Problem Solving Hydrangeas

Gardeners seem to be split on hydrangeas: some gardeners say they’re easy, and others say they’re a bit fussy. But all gardeners want the big, puffy blooms that make it feel like it’s really summer. 

Here are some common questions people ask us about hydrangeas. 

Why are my hydrangeas wilting in the afternoons? 

All hydrangeas — especially young ones in their first season — wilt in the hot afternoon sun. This is called “Flagging”.

Resist the urge to water every time your hydrangeas flag. Hydrangeas are extremely resilient and they will bounce back. Just remember that overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering. 

Young plants might need more water than older, well-established plants. This brings us to our next point… 

How much water do my hydrangeas need? 

Our very own Duke Stockslagers reminds us that “hydrangeas are thirsty critters”. 

When you water them, soak them thoroughly. But remember — hydrangeas do not like wet feet, so allow them to dry between waterings. 

Dont water them every day, even if they wilt and flag in the hot afternoon sun.  After young plants are transplanted, they might need more water to allow their roots to reach down into the soil for more water, but taper off watering so often as the plant matures. 

How do I encourage more blooms on my hydrangea?

Deadhead any crispy and dead blooms to make space for new flowers. (This means to cut off dead blooms.) 

Shrubs like hydrangeas love food! Give them a general-purpose fertilizer once every two or three weeks during the spring and summer. Mix in 5 gallon buckets and pour it on the hydrangea’s root zone SLOWLY so it soaks in. Liquid plant food gets right to the roots and the flowers and shrubs love it.

Only fertilize in the spring and summer. In the autumn, your hydrangeas will need to prepare for winter and go dormant, so this is a bad time to encourage new growth. 

How do I turn my hydrangeas blue? 

One of the most fun things about hydrangeas is you have control over what color they are! Depending on what nutrients are in the soil (and water, for that matter), hydrangeas can be blue, purple, white, or pink. 

If you want your hydrangeas to be a gorgeous, deep blue color, you need to make sure your soil’s PH is low and acidic. For this, we recommend products like Aluminum Sulfate, available at Stockslagers, to mix in with the plant’s water to turn the flowers blue. 

Want happy pink blooms? You need to raise your soil’s PH. Opt for organic garden lime, also available at Stockslagers. 

Where should I plant hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas love morning sun and afternoon shade. However, in northern regions, like here in Ohio, hydrangeas don’t fare well in all-day shade. Avoid placing them in the shade of a large tree where they won’t get any sun. 

In hot areas (like the American South) hydrangeas do perfectly well in shady, forested areas. 

Hydrangeas always look fabulous in landscaping, so consider planting them right in front of your house for everyone to see and appreciate their beauty! 

What’s the best way to plant a hydrangea?

Choose a spot where hydrangeas have four feet of space in all directions. 

Take scissors and form an X in the root ball. This encourages the roots to “stretch out” from its ball. 

Remember to always water right after planting! 

Find Your Perfect Hydrangea Varieties at Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center

Every spring and summer, we carry limelight hydrangeas, Endless Summers, and more. Stop on by to see our beautiful selection of these all-time favorite summer bloomers. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff members are always here to answer any questions. 

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