How to properly care for hydrangeas

Updated March 23, 2017

The hydrangea is a common flowering shrub that is grown as a decorative plant throughout the country. A wide range of hydrangea colours are available including pink, blue, purple and white. Though hydrangeas can grow in a variety of climates, you must meet certain basic needs for the plants to flourish and produce the large flower groups for which hydrangeas are known. While they are generally considered easy to care for, hydrangeas do require a lot of water to thrive.

Plant hydrangeas in a location where they receive full sun or partial shade, with afternoon shade being preferred. Mix compost into the soil before planting, adding sand in small quantities if necessary to ensure that the soil drains well. For best results, plant hydrangeas in early spring after the final frost of the year.

Water your hydrangeas thoroughly after planting. Apply a thin layer of mulch after watering if desired.

Water your hydrangeas weekly, saturating the soil to allow for deep watering. During droughts or other dry periods, water your hydrangeas more often to ensure that they have sufficient water.

Apply a liquid fertiliser to your hydrangeas according to the package's directions once or twice per year, preferably in the spring and summer. Hydrangeas do not require frequent fertilisation but do well with yearly feedings.

Prune your hydrangeas each year. Different hydrangea varieties should be pruned at different times of the year, so consult a local nursery to determine the optimal time to prune your hydrangeas. The most common hydrangea are the bushes known as "mopheads" and "lacecaps," which are both pruned in late summer, but other varieties may require pruning in early spring, such as the "oakleaf," or in winter, such as the "hills of snow" variety.


The colour of hydrangea flowers is largely influenced by the soil the plant grows in. Acidic soil causes blue flowers to grow while alkaline soil causes the flowers to turn pink.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Sand (optional)
  • Mulch
  • Liquid fertiliser
  • Pruning tools
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About the Author

Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.