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How to Care for Hydrangea – Complete Guide

As the warmer months approach, more than a few gardens, balconies, and terraces are embellished by the spectacular blooms of hydrangeas. These plants, so widespread and valued for their beautiful flowers, are much easier to care for than many people think. Learn all about how to care for hydrangea in this guide.

Hydrangea Characteristics

Hydrangeas are a whole genus of plants called Hydrangea. These plants commonly used ornamentally, which have their origin in some areas of Asia and America, although almost all of them come from Japan, Korea, or China.

They are shrubby plants up to 10 ft (3 m) high, but generally much lower, although some are small trees or lianas. They are both deciduous and evergreen and bloom from spring to autumn.

The flowers of hydrangeas form large inflorescences of bright and very bright colors, whose tones depend on the pH of the soil in which they are, although there are fertilizers rich in certain elements that help to achieve the desired coloration.

How to Care for Hydrangea Bush

To summarize, here are the basic hydrangea care guidelines:

Light: hydrangeas are not demanding with the light they receive.

Watering: they need soil with a constant level of humidity.

Climate: they appreciate temperate climates; they do not tolerate frost.

Soil: the pH must be between 4.5 and 6.5.

how to care for hydrangea bush

How to Care for Hydrangea: Light and Temperature

As mentioned above, hydrangeas are not at all demanding when it comes to light and sun. You can keep them indoors or in shady gardens without any problem, and the plants will thrive as long as they are not in total darkness. It is preferable to place them in semi-shaded areas, especially in climates with very intense sun, since the direct incidence of the sun can damage them.

As far as temperature is concerned, they are plants that appreciate temperate climates, above 59°F (15 ºC) from spring onwards. In winter they do not tolerate frost, so if the temperature drops below 32°F (0 ºC), they should be moved indoors.

hydrangea light temperature

How to Care for Hydrangea: Soil

This is the most important point of hydrangea care or at least one of the two most relevant. Hydrangeas need soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.5. A mid-point of around 5.5 will always be the safest bet, but since the color of the flowers depends on the acidity of the soil, many people play with this to achieve the desired bluish or pinkish tones.

With a pH below 5.5, the flowers will tend to be blue, while above this they will tend to pink. Also, you can resort to specific fertilizers or inputs to help in this process, but be very careful not to make the soil too alkaline, or your hydrangeas could suffer from iron chlorosis. In any case, prepare well-drained soils that will help you avoid waterlogging problems.

Learn more about How to Change Colors of Hydrangea.

Watering Hydrangeas

Along with soil pH, this is the other key point in the care of these plants. Hydrangeas need a great deal of water and moisture, requiring constant watering to keep the soil moist at all times.

However, overdoing it and waterlogging the soil will be fatal for our plants, which may not survive. Therefore, it is necessary to water them very often and in not too abundant quantities, to keep the soil moist but without waterlogging. Logically, soil with good drainage will help us a lot in this aspect. Also, avoid wetting the aerial part of the plant when watering, focusing only on the soil.

How to Prune Hydrangea Tree

Pruning hydrangeas is quite important to enhance the plant’s bloom in the spring. Prune fading flower clusters as soon as they fade to keep the plant vital and active.

hydrangea bush garden

Fertilizing Hydrangeas

Finally, providing your hydrangeas with a suitable fertilizer in spring will help them to produce their flowers more vigorously. Opt for natural organic fertilizers or specific fertilizers for hydrangeas. In any case, be careful not to alter the pH of the soil.

Learn more about How to Care for Hydrangeas in pots.

fertilizing hortensia bush

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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