How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner’s Guide 2022

How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner’s Guide 2022

If you like flowers, plants, the urban garden, and balcony gardening, put that fist up! We welcome you to a new section at 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 flowers of spring and summer. We will discuss the types of hydrangeas, their care, how to transplant them, pruning, and some tricks to succeed with these plants.

Where do hydrangeas grow?

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

Light: semi-shadow

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Because of this preference for non-super shady climates, hydrangea landscapes are so familiar in the Cantabrian region of Spain. On the contrary, they will suffer a lot in dry and very sunny areas, such as in Andalusia.

Temperature: neither frost nor sunshine

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 flower. If a good frost falls by chance, you can recover it by pruning it, even if you forget about flowers that year.

It is much more important than, as we have said before, they enjoy natural light, preferably in semi-shade.

How to plant hydrangeas in pots

Remember that hydrangeas are shrubs. It implies that they are plants that grow a lot; they can reach up to 3 meters high. Urbanites like us cannot allow our hydrangeas to get those dimensions – that is why pruning will be so necessary, as we will see below, but we must take some things into account when planting them.

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 many roots and require a lot of water, so a smaller pot will be uncomfortable when planning, watering, and caring for our plant.

When planting them, make a hole in the ground twice as wide (minimum) as the root ball, place the plant in the pot and fill it halfway with the substrate. Water compact the soil, prevents the roots from dancing and serves the ground to the top. Water again. If, with the first waterings, the substrate compacts and loses some level, we recommend adding a little more substrate to cover the wayward roots that may have appeared.

Watering the hydrangeas

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

  • Watering in spring and summer should be practiced daily. The goal is to keep the substrate moist.
  • The preferred water of the hydrangea is that of rain. In the absence of rainwater, we recommend distilled water. Tap water, especially those with more lime, does not do very 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 the first thing in the morning or the last thing in the afternoon (or at night). In short, when the sun does not hit hard as the evaporation of water can cause burns on the foliage.
  • From time to time, it is convenient to spray the foliage of the hydrangea to add moisture. It should be done in any case when the sun goes down so that its rays do not have a mirror effect that burns the plant’s leaves.

The summary:

How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner’s Guide 2022

What substrate to use for hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas grow mainly in acid soils (pH less than 5.5. And they do not like alkaline soils (pH greater than 7.5 Therefore, we recommend using particular substrates so that your hydrangeas grow correctly.

How to achieve acid soil for hydrangeas?

To achieve an acid soil in which the hydrangeas develop optimally, we recommend using a specific substrate for hydrangeas -a more comfortable option- or, failing that, a product with which 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 can’t find where to buy the particular substrate for hydrangeas and the iron chelate :

Hydrangea varieties and colors

There are dozens of varieties of hydrangeas also with different colors. You’ve probably heard that hydrangea flowers can change color, 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 hydrangea variety whose flowers can change color is the macrophylla hydrangea macrophylla. The trick is to control the acidity (pH) of the soil.

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

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

However, if it is hydrangeas whose flower is originally pink, it will not turn blue. Only, point out, are those with initially blue flowers, which with the variation of pH, can go from blue to pink or vice versa.

If you want to get blue hydrangeas with intense color, you can use a water-soluble fertilizer that helps activate the bluish hue.

Blueing Fertilizer at Amazon

Beyond the anecdote, you can find hydrangeas with blue, pink, white, and purple flowers. Since all the colors look great together, combining them will create a beautiful balcony.

White hydrangeas. We can find white hydrangeas, possibly the most elegant. However, we warn you that its flowers are the most delicate. The sun’s direct rays easily create spots on your flowers, so in climates where the sun beats down, it is very likely that you will not be able to maintain pure white.

Periodically fertilize and iron chelate.

Because the hydrangea must water 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. In any case, 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.

When and how to prune hydrangeas

Pruning the hydrangeas annually is essential so that each year our plant is in shape and continues to give flowers. Pruning hydrangeas should do just after winter to prevent frost from damaging the plant – cutting a pruning is like a small wound where ice can damage them.

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

  • Elder flowers and dried flowers The branches that flowered last year must be cut by a third, a couple of centimeters above a few buds. As for the flowers that are drying, our recommendation is to cut them as soon as they are wilted so that the plant does not lose strength unnecessarily.

How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner’s Guide 2022

  • Older branches. These branches do not bring flowers to the hydrangea, and, worse still, they detract from the rest of the plant. Therefore, it is best to remove them a few centimeters -about 5 cm-, above the base. Hopefully, new branches may emerge.
  • Branches that have grown in the last year do not touch! It is essential since the young stems of the previous year and that have not given flowers will most likely give rise to new flowers in the new year.
  • Branches of several years. The components of 3 or 4 years should also be cleaned so that the plant does not lose its strength between so much branching. For this reason, we recommend you prune 50% of these branches – those that have given flower 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 in the case of buds.

After the annual pruning, it is essential to fertilize the soil to begin the growth with complete nutrients.

How to reproduce hydrangeas by cuttings

Hydrangea is a plant that can easily be multiplied by cuttings.

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

15 minutes.

How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner's Guide 2022
How to Care for Hydrangeas A Beginner’s Guide 2022

Tutorial for making cuttings in hydrangeas

  1. Cut a branch with a minimum of three knots and a flower.
  2. The knots are the areas where the leaves come out. In the hydrangea, the leaves come out paired two by two, so you have to 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 branch’s base and the rest of the top knots and cut them. Stay with just one unit with the three knots below.
  5. Remove the leaves from the bottom node.
  6. As the branch must be planted in the substrate, remove the leaves from the lower node to not interfere with the planting. Then cut at the base of the knot.
  7. Cut the remaining four leaves in half.
  8. For the cutting to grip 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 cuttings prepared.
  9. Prepare an acid substrate.
  10. To plant hydrangea cuttings, you need an acid substrate. You can use a unique substrate for hydrangeas or mix a part of the acidic substrate, such as compost, with another piece of mineral soil. Fill a pot with this substrate.
  11. Plant the cuttings in the substrate
  12. In the same pot, you can plant several cuttings. Insert the cuttings in the substrate so that the first node is buried and the two upper nodes with their leaves are on the outside.
  13. Leave the cuttings in a semi-shady area with humidity.
  14. If you live in a dry climate like Madrid, you can cover the cuttings with plastic that does not touch the leaves to generate the humid environment that hydrangeas need.
  15. Wait for the cuttings to take root.
  16. It will take about 20 days for the cuttings to take root. It is essential to maintain the ambient humidity and observe that the leaves’ greenness is carried.
  17. Transplant the cutting
  18. Once the cutting has taken root, you can transplant it into a pot individually.

We hope that you have found this super guide to take care of hydrangeas useful and that you are encouraged to have this beautiful plant at home. It’s a joy! If you like these types of posts and our Urban Gardening section, we would love for you to share them and give us any suggestions in the comments. Also, we encourage you to take a look at the water plant guide.

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Where do hydrangeas grow best?

This is because hydrangeas love the warm morning sun, but they dislike the heat of the afternoon. The best place to plant hydrangeas is in a sheltered location with sunny mornings and shady afternoons. You often find this on the north or south side of your home.

When should hydrangeas be pruned?

Trimming should be done immediately after flowering stops in summer, but no later than August 1. Do not prune in fall, winter, or spring or you could be cutting off new buds. Tip-pruning the branches as leaves emerge in spring can encourage multiple, smaller flower heads rather than fewer larger flower heads.

What conditions do hydrangeas like?

Hydrangeas do best in moist, well-drained soil and dappled shade – not too sunny and not too shady. Avoid south-facing positions, especially if the soil is very dry. For a very shaded spot, such as a north-facing wall, grow the climbing hydrangea Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris.

How do you look after hydrangeas?

Add a handful or Vitax Hydrangea Feed to the soil, or compost if growing in a pot, when planting. This provides all the essential nutrients for healthy growth and beautiful blooms. Most hydrangeas will grow in an open sunny situation, but prefer light shade. They grow on most soils and thrive on heavy clay. shrub world for beautiful flowers, these elegant plants are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce abundant blooms. Colors …

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