How to care for hydrangea a beginner’s guide 2023

How to care for hydrangea a beginner’s guide 2023

The hydrangea is an exuberant flowering plant that adorns gardens and balconies with flowers in different shades ranging from white to pink and reddish or more or less intense blues. It requires humid environments and not being exposed to extreme temperatures or strong direct sunlight to grow strong and beautiful. 

Also, did you know that changing the color of hydrangea is possible? That’s right, one of its most curious peculiarities is that hydrangeas can change the color of their flowers, and there are a series of tips you can put into practice to help the plant achieve this. white hydrangea

Of course, it will take some time, but if you want to know how to change the color of hydrangeas, in this OneHOWTO article, we explain what you have to do so that your flowers surprise you and the ‘magic’ reaches your garden

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If you like flowers, plants, urban gardens, and balcony gardening, give it a fist bump! We welcome you to a new section in Handfie: urban gardening. To celebrate the arrival of good weather, in this first guide, we will delve into hydrangeas, one of the most beautiful and long-awaited spring and summer flowers. We will cover the types of hydrangeas, their care, how to transplant them, pruning, and some tricks to succeed with these plants.

Where do hydrangeas grow?

Despite what you may think because of how beautiful their flowers are, hydrangeas are shrubs that grow pretty quickly. It is essential to know that it is a plant that prefers shade and semi-shade to live and does not get direct sunlight. The light, yes, not the full sun because it will burn its leaves and prevent flowering or dry the flowers quickly.

Light: semi shade

Because of this preference for non-super sunny climates, hydrangea landscapes are familiar in the Bay of Biscay in Spain. On the other hand, white hydrangea they will suffer a lot in dry and very bright areas like some places in Andalusia.

Temperature: neither frosty nor sunny

The temperature at which hydrangeas grow and develop is wide. In any case, avoid exposing them to temperatures below -5ºC and temperatures above 30ºC. Extreme temperatures will cause them to freeze or burn, and as a result, they will not bloom. If a good frost falls on it, you can recover it by pruning it, although forget about flowers that year.

It is much more important that, as we have said before, they enjoy natural light, preferably in partial shade.

How to plant hydrangeas in pots

Remember that hydrangeas are shrubs. It implies that they are plants that grow quite a lot; they can reach up to 3 meters high. Urbanites like us cannot allow our hydrangeas to get these dimensions -that is why pruning will be so necessary, as we will see below-but, we do have to consider some things when planting them.

How to care for hydrangea a beginner’s guide 2023

To plant hydrangeas, I recommend planting them in pots of at least 30 centimeters in diameter or typical long planters (minimum approx. 60 x 25 cm.). Hydrangeas take a lot of roots and require a lot of water, so a smaller pot will be inconvenient when planning watering and care for our plant.

When planting them, make a hole in the ground twice as wide (minimum) as the root ball, put the plant in the pot, and fill it halfway with the substrate. Water so that the soil is compacted and prevents the roots from dancing, serving with the substrate to the top. Water again.

 If with the first irrigations, the substrate becomes compacted and loses some level, we recommend adding a little more substrate to cover the wayward roots that may have appeared.

How to care for hydrangea a beginner’s guide 2023

watering the hydrangeas

As critical as the light conditions, or more so, is the hydrangea’s need for watering. This plant requires a lot of water. white hydrangea

  • Watering in spring and summer should be practiced daily. The goal is to keep the substrate moist.
  • The preferred water of the hydrangea is rainwater. In the absence of rainwater, we recommend distilled water. Tap water, especially those with more lime, does not go too well since it can cause a lack of iron in the substrate and the consequent yellowing of the leaves.
  • To water hydrangeas, the best time is first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon (or at night). In summary, when the sun does not hit hard, the evaporation of the water can cause burns on the foliage.
  • From time to time, it is convenient to spray the foliage of the hydrangea to provide it with moisture. In any case, it should be done when the sun goes down so that its rays do not create a mirror effect that burns the leaves of the plant.

What substrate to use for hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas grow mainly in acidic soils (pH below 5.5) and do not like alkaline soils (pH above 7.5). For this reason, we recommend using particular substrates, so your hydrangeas grow correctly.

How to achieve an acid soil for hydrangeas?

To achieve an acidic soil in which hydrangeas develop optimally, we recommend using a specific substrate for hydrangeas -the most comfortable option- or, failing that, a product to lower the pH of the universal substrate. For example, you can use an iron-rich fertilizer like the iron chelates sold.

We leave you the direct link in case you cannot find where to buy the particular substrate for hydrangeas and the iron chelate :

Varieties of hydrangea and colors white hydrangea

There are dozens of varieties of hydrangeas also with different colors. You’ve probably heard that you can change the color of hydrangea flowers, but this is only half true. Some kinds of hydrangeas can change the color of their flowers depending on the pH (acidity) of the substrate.

The variety of hydrangea whose flowers you can change color is the macrophylla ( Hydrangea macrophylla ). The trick is to control the acidity (pH) of the soil.

Acid soils (pH less than 5.5. They usually give blue flowers.

Low-acid soils (pH higher than 5.5. They tend to give pink flowers. Be careful not to overdo it by raising the pH because in alkaline soils (pH higher than 7.5. , hydrangeas do not grow well.

How to care for hydrangeas a beginner’s guide 2023

However, in the case of hydrangeas, whose flower is originally pink, it cannot be changed to blue. 

The only thing that takes note of is those with initially blue flowers, which, with the change in pH, can go from blue to pink or vice versa.

If you want deep blue hydrangeas, you can use a water-soluble fertilizer that helps activate the bluish color. Beyond the anecdote, you can find hydrangeas with blue, pink, white, and purple flowers. Since all the colors look great together, combining them will result in a beautiful balcony.

White hydrangeas. We can find white hydrangeas, possibly the most elegant. However, we want to warn you that its flowers are the most delicate. The direct rays of the sun create spots on its flowers easily, so in climates where the sun beats down, you will likely be unable to maintain a pure white.

Fertilize periodically and iron chelate

Because the hydrangea must be watered regularly, this will cause the nutrients in the substrate to be diluted; that is, we must periodically add nutrients to the substrate.

The most suitable fertilizers are those specifically for hydrangeas, but you can also use a slow-release fertilizer. If the leaves turn yellow, especially the new ones, it will be due to a lack of iron, so you should apply an iron chelate immediately. white hydrangea

When and how to prune hydrangeas

Pruning hydrangeas annually is essential so that our plant is in shape and continues to flower each year. Pruning hydrangeas should be done just after winter to prevent frost from damaging the plant -the cut of pruning is like a small wound through which the ice can damage them-.

To carry out pruning, it is essential to distinguish the types of branches. Depending on the branch type, they will have to be cut or not, and they will be cut in one way or another. In any case, the branches should be cut at an angle of 45º.

  • Elder flowers and dried flowers. The branches that flowered last year should be cut by a third, a couple of centimeters above some buds. As for the flowers drying up, we recommend cutting them as soon as they are withered so that the plant does not lose strength unnecessarily.
  • Older branches. These branches do not provide flowers to the hydrangea, and worse still, they reduce the strength of the rest of the plant. Therefore, it is best to remove them a few centimeters -about five cm-above the base. With luck, new branches can emerge.
  • Branches that have grown in the last year. They don’t touch! It is essential since the young components of the previous year that have not given flowers will most likely give rise to new flowers in the new year.
  • Multi-year branches. Cleaning the components 3 or 4 years old is also convenient so that the plant does not lose its strength between so many units. For this reason, we recommend pruning 50% of these branches – those that have flowered that year, those that go inwards and entangle the bush, those that are poorly formed, etc. In this case, it should be done just above where the next branch emerged and above them if there are buds.

After the annual pruning, it is essential to fertilize the soil so that the growth period begins with a complete mix of nutrients.

How to reproduce hydrangeas by cuttings

The hydrangea is a plant that can be easily multiplied by cuttings.

The ideal time to do this is at the end of the flowering period when the hydrangea still has flowers and before they wither. Below is the step-by-step.

15 minutes. white hydrangea

Tutorial to make cuttings in hydrangeas

  1. Cut a branch with a minimum of three nodes and a flower.
  2. The nodes are the areas where the leaves come out. The leaves are paired two by two in the hydrangea, so you must choose the right branch and cut from the base.
  3. Cut the flower and the top knots.
  4. First of all, remove the flower with pruning shears. Then, count the first three knots from the base of the branch and the rest of the top knots, and cut them off. Keep only one unit with the three nodes below.
  5. Remove the bottom node leaves.
  6. As the branch must be planted on the substrate, remove the leaves from the lower node so that it does not interfere with the planting. Then cut through the base of the knot.
  7. Cut the remaining four leaves in half.
  8. To make the cutting hold more tightly and not lose water through the leaves, cut the leaves of the remaining nodes in half. With this, we would already have the cutting prepared.
  9. Prepare an acid substrate.
  1. To plant hydrangea cuttings, you need an acidic substrate. You can use a unique substrate for hydrangeas or mix one part of an acid substrate, such as compost, with another piece of mineral soil. Fill a pot with this substrate. white hydrangea
  2. Plant the cuttings in the substrate
  3. In the same pot, you can plant several cuttings. Introduce the cuttings in the substrate so that the first node is buried and the two upper nodes with their leaves are outside.
  4. Leave the cuttings in a semi-shaded and humid area.
  5. If you live in a dry climate like Madrid, you can cover the cuttings with plastic -which does not touch the leaves- to generate the humid environment that hydrangeas need.
  6. Wait for the cuttings to take root.
  7. The cuttings will take about 20 days to take root. During this time, it is essential to maintain the ambient humidity and that you observe that the greenness of the leaves is maintained.
  8. Transplant the cutting
  9. Once the cutting has taken root, you can transplant it individually into a pot.

How to care for hydrangea a beginner’s guide 2023

We hope that this super guide to caring for hydrangeas has been helpful to you and encourages you to have this beautiful plant at home. It is a delight! If you like this type of post and our Urbanite Gardening section, we would love for you to share it and give us any suggestions in the comments. Also, we encourage you to look at the water plant guide.

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