Hydrangeas

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Hydrangeas (Infographic)

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea species) are classic flowering garden shrubs. Gardeners love growing Hydrangeas because they are so easy to grow. They will bloom brilliantly with no effort from the gardener. Perfect for the lazy gardener. Here are tips on how to grow Hydrangeas in your garden.

Hydrangeas Infographic

Hydrangeas Infographic
Hydrangeas Infographic

Tips on How to Grow Hydrangeas

1. Your Hydrangeas are Happiest in Part Shade to Full Sun 

Hydrangeas can tolerate part shade. In fact, they grow well in dappled shade. However, for colder climates, full sun locations are ideal. You will be rewarded with more hydrangea blooms in sunnier locations. 

2. Get the Soil pH Right for Your Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas need to be planted in moist, well-drained soil. The color of the hydrangeas flowers is influenced by the soil’s PH. If you want blue/purple flowers, plant your hydrangeas in acidic soil while if you want pink flowers, plant your hydrangeas in alkaline soil. You can add soil acidifiers to get the beautiful blue hydrangea blossoms.

3. Hydrangeas will Thrive Even When Under Watered

Hydrangeas are drought resistant and don’t need to be watered daily. Although if you have the bigleaf Hydrangea macrophylla variety, they will do best when once a week. However, if you skip a week, your hydrangeas will still thrive. If you want your hydrangea to flower, you should water it at least once a week.

4. Don’t Forget to Fertilize Your Hydrangeas

Fertilize your hydrangeas once a year. Use a balanced organic fertilizer on your hydrangeas.

5. Pruning Your Hydrangeas is not Essential

Pruning is not essential for your hydrangeas to produce beautiful flowers. If you forget to prune your hydrangeas one year, they will still bloom nicely the following year. However, I do recommend pruning your hydrangeas in late winter just to tidy them up a bit and when you prune, you will have larger blooms next year.  

Prune when your hydrangea is done flowering, cut the dead branches and leave the rest of the branches alone. If unsure, it is better to do less pruning than more!

6. Your Hydrangeas are Garden Pest Resistant

Deers, squirrels, and rabbits will not bother your hydrangeas (at least they don’t bother mine!). Plant hydrangeas freely in your garden with no worries of garden critters. 

Facts About Hydrangeas 

NameHydrangeas
Botanical NameHydrangea species
Zones3a-8
Sun or ShadePart Shade to Full Sun
SoilMoist, Well-Drained
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorPink, Blue, Purple, or Cream
Deer Resistant?Yes
Hydrangea Facts

Tips for Planting Your Hydrangeas

Where is the Best Place to Plant Hydrangeas?

Plant hydrangeas in part-shade to full sun locations. They prefer moist, well-drained soil. Plant in a group of 3 to 5 and the hydrangea flowers will look brilliant all in a row. 

How to Plant Hydrangeas?

Before planting your hydrangeas, you need to prepare the soil first. Prepare the soil by adding compost, all-purpose fertilizer, and manure. Then dig a hole that is at least twice the width of the hydrangea root ball. Plant your hydrangea, then water.  Keep your newly planted hydrangea watered until it’s established.

When is the Best Time to Plant Hydrangeas?

The best time to plant hydrangeas is in the spring or the fall. 

How Do You Propagate Your Hydrangeas?

It is really easy to propagate hydrangeas from stem cuttings. Simply cut off a 4-inch long stem from any hydrangea shrub or hydrangea arrangement (yes, you can propagate from cut hydrangeas!) Dip the hydrangea stem in rooting hormone and then plant in moist soil or sand. Keep the hydrangea stem cuttings in part shade and keep them well watered. Wait for the roots to develop. You can check occasionally by gently tugging on the hydrangea stem cutting, if there is resistance, then you know there are roots. Transplant 3-4 rooted stem cuttings in a pot and let it grow into a nice full shrub. It will take around 3 years for the hydrangea shrub to start flowering. 

Hydrangeas: Frequently Asked Questions

Hydrangeas: Varieties 

Popular Hydrangeas varieties are Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf or Mophead hydrangea), Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea), and Hydrangea anomala (Climbing hydrangeas).

Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf or Mophead hydrangea)

Hydrangea macrophylla or Bigleaf Hydrangeas are easy to grow, low maintenance hydrangeas. They don’t require a lot of care from the gardener to produce beautiful flowers. The flowers of Hydrangea macrophylla are large round balls of blue, pink, or white flower heads. They make beautiful cut flowers.

Hydrangea paniculata 

Hydrangea paniculata are large hydrangeas that can grow up to 30 feet tall. The flowers are cone-shaped and big (8-10 inches long). Hydrangea paniculata does best in a full sun location. It also needs watering to bloom nicely. It is a cold-hardy hydrangea variety that does well in places with cold winters (Zones 3a-8)

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea) 

Hydrangea quercifolia or Oakleaf hydrangeas are easy to grow hydrangea shrubs in your garden. It produces beautiful white flowers and leaves that look like oak leaves. The flowers last a long time, they start off creamy white then as the weather cools, the flowers turn to a pinkish tint and the leaves turn into shades of burgundy, brown and yellow. The flowers look stunning against the burgundy-purple oak leaves. 

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris (Climbing hydrangeas)

Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris is a climbing hydrangea that is hardy to zone 4. It is tolerant of most soil conditions and will be happy in full sun or shade. It looks amazing climbing on trees with beautiful white flowers. It is similar to ivy, it has roots that cling so you can have climbing hydrangeas on bricks outside homes and walls. 

What Fertilizer Should You Use on Your Hydrangeas?

Use a balanced fertilizer once a year on your hydrangeas. You can also add soil acidifiers if you want blue hydrangea blooms. 

What are the Common Problems that Afflict Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas are rarely afflicted with pests and diseases. In the many years I’ve grown hydrangeas in my garden, I’ve never encountered any issues. Except for one year, my hydrangeas did not flower. I suspect the reason for not flowering was either my hydrangea was pruned incorrectly or it was not watered enough. The following summer, I watered my hydrangeas at least 2-3x a week. I also made sure to err on the side of under pruning. My hydrangea flowered beautifully after that. 

You May Also Be Interested in These Easy to Grow Flowering Plants:

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Peonies

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Tulips (Infographic)

12 Easy to Grow Flowers for the Lazy Gardener

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Irises

Lazy Gardener’s Guide: How to Grow Hydrangeas (Infographic)

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