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How to look after hydrangeas

Updated April 17, 2017

To look at hydrangeas, you would think that the colourful blooms from these shrubs require a lot of extra care and time, but hydrangeas are some of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. Getting to know the needs of your hydrangea, along with adding enough water and fertiliser, will ensure your success in growing these perennials. Follow these steps to learn how to look after hydrangeas.

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  1. Identify the type of hydrangea that you have. There are several different types of hydrangeas, and each one requires special care. One of the ways to identify your hydrangea is to look at the colour of the blooms and the shape of the leaves. There are five different types of hydrangea: garden, panicle, oak leaf, smooth and climbing. Compare your hydrangea to the pictures found on the site in the resource link of this article to find out which variety you have.

  2. Remove any dead branches and blooms. This should be done once a year to keep your hydrangea looking vibrant. The best time to do this depends on what type of hydrangea you have. Some hydrangeas bloom on old wood from the previous season and others bloom on new wood. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood do not need pruning, but their dead blooms and branches should be removed every year in the spring or early summer, before August. However, it is important to avoid overdoing it as this may result in cutting off the buds for next season's blooms. Examine each stem carefully and use a pair of garden scissors or loppers to cut off any dead blooms at the stem. The older branches can be cut off at the base of the plant, but extra care should be taken to avoid cutting off any stems with buds. Hydrangeas that grow on new wood can be pruned in early spring.

  3. Check the moisture level of the soil and water the hydrangea regularly. While hydrangeas tend to grow better in partially shaded areas where there is less possibility of the soil drying out, they still need to be watered regularly during the summer. Touch the soil around the hydrangea and make sure that it feels moist. When you water the hydrangea, avoid adding too much water. Use a watering can instead of a water hose. Remember that hydrangeas grow better in well drained soil.

  4. Spread two to four inches of mulch around the base of the shrub in the fall. It may also be necessary to cover your hydrangea with plastic wrapping or burlap to keep frost and cold wind from damaging it during the winter. You can apply an all-purpose fertiliser once a year, preferably in the early spring, directly to the soil. Only a small amount of fertiliser is needed.

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Things You'll Need

  • garden scissors
  • loppers
  • watering can
  • mulch
  • all purpose fertiliser

About the Author

Victoria Robles

Victoria Robles graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in Paralegal Studies in 2007. She also earned her associate degree in business from Champlain College in 2002. Robles is a former job coach with three years of experience in editing real estate marketing materials and writing resumes for job seekers at her local workforce center.

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