Hydrangea Plant Care:
Hydrangeas are popularly seen in many gardens, grown as shrubs, and now showing a rise in popularity among floral designers. After receiving potted hydrangeas from a local florist, there are a few excellent hydrangea plant care tips that can maintain the health and vibrancy of your plant until time to transplant your hydrangeas. Before transplanting your hydrangeas, check hardiness and zone compatibility as these may cause your plant to prefer remaining a houseplant.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Light Requirements
Hydrangeas thrive as garden plants and shrubs so house them in areas exposed to full sun or partial shade. However, protect your hydrangea plants from cool, drying winds which could quickly reduce the amount of moisture in the soil.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Water Requirements
Hydrangeas absorb water quickly. Keep the soil of hydrangea plants evenly moist and well drained. Don’t be surprised if you will need to water them every day, especially in the summer. Hydrangeas grown outdoors as shrubs and garden plants do not need as much attention to watering. However, grow hydrangeas in areas with partial shade and away from drying winds to facilitate moisture retention. Do not keep the sepals (showy part) of hydrangeas moist as this can quickly lead to Botrytis (gray mold) in many species.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Fertilizer Requirements
Standard potting soil is excellent for hydrangeas. However, the color of hydrangeas is determined by the acidity (pH level) of the soil. A large presence of aluminum ions in the soil produces blue hydrangeas. A soil level of 6.0 and above produces pink hydrangeas. The pH levels of soil do not affect white hydrangeas. Non-alkaline food such as rhododendron fertilizer should be applied once weekly during the growing season to maintain color while providing adequate nutrition.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Pests and Diseases
Hydrangea plants and flowers can be affected by several pests and pathogen (fungal and bacterial) infections. The most common pathogen infection in hydrangeas is Botrytis (gray mold) which is caused by a mild ethylene sensitivity or excessive moisture near the blooms. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust and ringspot virus may also affect hydrangeas. Pest problems that hydrangea plants may experience include infestation from slugs and other garden bugs.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Propagation and Potting
When propagating hydrangeas, root softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in the winter. Root semi hardwood cuttings of non-flowering shoots of evergreens with bottom heat during the summer. In the spring, sow seeds in containers in a cold frame. Pot your hydrangea houseplants in the late spring or early summer before the growing season. Always allow the plant to adjust to the new soil and container before continuing fertilization and heavy watering treatments.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Pruning
Hydrangeas are a pruning class IV which includes other deciduous shrubs flowering in mid or late summer to autumn on the previous year’s growth. Hydrangea macrophylla produce new blooms on the current season’s wood. Because of this, damage from cold or incorrect pruning is not as likely to cause a loss of flowers.
Pruning hydrangeas should occur in the early or mid spring, just before the growing season. To prune hydrangea plants, trim off the flower heads that were produced during the last season’s growth. Trim these flower heads to the first bud or bud pair beneath the flower head. For older plants, encourage replacement growth by trimming one-third to one-quarter of older shoots, trimming each to the base of the plant.
Hydrangea Plant Care: Interesting Facts
Hydrangeas are listed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a toxic/poisonous plant to cats and dogs. Hydrangeas contain the toxin cyanogenic glycoside which may lead to vomiting, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and increased body temperature in your animal.