Hydrangea? I Hardly Know Her!
Hydrangeas are stone-cold stunners. As far as landscape plants go, hydrangeas have Main Character Energy. Their voluminous, look-at-me blooms come in such a stunning spectrum of colors that it’s impossible not to stare. If you want to grow these blossoming beauties in your yard, it’s really not that difficult—you just need to pick a location with just the right amount of sunlight. We’ve put together some basic care tips to help you grow hydrangeas here on Long Island for irresistible summer color that makes the neighbors jealous.
Care Tips for Growing Drop Dead Gorgeous Hydrangeas
Successful hydrangea care is all about location, location, location! Let’s start with when and where to plant; then, we’ll cover the rest.
When and Where to Plant Hydrangeas
Spring or fall is the best time to plant hydrangeas because the soil is still cool and temperatures are mild. Hot summer temperatures can shock your plants’ roots as they transition into the soil, making it difficult to spread their roots and get established properly.
The ideal spot for your hydrangea is somewhere that gets lots of gentle morning sun but is shielded from the intense afternoon rays. If it’s entirely in the shade, you won’t get as many of those amazing blooms, but if it’s in full sun all day long, it’ll get scorched. East-facing facades are the perfect spot, but you can also get good results in dappled shade underneath a breezy tree canopy.
Watering and Fertilizing Hydrangeas
These shrubs like their soil to be consistently moist but not soggy. Avoid letting it completely dry out between watering, or those blooms will start looking limp and lackluster. Spreading a layer of mulch will make it much easier to keep your hydrangeas consistently hydrated—it prevents the sun from drying out the soil too quickly!
Watering your hydrangeas deeply about 2–3 times per week should be enough during the warmest summer months. This approach is much more effective than watering a little bit every day. Mixing compost into the soil before planting will help improve drainage and moisture retention so that water doesn’t collect at the root level and get funky.
Hydrangeas don’t need a ton of fertilizer—too much can negatively affect their growth. Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer twice per year—once in March and again in July—should be the perfect amount to keep your plant nourished and fueled for growth.
How Do You Keep Hydrangeas Blooming?
Deadheading spent flowers will encourage your plant to continue blooming for longer. Leaving the spent flowers on the plant will drain a surprising amount of energy it could spend on healthy, new growth. Cut the stem of the flower right above the first set of leaves with a pair of sanitized shears.
If you have Bigleaf hydrangeas, you can change the color of their blooms from pink to blue by altering the pH of the soil. For blue blooms, stop by Dees’ Nursery and pick up Espoma Holly Tone to add to your soil!
Tips for Pruning Hydrangeas
Pruning hydrangeas helps keep your plants looking tidy, healthy, and full of life. Removing dead or diseased branches is essential, but some light shaping can make a big difference. Before diving in, determine if your chosen variety blooms on old or new wood.
Shrubs that bloom on old wood typically bloom in spring, so pruning in spring before they bloom will remove all their flower buds. Instead, prune in summer after their flowers fade. Shrubs that bloom on new wood develop buds on new spring growth and start flowering in summer, so you can prune those varieties in early spring before their growth spurt has begun.
Hydrangeas on Long Island That Bloom on Old Wood:
- Climbing hydrangeas
Hydrangeas on Long Island That Bloom on New Wood:
“Endless Summer” is an incredible hybrid variety of mophead hydrangeas that bloom on both new and old wood for an extremely long blooming period. Prune these varieties in late summer or fall, so you don’t lose out on flower buds!
Looking for hydrangeas for sale on Long Island? Dees’ has a fantastic selection to explore, and our savvy staff will be more than happy to provide you with some care tips to help you get started. See you soon!