BASIC HYDRANGEA CARE
Hydrangeas are a favorite of Indianapolis gardeners. Known for their vibrant balls of colorful flowers, hydrangeas in full bloom makes a perfect accent shrub for any yard.
Whether you are planting hydrangeas for the first time or working with an established garden, here are some tried and true tips for hydrangea care.
WHEN TO PLANT HYDRANGEAS
Plant your hydrangeas in the morning on a calm day with the weather forecast suggesting cool weather for the next few days. Excessive heat can stress young plants, and it is recommended to cover them with umbrellas if you must plant them in the heat to allow the hydrangeas to settle in.
The best time to plant hydrangeas in Indianapolis is early summer or fall. Plant them where they’ll receive full sunlight in the morning. Depending on the variety, some hydrangeas will still flourish in partial shade.
HOW TO PLANT HYDRANGEAS
Take the time to water the plant in its container. You want the plant to be damp before placing it in the garden. The preferred soil for hydrangeas is moist, easy-draining, and rich with organics. If your soil is clay-based or sand-based, adjust the soil to include compost, manure, and other organic materials.
Dig a hole that is twice the size of the potted plant. The top surface of the garden soil should line up with the soil of the potted plant. To remove it from the pot, loosen the roots without losing any of the soil. Fill the area with soil and remove any air pockets by pressing down on the soil. If the area is completely covered with soil and level with the ground and fitted-in plant soil, it’s time to water your new plant. Add mulch around the plant to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.
Caring for hydrangeas is easy as they are a low-maintenance shrub. Hydrangea plants need a lot of water in Indianapolis and thrive best in moist (not overly wet!) soil. If you water with a hose, direct the water to the base of the plant. It is better to water the plant deeply once a week, ideally in the morning, rather than a small amount every day because it forces the roots deeper into the soil as they seek moisture.
Are you going on vacation this summer? Use milk jugs or large soda bottles to create a water feeding system for your precious plants when you are away. Poke holes in the bottom of the containers, fill them with water, and cap them, leaving them at the base of the hydrangea plant.
The best way to fertilize hydrangea plants is to use a time-release fertilizer. Using a time-release fertilizer will provide nutrients to your plants for up to three months. Ensure that your soil is moist before you apply the fertilizer and only apply it to the soil as it can burn the leaves.
Make sure to note when you applied the fertilizer to determine when you need to reapply it. If you prefer a certain color of hydrangeas such asblue or pink, the fertilizer NPK ratio can make all the difference. Our garden specialists can help you choose the right fertilizer for changing the color of your hydrangea’s blooms.
Hydrangeas require very little pruning. Remove old flower heads and cut bare sticks down to fresh green growth. Remove dead wood (a stem is dead if you scratch it and it’s not green beneath the surface) and crossed branches. Ensure that you do not cut the branches back too much as it will remove potential blooms.
As you are caring for your hydrangeas, you may not see very many flowers bloom in the first few years. Once the plant establishes its root system, more bountiful blooms will start appearing. From then on, a little routine maintenance will be all you need to enjoy those beautiful balls of blooms!