Hydrangea Care for Optimum Blooms
Here are some helpful tips on Hydrangea care for this beloved St. Louis Landscape staple!
Fertilize throughout blooming season (spring – early summer)
- Higher percent of phosphorus will encourage flowering
- Too much nitrogen will yield large green leaves, but stunt flowering
- This often happens when hydrangeas are planted downhill from a fertilized turf area
Wilting doesn’t always mean that the hydrangea needs more water
- Most hydrangeas prefer moist well drained soil, but not wet (will cause roots to rot)
- Too much sun exposure may cause temporary wilting, they may perk back up within a few hours after the sun fades
If they do need water, follow these guidelines
- Heavy clay soils will produce more runoff so it’s best to use slow steady watering (drip irrigation, hand watering)
- Use mulch! This will help conserve moisture in the soil for longer periods of time as well as keep the ground cool
Location, location, location…
- Most prefer full sun/part shade, but research the type being planted. Some tolerate direct sun better than others
- Climbing hydrangeas need to be placed in full shade
- Bigleaf hydrangeas like full sun in the morning and some shade for the rest of the day
- Hydrangeas planted in less than ideal locations may need supplemental watering and mulch to keep them hydrated and cool
- Hydrangeas appreciate some winter protection
- Place them close to a barrier for protection from ice and wind (evergreens, fences, structures)
Research your hydrangea
- New wood – when flowers grow on current year’s growth
- Old wood – when flowers grow on last year’s growth
- Some (like ‘Endless Summer’) can bloom on both old and new wood. Pruning on these should be kept to a minimum
- Focus on deadheading and prune damaged wood
- Pruning should be done immediately after flowering, before the next set of flower buds are formed
- Bigleaf hydrangeas start their bud formation for the following year in late summer, so prune before they form
- Pruning will stimulate new growth and more bud formation
The Missouri Botanical Garden has hundreds of pages of different types of hydrangeas. Give us a call and we can help find a beautiful option for your yard!
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