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Few flowers lend as much vibrancy, texture, and fluff to gardens as the hydrangea. Its generous flower petals and deep green bushels of leaves is enough to brighten up any garden or outdoor space with its beauty.
It’s why so many gardeners love adding them to their flower beds!
The most commonly known hydrangea is called the Hydrangea Macrophylla, and its the kind you’re probably most familiar with.
It produces round clusters of fluffy flower petals that begin to bloom mid-Summer. its stems can grow to about 6 to 10 feet tall, making them quite the sight to see.
They don’t just look good on the ground, however. They work beautifully as part of table centerpieces and are often used for weddings. It’s no wonder then, that many people are interested in learning to grow these flowers themselves.
Thankfully, they’re easy to nurture and care for, once you understand what it needs to thrive.
Plus, they provide powerful color variety. Quite the garden treasure, hydrangeas can be found in lively shades of white, blue, and pink.
Can you believe you can manipulate the color of your hydrangeas simply be controlling how acidic or alkaline your soil is? It’s true!
If you crave pink hydrangeas, add garden lime to the soil during the Fall to make the soil more alkaline.
If you prefer pops of blue throughout your garden, add aluminum sulfate to the soil to make it acidic. It’s that simple!
Just make sure you start doing this a few months before your plant begins to bloom.
How to Grow and Care for Hydrangeas
There are two ideal times to plant your hydrangeas: Spring and Fall.
It’s very important that you plant your hydrangeas in an area that gets shade during the afternoon, as this flower is not a full-sun plant that can tolerate intense heat for more than a few hours a day.
They also don’t appreciate heavy winds because their stems are susceptible to breaking, so try to plant your hydrangea near other plants or trees that can offer some protection.
TIP: Try planting your flowers on the eastern side your house if they need shade during the afternoon; shadows can provide the protection your plants need from the crippling heat.
This beautiful flower needs a little TLC when it comes to soil. It needs moist, well-drained soil and also benefits from organic fertilizer that can provide it with nutrients throughout the Summer.
Since hydrangeas bloom in the Summer, you’ll want to water deeply once a week so that the roots retain plenty of moisture. Hydrangeas need moist soil in order to thrive, so it’s not a plant that can tolerate drought conditions. Water is their best friend!
However, you’ll also need to make sure to provide good drainage, because too much water in the soil can encourage mold growth that can rot the roots. This is something you definitely want to avoid, especially since it’s an easy thing to prevent.
If your area is experiencing a heat wave, you’ll want to make sure to water in between your weekly waterings if you see that the heat is leaving your soil dehydrated.
Hydrangeas start to grow their flower buds a year in advance, usually at the end of the Summer. After your hydrangeas have bloomed for the year, cut back the dead blooms and old stems WITHOUT damaging the forming buds.
This is very important! If you damage the buds, you’ll compromise the quality of next year’s blooms.
If you notice that your hydrangeas didn’t bloom as vibrantly as they did in the past, it may be time to do some serious pruning. Try cutting old stems to encourage the growth of new stems that will hopefully produce healthy buds for blooming.
TIP: You’ll want to do this in late Winter to avoid buds from getting damaged by frost.
Harsh Winter weather can damage the integrity of your hydrangea plant. You can remedy this by adding burlap to the soil around your stems, as well as filling the area with dried leaves so that snow or frost has a harder time of reaching your stems and roots.
You’ll want to preserve your buds as much as you can if you live in an area with very low temperatures in the Winter.
That about covers it! Once you understand what hydrangeas need in order to thrive and produce beautiful blooms, you’ll be happy to have this beautiful flower as part of your garden bed.
If you’re looking for more pops of color and different petal shapes, then you should take a look at these low-maintenance perennials. They’re some of the most interesting looking flowers PLUS they’re especially easy to take care of, as most of them are quite a drought tolerant, making them perfect choices for many parts of the country.
If you don’t have much shade to offer your plants, then full sun perennials are the way to go – so head to this post of 15 full sun perennials that won’t disappoint your cravings for a vibrant garden.