Hydrangea Flowers

Caring for Hydrangeas

Planting Hydrangea

For best results, plant your Hydrangeas in early spring or fall to give the root system time to establish before the hot summer sun. They do best in an area that provides morning sun with some afternoon shade and prefer a well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Plan to water deeply at least once per week, and maybe more, if the weather is especially hot or dry. Fertilize in the spring with a good organic fertilizer like, Espoma Plant-tone. Amending the soil with a good compost is also helpful and a 2" layer of mulch helps keeps the soil moist during the hot dog days of summer.

Types of Hydrangea & Care

Of the approximately 49 species of hydrangea, there are six main types commonly grown in North American gardens.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Common names: Bigleaf, Mophead, Lacecap & Hortensia. Flowers on old wood so pruning should occur late summer after flowering has ceased. Prune weak stems to the ground and deadhead spent flowers and cut stems to the last bud. Avoid cutting stems that have not yet bloomed.

Hydrangea paniculata
By KENPEI - KENPEI's photo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Hydrangea paniculata

Common name: Panicle Hydrangea. Flowers on new wood and are one of the easiest hydrangeas to prune. They can be cut back to the ground in late winter or early spring before any buds appear. They can also be pruned into a tree form and perform best in at least 4 hours of sun a day.

Hydrangea arborescens

Hydrangea arborescens

Common name: Smooth Hydrangea. Native to the Eastern United States, they are known for it's large white pom-pom flowers. They are best grown in part shade, but can be grown in full sun with consistent water and rich soil conditions. Because they flower on new wood, they can be cut back hard in late winter.

Hydrangea petiolaris

Hydrangea petiolaris

Common name: Climbing Hydrangea. These vines can reach a height of over 50 feet at maturity. They grow very slowly and can take 3-5 years before producing flowers. They grow best in full sun to part shade, but produce the best flowers in full sun. Prune only dead and damaged branches in late spring or early summer until established.

Hydrangea serrata

Hydrangea serrata

Common name: Mountain Hydrangea, they typically grow up to 2-4 feet tall and wide. Preferring part shade, they will tolerate full sun only if grown in consistently moist soils. Similar to Hydrangea macrophylla, they flower on old growth and should be pruned after flowering by cutting back stems to a pair of healthy buds. Prune out weak or winter damaged stems in early spring.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

Common name: Oakleaf Hydrangea, they bloom on old growth, prune after it's done flowering. They produce large clusters of flowers and large leaves that resemble those of an oak tree and do best planted in a rich, well-draining soil in full sun to part shade. Thriving in moist soil, a thick layer of mulch will help to retain moisture.

Your Hydrangea Isn't Blooming?

Download this handy PDF from Proven Winners®:

Why Isn't My Hydrangea Blooming? & Hydrangea Demystified Download PDF

© Rosedale Nurseries, Inc. 2022

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