Follow these five tips on hydrangea care from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
As summer approaches, hydrangeas will start to bloom. If you’re looking for a fuller bloom or you need to tend to some neglected hydrangea plants, Blain’s Farm & Fleet is here to help. Use these five tips for hydrangea care to help the beautiful flowers reach their full potential.
1. Test Your Soil
The pH level of your soil can actually affect the hydrangea’s color. The aluminum ions–or lack thereof–change the color of the flower. Soil with a pH less than 5.5 produces blue flowers, soil with a pH greater than 5.5 produces pink flowers and white flowers are not affected by pH.
2. Follow Proper Pruning
Hydrangea pruning comes down to which variety of flower you have. The Bigleaf variety–categorized as Lacecap and Mophead flowers–are the most common types of hydrangea. They should be pruned after the flowers fade–often referred to as “deadheading.” Typically with hydrangeas, only dead wood should be cut away. Take off the wood at the base of the plant if the entire branch is dead. Don’t prune hydrangeas past August; any new growth can suffer from an early-fall freeze.
3. Give Them Enough Space
Hydrangeas grow quite large–around four feet in diameter–so you’ll need to give each plant enough space to grow. If you’re planting multiple plants, space them about 3-10 feet apart. Without enough room to grow, the plants will have to be pruned more often.
4. Plant Them in the Right Spot
Hydrangeas do best in rich, porous soil. The soil should also be moist, but not too wet that it causes root rot. Having a good drainage system is key to keeping the soil at the right amount of wetness. It’s also important to protect the plants from the hot afternoon sun and strong winds, which can both damage blooms and stems. Plant them in a location where they’ll get full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
5. Use Fertilizer at the Right Time
If you fertilize your hydrangeas, do so only once or twice during the summer. A slow-release fertilizer works well to promote growth. Just as with pruning, don’t fertilize after August. If you do, new flowers can be begin to bloom, and can be affected by early-fall frost. In the Midwest, a one time use of fertilizer in June or July works just fine.
Planting and caring for flowers is a great way to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. Once you’re equipped with the right gardening supplies, don’t forget to visit our Gardening blog for more tips on flower gardening.