Hydrangea Light Requirements
Depending on the variety, hydrangeas can grow in both sunny and shaded areas. These plants love partial shade, requiring between three and six hours of direct sunlight per day. As long as they get a good amount of sun in the morning and early hours of the day, they can be in the shade for the afternoon with no problems. Monitor your hydrangeas sunlight exposure accordingly, however, as too much sunlight causes hydrangea leaf scorch and browning. Not enough sunlight, however, will prevent your hydrangea from blooming.
The Best Soil for Hydrangeas
In general, hydrangeas need nutrient-rich, light soil that drains well. They grow better in slightly acidic soil, similar to blueberries. If your soil needs more acidity, you can add coffee grounds to your soil or pick up a soil amendment. Hydrangeas don’t need a lot of fertilizer to thrive; you can give them some slow-release fertilizer in the spring and again in the early summer, and they’ll be happy growers!
As if by magic, you can change the color of bigleaf (or macrophylla) hydrangeas by adjusting the pH of your soil. Acidic soils with a pH below 7 produce blue blooms, while alkaline soils above a pH of 7 produce pink blossoms.
Watering Your Hydrangea
Hydrangeas need lots of water regardless of if they are grown in containers or in the ground. They appreciate moist but well-draining soil and should be watered thoroughly 2-3 times a week, depending on the size and variety of the plant. Big leaf and smooth leaf hydrangeas typically require more water than other varieties.
Drainage holes in your hydrangea pots are extremely important for ensuring that your soil drains well; soggy soil will cause root rot.
How Do I Know If My Hydrangea Is Getting Enough Water?
An overwatered hydrangea will have yellowing leaves that may fall off prematurely, while a dried-out hydrangea will appear shriveled, brown, and lifeless. Water your hydrangea according to appearance and soil moisture. Keep in mind that newly planted hydrangeas will require a little more watering until they establish.
Pruning Your Hydrangea
Pruning helps your hydrangea plant stay looking clean and gorgeous. In general, there are two types of growth that you’ll see in hydrangeas: ones that bloom on new wood and ones that bloom on old wood.
For varieties that bloom on old wood, hold off on pruning until late summer after their flowers fade. If you prune in the spring, you’ll cut off the fresh buds and not get any flowers! For varieties that bloom on new wood, you can prune the branches before the new growth in the early spring.
Smooth hydrangeas need a season or two before you prune them for the first time. This way, they can fully establish themselves and have one or two strong growing seasons under their belt before you dig in.
With their pom-pom-like appearance and vibrant colors of blue, pink, white, green, and purple, hydrangeas create a fairytale inside your garden that other flowers can’t match. For more tips on caring for hydrangeas and other garden plants, visit us at Pine Hills Nursery in Pass Christian, Mississippi, today. You can count on our garden center team to keep your plants healthy and your garden looking beautiful.