Care

The well known pink, blue or white bulbs, plumes and bouquets blast out of front gardens; Hydrangea is a well-loved garden and pot plant, especially because of it tremendously abundant flowering. What's more, Hydrangea is a trouble-free plant which brings beautiful colours to your garden.

Follow these tips to keep your garden Hydrangea looking good:

Spot more

Select a spot in the semi shade. A spot in the sun will also do, but in that case reckon with ample watering in the summer months. White Hydrangeas do not thrive in the sun, its flowers turn brown.

Plants more

Dig a hole two to three times bigger than the pot root ball. Throw ample potting soil or peat in the hole. Take the plant out of its old pot. Revitalize the roots by damaging it in a few spots. This will stimulate re-growth of roots. Take the Hydrangea. If the root ball feels a bit dry, put it in a bucket of water for a few minutes, it will saturate and so have a good start. Fill the hole with soil and press this firmly. After planting, water sufficiently. Repeat watering regularly, certainly closely after planting.

Cutting back more

March is the best time to cut back your garden Hydrangea. Below you can read how to do this best. Hydrangeas can be divided into two groups, being flowering on old buds and flowering on new buds. Both require different ways of cutting back.

Flowering on old buds more

This group includes, amongst others, the Hydrangea macrophylla. This species flowers on the buds developed the previous year.
  • Let the flowers stay on in autumn and winter. They will protect the hydrangea against frost.
  • Cut the dead flowers from the branches in March.
  • When you cut a number of old branches down to the ground, the bush can regenerate.
  • If you want to reduce the Hydrangea considerably, you can cut off half the branches one year and the other half the next year. The cut back stems will not bear flowers that year.
  • Provide extra protection against late night frost for these species, so the buds will not freeze over.

Flowering on new buds more

The Annabelle (Hydrangea arborescens) and the Hydrangea paniculata are included in this group. These flower on the branches formed starting spring, and keep on flowering after being cut back. Hydrangea ‘Forever & Ever’ is the only Hydrangea macrophylla that can also be cut back this way.
  • You can cut back this Hydrangea early spring.
  • You can cut the bush down to fifteen centimeters above the ground, for a nice compact plant.
  • Do want the plant to be bigger, only cut off the flowers.
  • Cutting back Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ can always be done a bit more rigorously, resulting in beautiful big flowers
  • The plants do not need to be cut back in autumn, because the old flowers protect the plant against frost.

Fertilizing more

Because a Hydrangea flowers so much, it also needs a lot of fertilizer. For this you can use organic, universal fertilizers. These fertilizers are not only beneficial to Hydrangeas, but can be used for your whole garden

Moving Hydrangea more

The best time to move the hydrangea is March/April. In these months Hydrangeas are still at rest and have the time to recover before growing again. Also, in that period there is little chance of damage by frost.
  • Dig out the Hydrangea. Allow an ample distance from the plant when
    digging, it does not matter if the  root ball is the same size as the plant.
  • Dig a new plant hole, this needs to be twice the size and twice the
    depth of the root ball. 
  • Fill the plant hole with soil and fertilizer.
  • Do not forget to water the plant immediately after the plant is in its
    new spot.

Re-potting more

Although hydrangeas do well in pots, the root ball will get stuck after three years. You can then simply put it in a larger pot with pot soil and fertilser. If you want to keep the old pot, you can make the Hydrangea smaller.
  • Remove the Hydrangea from the pot.
  • Saw off approximately one-third- of the root ball.
  • Place it back in its old pot and add pot soil and fertiliser.
  • Then trim off everything up to 15-cm above the soil.
Most Hydrangea varieties do not flower the second year — except for the Annabelle and the Plum Hydrangea, which will continue to flower.

Water more

Most important when caring for Hydrangea is probably watering. Hydrangea is derived from the Latin word ‘hydro’, which means water. Best is to water the hydrangea regularly, it will be at its prettiest and grow at its best. If you do forget and skip a turn of watering, the leaves may sag. In that case you will need to water the plant promptly, it will recover swiftly. The flowers however may show some brown discolouring.

Extra tip

From pink to blue
Did you know that the blue Hydrangea flowers are originally pink? The change to blue is a response to the composition of the soil in which they are planted. The less phosphate and lime in the soil, the more blue the flowers will be. For this reason blue Hydrangeas are more likely to be found in the Dutch province of Drenthe. You can buy special soil additives from garden centres to change the colour of your Hydrangeas.

Tip of the day

Hydrangea macrophyllas are ideal for drying. Cut the flower at the time they start discolouring and feel a bit like paper. Hang them upside-down in a dark, well ventilated space.

Tip of the day

Garden Hydrangeas are shown to their best advantage in the shade. Especially the white varieties: they can only grow in the shade, otherwise they will not stay white and the flowers will scorch.

Tip of the day

Want to enjoy a blue Hydrangea in the garden for a long time? With a high pH-value of the soil, blue Hydrangeas lose their bright colour. To retain the blue, add aluminium sulphate or potassium alum in the period July up to and including September.