT DOWN BUT MY HUSBAND THINKS THAT SOME PINE ROOTS MIGHT BE WRAPPED AROUND THE HYDRANGEA ROOT, THEREFORE HINDERING ITS GROWTH. WE WANT TO DIG IT UP AND REPLANT IT IN A DIFFERENT SPOT BUT I AM AFRAID IT MIGHT DIE. MY HUSBAND THINKS THAT IF WE DO IT NOW, IT WILL BE OK. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?

It's best to transplant

By Almanac Staff

It's best to transplant hydrangeas when they are dormant but you can go ahead and transplant now. Make sure to get as much of the root system as you can and plant it right away in a prepared new spot. Good luck!

How can you identify the type of hydrangea you have?

By Anonymous

I'm just a beginner when it comes to hydrangeas and did not realize that different types are pruned at different times and in different ways. I have acquired several hydrangeas but have no idea what type they are! Can anyone tell me how to identify them??

To identify hydrangeas, you

By Almanac Staff

To identify hydrangeas, you could always take a sample to your county cooperative extension or garden center. We also found this handy site online. Click "shrub index" and click "H" and you'l find many varieties and tutorials: http://utgardens.tennessee.edu/ohld220/shrubs/index.html

I received a hydrangea when

By Anonymous

I received a hydrangea when my friend passed away last month...I live in zone 4 and it's too soon to plant. I've kept the plant watered and now my blooms are all dying! What have I done wrong and is this plant dead??

Do you know what variety of

By Almanac Staff

Do you know what variety of hydrangea you have? (See Recommended Varieties above.) In Zone 4, some common hydrangea varieties will not survive or they are at their northern limit of their hardiness and just don't belong there. If you are not sure of the variety, perhaps you could clip a sample to bring to your local garden center.

I have bought 4 macropbylla

By Anonymous

tey are for my dughters wedding. i hve had them out side in the day and put them in the garage at night unfortunatly the frost was so hard it has frozen them in there i have put them in the green house now but am i to late

It depends on when the

By Almanac Staff

It depends on when the wedding is. If the buds (blossoms) were damaged it will take a while for new buds to form. If the stems are green it will grow back.

help :(

By Anonymous

My husband bought me a hyrenagea for Valentine's Day - was beautiful for the first couple of days but has steadily declined in health - started with wilting leaves, drooping flowers - i watered it a little bc the soil seemed dry then the leaves drooped, now its just a mess the leaves are all dried up, and the roots are too wet - i tried repotting bc the weather is still very cool - what do i do? can i plant it outside now with temps in the 20's?

It's still too cold to plant

By Almanac Staff

It's still too cold to plant the hydrangea outside. Repot it in a bigger pot with fresh soil and let the plant dry out. Then water just enough to keep the soil moist. Keep the plant away from bright windows.

thank you so much! ill do

By Anonymous

thank you so much! ill do that!

hydrangea in pot

By Anonymous

Mine did the same thing, and let it go thinking it was a goner. I noticed this morning that it has sprouted new growth on the stems, so I've watered it a little and will keep a close eye on it until I can replant it outside...so don't give up!

spring buds

By Anonymous

I have a blue mophead. This is my first experiance with hydrangeas and I just want to make sure I didn't ruin them. I cut them back some last summer after they had fully bloomed and now im noticing new buds, however they are black in color. Is this normal?

The pruning didn't ruin your

By Almanac Staff

The pruning didn't ruin your plant. Your plant requires enough warm days in the fall to mature the new buds forming before the cold of winter. The black buds are caused by winter cold.

re-black buds

By Anonymous

So will they still bloom this year?

re-black buds

By Anonymous

more than likely

Propagation of Hydrangeas

By Anonymous

How do I propagate Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas are easy to

By Almanac Staff

Hydrangeas are easy to propagate from cuttings. With scissors cut a piece off from a young green stem. Dip it in rooting hormone for easier rooting and put the stem in a small pot with a mix of sand and potting soil. Keep the soil moist.

Cutting back Hydrangeas

By Anonymous

I was told to cut back my Hydrangeas in late fall which I did in late October. Have I ruined the plants. If so when is the best time to plant new ones?

It all depends on what type

By Almanac Staff

It all depends on what type of hydrangea you have. The common Bigleaf hydrangea should be pruned after flowers fade (late spring/early summer). If you prune in the fall you may not have blossoms the following spring. Oakleaf, panicle, and smooth hydrangeas bloom on the current seasons' wood so they can be pruned in the fall or winter. See information about varieties above. Your plants are not ruined. They just may not bloom this summer.

plant in florida?

By Anonymous

I live in South Florida, will they grow if planted here? I bought one at the Home Depot near me..

The common bigleaf hydrangeas

By Almanac Staff

The common bigleaf hydrangeas grow in zones 5B through 9A and are not native to North America. They can grow in zones 7, 8, and 9 year-round. They're really not meant for South Florida. However, oak-leaved hydrangea grows in zones 5B through 9 and is a native to Florida. Basically, they grow in all but the tip of Florida. They need full sun and they like fertile, acid, well-drained soil, and require little attention once established. Your Home Depot gardening center should be able to tell you more about your cultivar.

deer tolerant or not?

By Anonymous

NEED TO KNOW IF WE CAN PLANT these IN AN AREA KNOWN to have deer problems!!

front tips of leaves turned brown/crispy

By Anonymous

I'm so glad I found your site! We moved into a home last Nov. that has three hydrangeas. Two of them are large, one much smaller. They all three bloomed beautifully in early spring. After the blooms died, I waited a while, then dead-headed them after reading a post on-line. I noticed a lot of dark spots on the stems, then the leaves began to turn brown on the tips, It has been unbearably hot, but I have been watering them most mornings. It will appear they are trying to bloom again, but the buds just die away. Part of the two bigger ones look ok, but have the dark, crispy tips. What can I do to save them? They were beautiful, and I"m afraid I killed them somehow. Oh, Plus, I've noticed an ant hill right beside the middle one. If I get bitten by one when watering, it turns into a small cyst-like bump. Could the ants be killing my plants?

You got bitten by a fire ant.

By Anonymous

You got bitten by a fire ant. They are probably not killing your bushes. You need to place mulch around the base of the bushes. Hydrangea leaves will flop down when they are not getting enough water.

If the edges are brown and

By Almanac Staff

If the edges are brown and the leaves look burnt, you probably have spider mites. Spray leaves down every few days and use insecticidal soap. This should help.

Blue Wave hydrandeas

By Anonymous

I just bought two of these and I am wanting to plant them in Lloydminster, we are zone three. Will they grow here?

Yes, they should do well in

By Almanac Staff

Yes, they should do well in zone 3.

white cocoons under leaves?

By Anonymous

I have a blue mophead that has white cocoon like things stuck on the underside of the leaves. The cocoons are about 1/8 in wide at the "front", which may have a dark spot, narrowing toward the back end which is about 1/2 inch long. These cocoons are not cylinderical, but almost rectangular. A funny rippled surface seemed to be the top surface of the cocoon. When open, wispy threads seem to trail outwards, giving thought to the cocoon idea. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

White cocoons under leaves

By Almanac Staff

We suspect that you have scale insects on your hydrangea. Try to wipe the insects off with a cloth dipped in insecticidal soap. Then rinse with a spray of water. To control them spray the leaves with a mixture of insecticidal soap and horticultural oil.

Spray a mixture of insecticidal soap and horticultural oil to control scale insects. The oil smothers the slow-moving insects.

No blooms

By Anonymous

I have as small shrub hydrangea that doesn't bloom. It's a beautiful shape and looks healthy but not a bloom on it for two summers now. What should I try?

No blooms

By Almanac Staff

Do they get enough sun and water? Hydrangeas thrive on morning sun and light afternoon shade. Hydrangeas also need lots of water. Add mulch around the shrub to maintain moisture.If your plants continue to grow but don't bloom, try moving them in the fall after the leaves drop.

HYdrangea leaves are yellowish

By Anonymous

My hydrangea leaves are turning yellow and are looking wilted with the edges are brown and crisp looking. I'm afraid I'm going to loose it without some intervention. Its planted in early morning sun/shade for the rest of the day. We have been hit with a heat wave last 10 days, however, I've been watering 2x per day (light hose stream for about 30 minutes each time). It is mulched. Its a big leaf, mophead. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks!

First, it sounds as if you

By Almanac Staff

First, it sounds as if you are watering too much. Second, if your leaves are yellow and wilting, look for aphids under the leaves and spray them with your water hose or an insecticidal soap. If the edges are brown and the leaves look burnt, you probably have spider mites. Spray leaves down every few days and use insecticidal soap. This should help.

1/2 blooms? Or ugly blooms !!

By Anonymous

I just planted 10 Hydrangea s in the front of my home in about 10 hrs of full sun . I try to water regularly in the evening do to my schedule
The beds that they are planted in are raised 10 " in good soil ( I think) with heavy mulch . The mulch had a white fungus growing in places !!
The flowers are blooming hear and there but wilt fast or don't nearly get to that full bloom stage . What
T is very confusing is that all the plants ( hydrangea s ) don't get full sun but all do the same . They all came in 3 gal. Pots from a good growing
nursery . Any suggestion s on how I can get my flowers to that WOW stage

My limelight Hydrangea is sick

By Anonymous

This is my third summer with my limelight hydrangea. We have had an extremely dry summer but I have watered regularly. I noticed some leaves turning yellow and now they are curling up and falling off. What can I do to help?

faded blooms

By Anonymous

When is the best time to remove old blooms?
My plant was doing great with lots of blooms and healthy, then the summer heat arrived. I have watered every day and the plant gets morning sun and afternoon shade.
The blooms have faded and I'm not sure how and when I should cut them off

Unlike pruning, just removing

By Almanac Staff

Unlike pruning, just removing dead blooms (called deadheading) can be done at any time without harming the blooms for the following year. You can remove old blooms down to the closest set of leaves. This can prolong a bloom season. However, it's not necessary to remove old blooms. Some folks think leaving the old blooms on the plant for the winter protects the buds and deadhead in early spring when the shrub begins to leaf out.

summer heat and dead blooms/soil pH

By Anonymous

Our hydrangea (I think it's a mophead) blooms just died from excessive heat and insufficient water. If I cut off the dead blooms now, will the plant bloom again this year or only next year.

How can I test my soil's pH balance?

Thank you.

Unfortunately with this

By Almanac Staff

Unfortunately with this particular type of hydrangea, it will most likely not bloom again until next Spring.

As far as testing your soil's pH, you can send samples in to a soil lab testing site or pick up an at home pH kit from your local gardening center.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

Change the color?

By Anonymous

Is there a way to make the white Annabelles stay white longer? If not, can they be changed to pink or blue?

Hydrangea color

By Almanac Staff

The flower color of these plants varies depending on the pH level of the soil that they live in. For example, pink flowers enjoy neutral soils while blue flowers tend to enjoy soil with a higher acidic level. Whites tend to fall into the same category as pink.

Start by testing the pH level of the soil to learn whether or not you need to increase or decrease the amount of acid to treat your soil in order to achieve the color you desire.

I hope this helps!

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

sharing

By Anonymous

My friend has one plant that is 6ft wide by 4 1/2 tall. This plant has purple,pink,& blue blooms.
Can we split it, sort of like you can do with hostas?

Yes, with care. Divide in the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, with care. Divide in the early spring by using a shovel to divide the clump. You're going to need to water, water, water all season to help it restart growth.

Espoma Soil Acidifier

By Anonymous

Ok, so I bought some Espoma Soil Acidifier for my soil that tested at 8.0 alkaline pH but now i don't know how much to put per plant. I have two hydrangea's and a lot of roses. the instructions are below:

Soil Acidifier Recommendation
In the absence of a soil test, follow the rates below. Results can take up to several weeks depending on rate, soil temperature and timing of application. Reduce the rates by one-third for sandy soils and increase by one-half for clay soils. In general, the optimum range for blue hydrangeas is 5.5 - 6.0, and for blueberries it's 4.5 - 5.0.
Pounds per 100 Square Feet of Loamy Soil
Desired pH:
Present pH 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5
8.0 3 4 5 6 7
7.5 2 3 4 5 6
7.0 1 2 3 4 5
6.5 NA 1 2 3 4
6.0 NA NA 1 2 3

Any help would be welcomed!
Thanks
~Christina

Me again...

By Anonymous

Sorry, just me again. I haven't opened this Espoma Acidifier yet. It is 18% free sulfur and 12% combined sulfur. I have two small hydrangea's that I just planted and about 13 rose plants. I have no idea how much of this stuff to use. It says on it to use 1 1/4 cup on hydrangea's? Seriously? And it doesn't specify all at once or multiple treatments. Also it doesn't specify for roses! Broadcast rates: 12lbs per 100 sq ft for each 1 point reduction pH required. My soil is at 8.0. That would be a heck of alot! I am not sure if I should take it back and find something else that would do better or just use this and how much to use? I just now that my plants really need the help. Just using some coffee grounds right now.

Anyway, thanks for any help!
~Christina
Indiana

We suggest that you use 1 to

By Almanac Staff

We suggest that you use 1 to 1-1/4 cups of Espoma around each plant. Spread evenly around the plant out to the drip line and water well. Repeat in 60 day intervals until desired pH or bloom color is achieved.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

When is the best time to

By bluejeanbaby

When is the best time to begin fertilizing Hydrangea plants in the spring to encourage blue flowers? I have the Espoma fertilizer. My plants are several years old (~5) and range from 2.5 to 3.5 feet high. I live in Zone 5.

Also, what is the best way to protect them from a late spring frost. I only got a few blooms last year. Admittedly, I was not good about fertilizing them, but I think our sometimes late spring freezes were the major culprit.

Alkaline soil...

By Anonymous

I am so grateful for this site!

I live in Indiana and just bought 2 hydrangea's. A Forever and Ever blue heaven and a forever and ever peppermint hydrangea. I planted one next to the house where it gets about 7 hours of sun and then shade in the afternoon. Anyway, I had tested the soil with a store soil test kit and according to the color it turned dark green which means alkaline (I tested it with a gallon of water that said spring water). Then I tested it 3 ft away but used the bottled water I drink and it was a lighter green which means 7.0 to 8.0. I have well water that comes out of my faucets and didn't use that. Should I try again with my well water to see exactly how much pH?

I read that compost can help and grass clippings and peat moss and coffee grounds. I don't know since I just planted it if I should use sulphur or sulphate or just coffee grounds and peat moss?

Thanks for the help. (I also have about 20 rose bushes and the plants are doing ok it seems, but I still need to lower the hP for them also...)

alkaline soil

By Anonymous

When you test your soil, you should NOT use bottled spring water, bottled drinking water, or well water. All may have high levels of dissolved minerals that can skew your test. Invest in a gallon of distilled or reverse osmosis purified water, and use only that water for your pH testing.

Thanks for the kind words! We

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for the kind words! We replied to your questions below your other comment below. --The Old Farmer's Almanac staff

Me again...

By Anonymous

I wrote that comment. One more thing... I don't think I have that good of drainage. I planted the hydrangea so it is slightly higher than the ground around, kind of like a small hill and put some tiny pebbles in the soil when I planted it. I also tried to pack some of the soil down so to not have any air pockets. Is there anything I should change for the next hydrangea?

Thanks again.
~Christina
Indiana

To lower the pH quickly add

By Almanac Staff

To lower the pH quickly add sphagnum peat. It is also a good source of organic matter and helps drainage. (The pH of Canadian sphagnum peat generally ranges from 3.0 to 4.5.) Add a 1 to 2-inch layer of sphagnum peat and work it into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil before planting (work as much peat into the soil around your established hydrangeas as you can). Keep adding your coffee grounds too. Soil with pH level of about 5.2-5.5 will produce blue flowers, soil with pH level above 6.0 will produce pink flowers.
The hydrangeas need an evenly moist well-drained soil for best growth and benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location with morning sun and afternoon shade. Apply organic mulch around the plants to conserve soil moisture and protect them from temperature extremes. All the best!

map zone

By Anonymous

I live in red deer alberta and want to grow a hydrangea is it possible?

Peegee hydrangea is hard to

By Almanac Staff

Peegee hydrangea is hardy to your zone. Other readers say they've had some success with 'Pinky Winky' and 'Annabelle' and 'Quick Fire' varieties. They'll all very different. Have fun exploring!

hydrangea

By Anonymous

what is causing my hydrangea's new growths to dry up and fall off??

There are several

By Almanac Staff

There are several possibilities. Perhaps the hydrangea needed to be uncovered earlier from the winter? Once mulch and winter protection is removed, I hope you started to see normal growth. Or, did you have warm temps and then a freeze? If so, the shrub may be fine but it's hard to say what will happen this year. Also, avoid overfertilizing.

Do you know which variety you

By Almanac Staff

Do you know which variety you have? And where do you live? It's possible that spring came early and your hydrangea was leafing out while still covered for winter protection. So it lacked the sunlight needed. They might recover so leave it until mid to late May.

Did you prune? Most

By Catherine Boeckmann

Did you prune? Most hydrangeas bloom on old wood and if you cut in the spring, you won’t get any blooms. Prune after blooming is done.

blue moon hydrangea

By Anonymous

if you don't have acidic soil what do you do or put in it to get it

adding acid to soil

By Almanac Staff

Adding ammonium sulfate will lower soil pH immediately. Adding granulated sulfur will also lower soil pH, but the process is much slower. If you don't want to use chemicals, add coffee grounds and pine needles. They are slow acting but a good source--and free! No matter what you do, check your soil pH periodically in order to control the process.

No flowers

By anripley

I recently moved into a house that has hydrangeas. The owner has said they have had them for three years and they only flowered in the first year. What can I do to get them to flower again?

How to get hydrangeas to bloom

By Almanac Staff

Do they get enough sun and water? Hydrangeas thrive on morning sun and light afternoon shade. The prior owners may have planted them in a poor location. If your plants continue to grow but don't bloom, try moving them in the fall after the leaves drop. Are you keeping them extremely well watered? Hydrangeas want to be watered often! Also, mulch them to maintain moisture.

Moving Hydrangeas

By jveiga

I would like to move 2 3-year old hydrangea bushes. When is the best time to do that?

 Fall is the best time to

By Almanac Staff

 Fall is the best time to move hydrangeas

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