Updated: Aug 24, 2021
By: Angela and Charles Liang
The hydrangea is considered a shrub. The name hydrangea comes from the Greek words “hydor” meaning water and “angos” meaning vessel. Which together roughly translate to “water barrel”. This is because of the fact that hydrangeas are notorious for needing lots of water and the cup shaped flowers. Hydrangea flowers starting in spring and often last throughout summer into early fall.
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. Too much shade can reduce a hydrangea shrub's flower output. Avoid planting directly underneath trees, which can lead to competition for water and nutrients.
Fall is the best season to plant hydrangeas, followed by early spring. The idea is to give the shrub plenty of time to establish a healthy root system before blooming. Keep new plants well-watered until established. Hydrangeas grow well in soil containing an abundance of organic material. Good drainage is vital. While hydrangeas like moist soil. Add mulch underneath your hydrangeas to help keep the soil moist and cool. An organic mulch breaks down over time, adding nutrients and improving soil texture.
Hydrangeas are unique in that you can control their color. But keep in mind, not all hydrangea types are capable of color adjustments. A low soil pH allows hydrangeas to absorb aluminum, which turns the flowers a beautiful blue color. To increase blue hydrangea flowers, lower your soil pH by adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil. You can also add additional aluminum sulfate to your soil throughout the growing season. Pink and red flowers shine when you add ground limestone to increase the pH.
A soil pH test can help you accurately adjust your hydrangea color. Avoid pH levels above 7.5 to prevent damage to the plant. No matter what adjustments you’ve made, all hydrangeas will naturally fade in the fall. Don’t worry – the plant will showcase fresh, colorful blooms again in the spring.