Spring is here… bring on the yard work! This is the best time of year to plant, manicure, and get our landscaping in the best shape for the upcoming outdoor months. And there’s one plant in particular that I love- Hydrangeas. If you’ve ever visited Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, you have seen this gorgeous bush lining the streets and gracing the yards of every home creating a magical scene.
These stunning plants come in a variety of vibrant colors and can give a seaside feel to any yard. However, they can be a little tricky to take care of if you don’t know how to treat this temperamental showstopper. My goal is to provide education and tips to allow your hydrangeas to flourish this season…
Types of hydrangeas
Hydrangeas come in a vast array of different types and colors. Decide what color works best with your landscaping and then choose from a wide variety of styles.
Hydrangeas are categorized into four groups:
Bigleaf: most common type of hydrangea
Smooth: known for their large clusters
Oakleaf: respond well in warmer climates
Panicle: easier to grow and can range from 10-15 feet tall
Most popular subtypes include:
Nantucket Blue hydrangea: By far my favorite because of its vibrant shade. This shrub requires an extra step to keep the color from turning. The blue color thrives in acidic soil (with a pH of 5.5 or less). If your dirt is on the alkaline side (with a pH around 7-9) the flowers will turn pink… which is also pretty if you like this shade! To create acidic soil, I like to use Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier.
Climbing hydrangea: Another incredible type is the climbing hydrangea. This is perfect if you are looking to add privacy to your yard. It will cling to a fence, and stonewalls, and has the potential of reaching 50 feet at full maturity (which can take up to 3 years). It’s stunning white lacy flower bunches will certainly add visual beauty and interest to any yard!
Pinky Winky hydrangea: I love the name of this hydrangea! And I especially love the unique color progression. In the spring, the large panicles bloom white but, by fall, the base of the bunches will begin to turn pink creating a two-toned ombré effect. This shrub can grow up to 8 feet tall.
Endless Summer hydrangea: This is a unique type of hydrangea as it will flower both on the new and the old wood stems. It will produce blooms all summer long and comes in an array of blues and pinks. They can grow up to 3-4 feet tall with blooms reaching up to 8 inches! This is a hearty shrub that can withstand harsh winters.
How to plant hydrangeas
Most hydrangeas can be planted in early spring.
Choose an area with abundant light, preferably with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Dig a whole twice the width of your hydrangea container and the same depth.
To condition your soil, add fertilizers like All-Purpose Miracle Grow or Espoma Acidifier, if you’re planting a blue hydrangea. Typically, hydrangeas need to be fertilized once or twice during the summer.
Add your plant to the soil and fill with dirt. Water well making sure you get the root and surrounding soil.
If you’re planting multiple hydrangeas, space appropriately by consulting the plant tag.
Hydrangeas LOVE water so don’t be afraid to get out the hose and give them a good drink throughout the summer. Check the top soil at least once a week and water if dry. Established plants will survive off rainfall.
Pruning hydrangeas depends on the type. Typically, you prune after the flower is finished blooming and to motivate additional blooms.
Enjoy the beauty of these incredible shrubs! And, remember, freshly cut hydrangeas look incredibly beautiful placed in vases on a dining room table…! Happy planting…