Posted by on February 22, 2017

Who doesn’t love hydrangeas? They’re hardy in the cold, easy to grow and have large, showy flower heads in the colors of blue, white, lavender and rose, often on the same plant.


How to determine the color

Did you know that the color of hydrangeas can change? While some color changes are easy (pink to blue), some are a little more difficult. If you wanted, for example, to change the bloom color from blue to pink, you need to subtract aluminum from the soil.

The color of the bloom depends on the pH. For true blue flowers, the hydrangeas need to be grown in acidic soil (pH 5.5 and lower). For pink flowers, the plants need neutral to alkaline soils (pH 6.5 and higher). For purple blooms (or a mix of blue and pink flowers on the same plant), the pH of the soil must be 5.5 and pH 6.5.

So if you’re ever wondering if you need a new plant to change the color of the blooms, you don’t! You just need to change the pH of the soil.


Planting hydrangeas

Hydrangeas do best in morning sun and afternoon shade. While hydrangeas will still thrive in a mostly sunny area (especially some varieties that do best with more sun), none will do well in heavy shade so avoid planting them under shade trees. They may bloom, but the blooms will be sparse and not fully developed.

They thrive in rich, somewhat moist soil. Be sure to enrich the soil with compost when planting and do your planting in spring or fall.

Be careful of over-fertilizing! It is best to fertilize them once a year in the spring. Too much fertilization will cause leafy growth at the expense of flowers.

When choosing a location, it is also important to make sure your hydrangea can reach its full size without having to be pruned. Plant in well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy, you will want to add roughage. Don’t plant too deeply or over water or you run the risk of root rot. Plant in the early summer or in fall.

We are well-versed in helping you choose the type of hydrangeas for your landscaping and location to plant them!


Pruning hydrangeas

But one question we are asked often is “When should I prune my Hydrangea?”

Usually no pruning is necessary. Big leaf varieties (such as mopheads and lace caps) should be pruned in the fall after the flowers fade. If you are deadheading, this can be done in the spring.

To rejuvenate, cut them to the ground. You will sacrifice next year’s flowers.

Some bloom on new wood (new stems) and should be pruned in late winter to early spring before the plants break dormancy. They are easy to grow and require minimal pruning.

Some bloom on old growth (last year’s stems).

Our spring and fall cleanups are ideal for caring for your hydrangeas! We will plant or prune them and can check their progress throughout the summer during mid-season cleanups as well.