Hydrangea Care instructions -FAQ
Hydrangea Which should I choose?
Apart from the taste , there are a few things that determine which hydrangea you can choose , so where do you look for ?
In what climate zone do you live ? Near the coast, the climate is usually much milder than in inside the mainland . When you live in Usda zone 6 or 7, a good option is to choose only cultivars that are known to be very hardy , choose a sheltered place.
Hydrangeas that are mentioned to be moderate hardy can better be held as a pot plant so you can accommodate them in a sheltered unheated or moderately warm place in winter .
Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata ) , Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia ) , Hydrangea arborescens ( ' Annabelle ' ) , Hydrangea serrata and Hydrangea heteromalla are alle fully hardy in most parts of W.Europe, the more classic macrophylla species with spherical or flat flowers are not all 100 % hardy ...
Find out how much sun the location of the hydrangea gets per day ( in summer) and at what time, a sunny place at noon will be too much for most of them! On a pitch which bathes in the sun from morning to evening you best choose for a panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ) , who are in their element in the full sun and need less water than the other species.
Do you have a place where the sun is only shining in the evening or the morning and the rest of the day they get enough light, you than can choose from the full range.
Who has a permant moist soil by means of irrigation can also keep some serrata and macrophylla types in full sun . In to shady places , with little light and sun , most Hydrangeas after a while will look limp and lanky and show little or no bloom . However, there are some plants here that are not put off by these conditions . Hydrangea arborescens tolerate full shade , but will be slightly less exuberant blooming, Hydrangea macrophylla ' Veitchii ' still thrives fairly well in more shady places . The climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp.petiolaris ) can safely grow against a north wall where he never gets direct sunlight and will still nicely flourish.
On what soil are you gardening ?
Hydrangeas grow best in acidic or neutral soil ( pH 4.5 to 7) soil with a pH above 7 ( calcareous ) may have to be improved otherwise lack symptoms may occur , the plants can no longer take iron or aluminum from the soil and the result is chlorosis (yellow- green leaves ) . You can reverse this temporaliy by using iron chelate ( or permanently by reducing the PH of your soil by means of working turf ou pine needles in the ground.
How should I prune my hydrangeas ?
Here are many misunderstandings , it is important that you know what type of hydrangea you're dealing with . Hydrangeas who flowers on new (annual ) wood ( paniculata , arborescens ) , you can prune in early spring . Hydrangeas that bloom on multiannual wood ( macrophylla , quercifolia , should be , in principle, not pruned it suffices to remove the old flowers in the month of April, and the dead branches. To be sure a branche is dead ,just scrape lightly with a finger on the branch , when you see green under the bark , it is still a live branch , when you see brown it's dead .
Why does my pink Hydrangea color bleu ?
The flowers of the ' pink' Hydrangea macrophylla species contain the pigment delphinidin and can with the necessary care also obtain beautiful blue colors .
There are two important conditions - first and foremost the Hydrangea should be planted in an acidic soil pH 4 to 5.5 max , and the soil must contain enough iron or aluminum .
In to calcareous soil calcium and iron combine so the iron is no longer available to the plant . So allways use acid soil ,give at the end of August and mid-March a dose of alum (aluminum sulfate ) to the plant (can be solved in irrigation water or sprinkled around the plant ) . It may happen that with time your beautifull blue hydrangeas once again turn towards violet or even pink , reasons can be that to much compost or manure is added (works alkaline ) , tap ( calcareous ) water is given or simply because you forgot to administer the annual dose of alum.
White bulbs do not change under the influence of acid or calcareous soil .
Also red blooming Hydrangeas will hardly change under the influence of the acidity of the soil and the presence of aluminum sulfate in the soil ,the alum dose that one should administer to get a serious discoloration is so high that it would be deadly for the plant.
How can I dry Hydrangeas ?
Many Hydrangeas have the special gift that their flowers at the efflorescence remain decorative, slowly fading sometimes gives a special beauty .There are four methods : Store and drying by extraction of water , drying over silica gel , glycerin drying , air drying . More about drying Hydrangeas read here
How should I fertilize my Hydrangea ?
Like all shrybs the Hydrangea also need a fertilezer for a balanced and healthy growht , mature compost , organic manure ( cow dung matured - no horse manure) contains the necessary materials for the Hydrangea and contains not too much nitrogen.
Manure with excessive nitrogen content ( high figure N ) will produce , gangly , lanky plants, many leaf growth , but little bloom. There exists also special hydrangea fertilizer with low nitrogen content , and sufficient Kali Phosphorus and often some iron and magnesium to prevent Chlorosis.
Fertilize your hydrangeas preferably a first time in early August , later this month the flowers for next year growth are created in most species and a second time in mid-March when the days are warmer and plants start growing again. Never give too much manure in one turn ,it is better to give it a small amount in a couple of times . Blue hydrangeas need less fertilizer, the color then becomes even more intense . When blue hydrangeas have too much nitrogen at their disposal they take less aluminum (resulting in a less intense blue color ) .
How and when do I plant best Hydrangeas ?
Hydrangeas are now almost always sold in pot (container ) , so you can plant them ( if the ground is not frozen ) at any time of the year . However please note that many Hydrangeas are forced to bloom ... , sooner or later. So when you buy full in bloom standing plants in October they'd better not be to put in open ground but should be hibernated the first winter in a frost-free place , since these plants are not hardened or ready for winter .... The Hydrangeas at our nursery are not forced, slow grown and by this means sufficiently hardened and ready for planting in autumn , the soil is still warm and the bush will properly rooted by next summer , and more drought resistant than when planted in April or May.
Allways keep in mind the adult size of your purchased Hydrangea , that small plant in his 3L jar will indeed in a short time (3-5years) be a big shrub , higher and wider than 1m , so make a safe distance from the other plants in your garden . Depending on the variety the planting distance will always fluctuate between 0,8 m and 1,3 m .
Practical : the planting
Make a hole of at least about 2x the volume of the pot , loosen the bottom and walls of the hole sufficiently loose , fill the bottom with a good layer slightly acidic soil . Remove the Hydrangea from its container and gently clean the roots down and sideways a little loose , place the plant in the hole and make sure the plant is put just as deep as he was in the nursery in his pot , fill the spaces of the hole with a mixture of the excavated soil and slightly acidic soil ( heather mixture ), press the soil around the root ball ( plant) firmly so that no air holes ( cavities ) occur.
Do not stamp with the feet on the plant root ball itself , it are the areas around it that you have to press down . Pour the plant then liberally .
Tip: On a pretty dry place it can be useful to bring in the hole at the bottom of a dose Terracottem of Water Crystals, these suck themselves full of water and give it in periods of drought slowly to the plant .
What kind of Hydrangea do I have ?
The species Hydrangea is usually easy to determine ( see our page on the species) , to determine the cultivar or variety is sometimes more difficult . Especially with Hydrangea macrophylla this is not always so evident . The look of a pink or blue Hydrangea species is strongly influenced by the acidity of the soil , the discoloration of the leaves during the season , depends on sufficient sunlight .... No two pictures of a Hydrangea are identical , unless they are taken from the same plant at the same time and same location of course .
But in numerous books and our website you will find detailed explanations of the flower color , size of the flowers , height, width , flowering , leaf shape , the growth habit of the bush ( upright , compact , bushy = tightly branched etc. . ) With a more practiced botanical eye you can inspect the petals, are they smooth edges or correct jagged, they are beautiful together or overlap with each other , how much sterile petals there are around the fertile inner flowers , inspect the leaf shape , how strong are the leaves sawed, dented , how are they grained etc. ..
Why do my hydrangeas not bloom ?
It's incredible how many Indian stories are told on internet forums ... but what are the real reasons ?
Initially it is often wrong pruning , because numerous hydrangeas bloom on multiannual wood . Many gardeners can not resist in autumn their zeal for pruning on the hydrangeas . Many cut them back to the ground - Hydrangea Macrophylla and H. Serrata however, make their flower buds for next year allready in August , they sit just below the old flowers ,so if you prune them severely in the fall , you're the next year without flowers . For proper pruning instructions click here .
A second point is the freezing of flower buds during the winter and especially by late frosts in spring . Hydrangea macrophylla species are quite sensitive . You can protect the plants temporarily with fleece , this is very cheap and easy to apply around the plant , the leaves also still acquire, light, air and some water. A another trick professional growers apply is the firmly misting with water of the plants in the evening , this water freezes and forms an insulating layer around the flower buds . Who thinks all this protection stuff is too much of a good , can better put serrata species or re wailing macrophylla types , they also produce flowers on the new wood : eg. Endless Summer , Semperflorens , Pink Bouquet , All Beauty summer or just super hardy species such as Hydrangea macrophylla ' Ursula ' .
A third reason is a too shady place , many species that get less than 2-3 sun make little to no flowers .
A fourth possibility is that you have given the plant a too high dose of fertilizer with a high nitrogen content and not enough phosphorus and Kali , supplemented with magnesium and iron ..
Should all Hydrangea ( Hydrangea ) in winter protected?
Some species such as H. serrata , H. heteromalla , H. arborescens , H.quercifolia and H. paniculata are sufficiently hardy to our climate zones to get through winter without much damage.
Hydrangea macrophylla , will usually benefit from a custom winter protection . After all, it are by offspring , naturally ' coastal plants ' , which thrive in a mild climate ( Japan , China , Korea ... )
Put them in a sheltered place , preferably not exposed to harsh winds ( east , north) or protect them in severe frosts with fleece . For young plants , a thick layer of pine bark or needles will give adequate protection to the roots and also reduce the weed growth and evaporation the summer .
Please Note: with H.paniculata ( panicle hydrangea ) H. heteromalla , H. quercifolia always ensure that the mulch is NOT up to the trunk , otherwise you may get fungus formation ( mushrooms ) ... Hydrangea involucrata : slightly susceptible to frost damage and with Hydrangea aspera : the young twigs that are not sufficiently hardened an can have some damage, but usually recovers from it during the season.
Why colors the leaves of my hydrangea not red in late summer and autumn ?
Some Hydrangea varieties posses in sufficient quantities on the substance anthocyanin ( red dye ) to develop a beautiful red leaf color in spring and late summer and fall . Hydrangea serrata types, oakleaf hydrangeas and some H. macrophylla cultivars ( eg ' Merveille Sanguine ' ) have these additional assets.
Did your Hydrangea at the nursery this beautiful red leaf color and he does not get this at home longer, then the plant is probably too much in the shade ... , min 4-5 hours of sun are preferred . ma
Hydrangea macrophylla (lacecaps)
Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
Hydrangea alphabetical index
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ursula' picutre above in acid soil, below in neutral soil.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ursula' fall color of the flowers
Iron chelate reduces the PH of the soil and reverses the effect of chlorosis in 2 weeks.
Hydrangea serrata 'Hallasan', red autumn colors
Hydrangea serrata 'Tiara', dark red leaves in juin.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Merveille Sanguine' , leaves start turning red in full sun