How to transfer hydrangeas

Updated February 21, 2017

Hydrangeas are large leafy plants that have flowers in varying shades of whites, blues and pinks. These plants flourish in morning sun with partial afternoon shade and need plenty of water. You can alter the colour of hydrangea flowers by changing the pH levels of the soil surrounding it, which make them an interesting plant. Transfer hydrangeas in the dormant season after the leaves have fallen off in late autumn or early winter, before the ground is frozen. Hydrangeas can be transferred to other areas if you follow these steps with certain care, and anybody can do it with a few basic gardening tools.

Dig up the hydrangea with a shovel, getting as much as the root as you can, to transplant it. Make deep cuts in the soil around the plant. Carefully lift it up with your hands, because the roots will be filled with soil and will be quite heavy.

Transplant the hydrangea to a place that is mostly shady in the afternoon with morning sun. Dig a hole that is wide enough for the large plant, but make sure it is not too deep. Fill the hole in with topsoil or other nutrients. Even out the ground around the plant with a rake.

Water the plant thoroughly with a hose after transferring it to the new location. Be careful not to over water it and make sure the water drains well from the soil, because the plant will most likely rot if it is too wet.

Protect the plant by placing 7.5 to 10 cm (3 or 4 inches) of mulch around the base of the plant to prevent the roots from drying out in the winter.

Fertilise the hydrangea twice in the spring and summer with a well balanced blend, and prune the hydrangea during the dormant season accordingly.


Have someone help you transfer the hydrangea, since soil will fill up in between the roots and the plant will be very heavy. If you water the hydrangea well enough after you transfer it, the plant may not need much water until the spring. If the leaves become wilted within the first couple hours of transplanting and the soil is moist, lightly mist the leaves with water until they recover. Hydrangeas do best if they are planted in an area where they do not need to be heavily pruned to keep size down. Most of these plants grow to about 1.2 m (4 feet) tall and 1.2 m (4 feet) wide. Continue watering the hydrangea regularly during the spring and summer, and it will especially need to be watered well the first and second summers after the transfer. The first two summers are critical after the transplant and it is important that the hydrangea gets enough water and does not dry out.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Topsoil
  • Garden hose
  • Mulch
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