Hydrangea Care 101

Posted on May 11th, 2020

A mild winter like the one we just had means a great spring for Hydrangeas. Normally when we have a rough winter, the stems would typically die back. What we’re seeing now is that some of the stems from last year are alive all the way down to the tips, as well as some of last year’s buds, which means new growth has a head start. We’re already seeing plants fully leafed out in the landscape here.

If you’re considering one for your own space, it’s important to know how to care for them to keep your plant looking great throughout the growing season.

One of the most popular varieties we get questions about is the hydrangea macrophylla, especially regarding pruning. The most important pruning tip to remember is to resist the temptation to prune all the way to the ground because most varieties of hydrangea bloom on old wood, so if you remove the old growth, it will affect the flowering for the season.

You should also make sure to water, especially if your plants get a lot of sun. A 2-3” layer of mulch around the base will help keep the moisture in as well but remember, no “volcano” mulching (where you pile the mulch higher up next stem). Mulching around your hydrangea will encourage deep roots to develop, adding to winter hardiness.

Right now, your hydrangeas should be leafed out. The size and height of the plant will vary depending on how old your plant is. More mature hydrangeas are taller right now than newly planted ones. It’s okay for some branches to still look dormant. Any twigs poking out beyond the outside edge of green leaves may be tipped back only so far that they can’t be seen. Many plants you see in the landscape are starting to form flower buds. This is a great sign. Color is on its way!

Now is also the time to feed your hydrangea. We recommend Holly-Tone, a slow release fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Once your plants start blooming you can also apply soil acidifier or garden lime to ensure they’re the perfect color for your garden all season long.

For additional tips for success, be sure to reference our Hydrangeas Demystified Guide.

You can also view our Hydrangea Talk Video Playlist on Youtube for everything hydrangea related.

As always, if you have additional questions about how to care for your hydrangeas, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here for you!