How to Grow and Care For Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are one of the most popular plants in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to add a pop of color to any landscape. They are also easy to care for, so they are a great choice for anyone with limited time and resources.
There are hundreds of hydrangea species and subspecies, each with its own unique characteristics. Some have long flower clusters that are ideal for containers, while others grow as tall as trees. They all offer stunning blooms and come in a range of colors, including blues, pinks, purples, lavenders and greens.
They also attract pollinators and provide food sources for them. These features are a trend that has grown in popularity as gardeners learn more about the importance of pollination and habitat for pollinators.
If you love hydrangeas but have never tried growing them yourself, now’s a great time to do so. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Stake Your Hydrangeas
If the hydrangeas in your garden are tall or you have an evergreen that will shade them, consider staking them. This can prevent them from growing too big and creating a crowding effect, says Enfield. It will also keep the hydrangeas from becoming overly heavy and causing damage to thin stems. She suggests using bamboo stakes or jute twine to tie the plant to a tree or other structure, so it won’t break.
Fertilize Your Hydrangeas
In general, hydrangeas like well-drained soil. They should be fertilized at least twice a year, with a high-quality slow-release fertilizer applied in spring and fall. Avoid overfertilizing, as too much nitrogen and aluminum sulfate can weaken a plant, says Jennifer Myers, an associate professor at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ithaca, New York.
A foliar spray of compost or a handful of leaf mold can also provide a slow-release fertilizer, says McConnell. A layer of mulch can also aid hydrangeas during the heat of summer and keep them cool and moist through the hottest part of the day.
Preparing to Stake Your Hydrangeas
Once you’ve decided where to plant your hydrangeas, the next step is to prepare them for the season. This can involve removing any dead leaves and buds, applying a fresh round of fertilizer, and adding a layer of mulch to protect the roots from dryness and rot.
It’s also a good idea to cut back the leaves of newly planted hydrangeas in early summer to encourage new growth and allow more sunlight to penetrate the soil. This can be done in early to mid-July depending on the variety and its blooming habit.
Choosing the Right Hydrangeas for Your Space
While many people think of hydrangeas as mophead-type blooms with infertile flowers that lack pollen, some hydrangeas have flowers that are more fertile and can attract more pollinators. These are called “remontant” hydrangeas, and are gaining popularity with gardeners who want to attract butterflies and other pollinators to their gardens.
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