A mild winter like the one we just had meant 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, which is 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!
There is absolutely no debate the most asked for plant in the tree and shrub yard are hydrangeas! The great thing about hydrangeas is there is a perfect type for each customer’s specific needs. Here is a list of some of our favorites here at Van Wilgen’s.
This little cutie has been around for a few years and quickly went to the top of our list. A compact grower that matures to 3’x3’. It produces dense white cone-shaped flowers from summer into the fall. As flowers pass, the color changes to a rosy pink. Flowers are perfect for cutting. The best part of this little guy is it flowers on new wood and thrives in full sun. Extremely cold hardy.
The newest addition to the Endless Summer Collection. Bloomstruck is a no-brainer! It produces pink flowers in sweet soil and purple-blue flowers in acid soil. The red stems of the plant give great contrast against the green foliage. It will grow to about 4-5’ tall and about as wide. It prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. It flowers on new and old wood so be careful when you prune. Very heat tolerant as well.
Little Quickfire Hydrangea
Without a doubt one of my favorites! This plant has a great compact habit for a small area. The flowers are more open than other panicle forms, emerging white then changing to pinkish-red. The stems of the plant are a deep red that gives excellent contrast to the deep green leaves. My favorite quality is its scarlet red fall color of foliage. Prefers full sun. Flowers on new wood. Very cold hardy.
Hydrangea Tiny Tuff Stuff
What a performer! It is a variety of mountain hydrangea so that means it’s about as cold-hardy as it gets! You will be treated to lace cap flowers that will be blue to purple in acid soil. Handles an unbelievable amount of shade and will still flower. Great for container plantings as well because of its hardiness. Compact grower.
Original Endless Summer Hydrangea
The one that started it all! Flowers will be pink or blue depending on soil ph. Flowers very heavily. Grows to 5’x5’. Flowers emerge on new and old wood. Performs best in afternoon shade. Great for mass plantings.
Our friends at Proven Winners have created a Hydrangea chart to help if yours isn’t flowering, Click below to learn more.