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Caring Tips and Guidelines

Hydrangeas: Caring Tips and Guidelines

Hydrangeas are a delightful addition to any garden, capturing attention with their stunning blooms. From the elegant Hydrangea macrophylla and Hydrangea serrata to the graceful Hydrangea paniculata, these plants can thrive in various garden settings. To ensure your hydrangeas flourish, we've compiled a list of essential do's and don'ts:


  1. Choose a sunny spot: Plant your hydrangeas in an area that receives some sun. They prefer moist, well-drained soil with dappled shade—avoid excessively sunny or shady locations. South-facing positions should be avoided, especially if the soil tends to be dry. If you have a shaded spot like a north-facing wall, consider growing the climbing hydrangea variety, Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris.

  2. Water regularly: Adequate watering is crucial, especially during warmer temperatures. While too much water can pose problems, allowing your hydrangeas to dry out will cause stress to the plants. Find the right balance and ensure consistent moisture levels for optimal growth.

  3. Weed control: Keep the area around your hydrangeas free from weeds. Weeds compete for essential nutrients and water, hindering the growth of your hydrangeas.

  4. Mulch your plants: Hydrangeas have shallow roots, making them prone to drying out and heat stress. Apply a layer of shredded bark mulch, around 2-3 inches thick, to retain moisture and keep the roots cool. This encourages faster growth, resulting in healthier and happier plants.


  1. Avoid late-season fertilization: Refrain from fertilizing hydrangeas after late July. By this time, the plant starts entering the dormancy phase, triggered by environmental cues. Fertilizing beyond this point promotes soft new growth, increasing the risk of winter damage. Cease fertilization no later than the end of July and gradually reduce supplemental irrigation as well, as excessive water can also encourage soft new growth.

  2. Refrain from pruning big-leaf hydrangeas: One common mistake is pruning big-leaf hydrangeas, especially when they go dormant in winter. Despite their appearance, resist the temptation to cut them back. The flower buds for the following summer have already formed on the plant, and pruning will remove them.

  3. Avoid overhead watering: For efficient irrigation, consider using a drip irrigation system in your hydrangea gardens. Drip irrigation minimizes water waste and keeps the leaves dry. If hand watering, direct the water at the base of the plant instead of overhead. Hydrangeas spend a significant amount of time in the shade, and excess moisture on the leaves can lead to fungal diseases. Splashing water on the leaves can cause fungal spores to spread, potentially causing significant issues if left untreated.

  4. Persevere and experiment: If you haven't achieved success with hydrangeas, don't give up. Try planting them in different areas of your garden. Consider a spot on the east side of your home near walls, providing protection from harsh winter weather and afternoon shade. Hydrangeas are relatively easy to transplant due to their shallow roots, so consider moving them between late November and February.

  5. Avoid poorly draining soil: Hydrangeas thrive in well-draining soil. To determine if your soil is suitable, dig a hole approximately one foot deep and fill it with water. It should drain completely within about two hours. If the water doesn't drain within this time frame, you'll need to amend the soil. Enhance drainage and improve soil quality by incorporating organic matter such as compost, manure, or shredded leaves. This advice applies to both clay and sandy soils. Preventing water pooling around the roots is essential to avoid issues like root rot, wilting leaves, yellowing, and leaf loss caused by overwatering.

Remember, caring for hydrangeas requires a balance of factors like sunlight, watering, and soil conditions. By following these do's and don'ts, you can create a thriving garden filled with the beauty of hydrangeas.