Hydrangea in pots care


Growing Hydrangeas in Pots

Container gardening with hydrangeas is relatively simple. In order to grow hydrangeas in planters, be sure to follow the typical hydrangea care instructions. Hydrangeas grown in the ground or in containers require 3 basic things; well-drained soil, the proper amount of sunlight and lots of moisture.

Growing hydrangeas in pots is a great option for people who are limited in space, or would like to create a beautiful new look in their garden. It is a great option to add some beauty to almost any location that gets enough sunlight including porches, entryways, decks, patios, and balconies. Growing in pots rather than in the ground can also be beneficial if your soil isn’t suited well to grow hydrangeas.

Planting Hydrangeas in Pots

The first step in planting is to pick out the right sized planter for the hydrangea that you have. Hydrangeas do not do very well in smaller containers because their roots are aggressive and quickly fill smaller containers. Smaller containers also dry out too fast for what hydrangeas prefer. We typically recommend getting a medium to large sized planter that is at least 2 feet wide.

Once you have the planter picked out, you need to ensure that there are drainage holes at the bottom. This is a requirement to growing hydrangeas in containers, because the roots will rot if the soil doesn’t have enough drainage. We also prefer to put a layer of rocks at the bottom to help with drainage. Proper drainage is the most critical step for healthy plants.

Next, you will need to get soil specifically designed for planters. Sometimes topsoil doesn’t drain well enough in containers. Feel free to add some compost to the soil as well for added nutrients.

When putting the plant into the pot, plant the hydrangea the same depth in the soil as the plant was growing in the pot it was growing in previously. Leave at least 2 inches from the top of the soil to the top of the planter, so you can water the planter without the water washing out of the top. Gently push down on the soil around the plant to remove air pockets and help firmly hold the plant in the pot.

Caring For Hydrangeas in Pots

Looking after hydrangeas once the shrubs are planted is pretty simple, and very similar to caring for the shrubs in the ground. Be sure the location of the hydrangea meets the growing requirements of the variety that you have. Most hydrangeas prefer morning sun, with afternoon shade to protect the plant during hot summer days with intense direct sunlight. This also reduces how often you will need to water the plants. However, some hydrangeas prefer full sun and some prefer more shaded areas. So knowing the requirements of the variety you are growing is very helpful.

Watering hydrangeas in planters is the 2nd most important step after ensuring there is proper drainage in the container. Different variables will dicate how often you should water, including how large the planter is, how large the plants are, and outdoor weather conditions. Typically, you will need to water hydrangeas in pots at least twice a week. But that can change based off of the conditions listed above. A good way to tell if the plant needs water, is if the leaves are droopy. This is the best indicator that the shrub needs more water.

Follow the same guidelines as normal for pruning hydrangeas in pots. Typically, hydrangeas do not need to be pruned though.

Fertilizing hydrangeas in planters should be done in late winter or early spring. Use a generic slow release fertilizer designed for woody plants. Never fertilize hydrangeas in late summer or fall, as that could encourage more growth, when the shrub needs to start preparing for winter.

Caring for Potted Hydrangeas in Winter

In colder climates, you may need to add extra protection for your hydrangeas in planters. The roots are more exposed, especially on the edges of the planters. We’ve made a guide for protecting hydrangeas in winter if you would like to learn more. Another option is to over winter hydrangeas in pots in the garage. That way the plants still keep cool, but will not be exposed to extreme freezing or windy conditions.

Best Hydrangeas For Pots

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Incrediball® Blush Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Incrediball® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Invincibelle Limetta® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Invincibelle Wee White® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Invincibelle® Ruby Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-9

    Invincibelle® Spirit II Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 5-9

    Tiny Tuff Stuff® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 5-9

    Tuff Stuff Ah Ha Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 5-9

    Tuff Stuff Red® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 5-9

    Tuff Stuff® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 4-8

    Endless Summer Bloomstruck Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 5-9

    Endless Summer Blushing Bride Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 4-8

    The Original Endless Summer Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 4-9

    Endless Summer – Summer Crush Hydrangea

Hydrangeas indoors and out

Those potted hydrangeas from the flower shop or supermarket are appealing this time of year with their big, floppy blooms in springtime hues of pink or blue (occasionally white). Understandably, many became thank-you gifts to moms on Sunday.

Potted hydrangeas – often called florist hydrangeas – are easy to care for indoors, providing you keep the soil moist. Don’t let them dry out! You’ll find that those large leaves and big blooms make them thirsty plants.

But don’t allow water to accumulate at the bottom of the pot. If the pot is wrapped in foil, poke a few holes in the bottom and put a saucer beneath. There’s no quicker way to kill any indoor plant than letting its roots stand in water.

You’ll be tempted to put the plant on a table in the middle of the room. And that’s fine at night, if you like. But during the day, a hydrangea is going to need more light.

Place the plant in good bright light – light that casts a shadow – with at least some direct sun. It’s fine to cut off the flowers after they fade, if you want. It isn’t necessary, though.

But don’t think that’s it. A potted hydrangea is a gift that keeps on giving. It can be planted outdoors after all chance of frost is past if you live in Zone 6 and south. (It’s worth trying in Zone 5, too. Just plant the hydrangea in a protected place.)

Outdoors, these old-fashioned charmers like to grow in partial sun. A spot with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. So is an area with moist soil or one that can be easily reached by a hose. Outdoors, as well as in, hydrangeas want plenty of water.

The main problem with these attractive shrubs is that they’re very sensitive to frost damage in spring. I’ve been known to keep an old quilt or discarded mattress pad by the back door so I could rush outside in the evening after the TV weather forecaster predicted frost and toss it over my hydrangeas so the flower buds wouldn’t freeze!

When a hydrangea doesn’t bloom in the spring, frost is often the culprit. So if it’s still chilly where you live, wait a little longer before moving your potted plant into the great outdoors.

But that’s no problem. Hydrangeas are just as pleasant indoors as they are outside.

Indoor Hydrangea Care

Botanical Name: Hydrangea macrophylla

Good hydrangea care includes cool air, bright light and moist soil.

Dozens of species exist. The best for growing indoors is Hydrangea macrophylla — the mophead hydrangea, which offers hundreds of varieties.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from

Put a potted hydrangea on a dining table, in a sunroom or anywhere you want to add instant garden ambiance.

This is a plant that really knows how to show off. Big, round clusters of small flowers cover mophead hydrangeas all summer in blue, violet-blue, white, pink or red. New cultivars are introduced with bi-colored blooms, and in more vibrant colors than we’ve ever seen.

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ produces an abundance of pale-blue blooms. It’s one of the hardiest — good to know if you live in a cold climate and plan to move your plant outdoors.

More popular varieties include violet-blue ‘Nikko Blue’, deep-blue ‘All Summer Beauty’ and snowy white ‘Libelle’.

Hydrangea Care and Maintenance

Keep the soil moist. Dry soil can be the death of this plant. Leaves that turn yellow and fall off are a sign of dry soil. Flowering plants are thirsty, so it’s a good idea to check the soil every day while in bloom.

Hydrangea pruning. Mophead hydrangeas don’t need to be pruned back unless you want to control their size. Cutting off about 1/3 of the oldest stems will give you a fuller plant. When to prune hydrangeas: After blossoms fade. Hydrangea shrubs are perennials. Woody stems are densely covered with big, oval leaves that are deep green.

Pruning hydrangea care tip: When pruning hydrangea, care should be taken not to tear the stems, which can damage the plant. Use clean, sharp pruners to cut the stem at a 45° angle, 1/4-inch after a leaf axle.

Overwintering your plant. Hydrangea shrubs are perennials. If you intend to keep your plant, repot after flowering is over and cut the woody stems back by half. Water sparingly in winter. Keep the plant cool during the winter, then move it to warmer conditions in late winter to help bring it into bloom.

If you meet the needs for hydrangea care, you can count on it to bloom year after year.

How to keep blue flowers blue. Blue hydrangeas need acidic soil (pH 5.5 and lower) or they will change flower color from blue to pink. Alkaline soils (higher than pH 7) are fine for pink varieties. To keep the blue color, add sulphur while the plant is blooming. Neutral pH (between pH 5.5 and pH 7) can make the flowers purple or a mix of pink and blue.

It’s important to know that not all cultivars can change to blue, so buy the color you want and try to maintain it. It’s much easier to maintain a color than to change it completely by experimenting with soil acidity. Besides, some varieties won’t change no matter what you do.

Preserve Your Mophead Hydrangeas

Drying Hydrangeas. Hydrangea color will be best preserved by allowing the flower stem to dry on the plant. Cut them off when the flowers have a papery feel, with a stem length suitable for a vase, centerpiece, or whatever flower arrangement you choose.

Strip off all leaves, and then find a dark, dry room where the flowers can finish drying. Hang the stems upside down while drying to prevent them from bending. Keep the flower stems separate as they dry so that none of the flowers get squashed.

Mopheads are among the most beautiful dried hydrangeas, turning soft shades of blue, green, violet and rose.

Hydrangea Care Tips

Origin: Japan

Height: 2 ft (60 cm) indoors

Light: Provide at least 4 hours of bright, indirect light every day.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy while plant is growing and flowering. Pots are usually packed tightly with roots, so water often. Use lime-free water because lime will make the soil alkaline. Water sparingly in winter, when hydrangea is resting.

Humidity: Average room humidity (around 40-50% relative humidity). If your indoor air is dry, use one of these easy ways to increase humidity for your houseplants.

Temperature: Keep your hydrangea plant as cool as possible to prolong the flowering time. Preferably below 60°F/16°C.

Soil: Peat-based lime-free soil for blue varieties.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) diluted by half. Or, use a slow-release fertilizer once in spring and again in summer. Go easy — too much fertilizer may scorch its leaves.

Propagation: Take 4 inch (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or early summer and root them in moist potting mix.

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Discover how to plant, grow, and nurture hydrangea plants of all varieties, year-round and force bursts of color to rebloom year after year. Indoors, outdoors or a mix of both…

What is a Hydrangea

Hydrangea plants are the master of all florals. They can be shrubs, climbers or trees, and there’s generally five different types, however within the Bigleaf species of hydrangea, there are even more sub-categories.

A List of the Various Types of Hydrangea

  1. Bigleaf hydrangea
    1. Mophead hydrangea
    2. Lacecap hydrangea
    3. Mountain hydrangea
  2. Smooth hydrangea
  3. Panicle hydrangea (also known as the tree hydrangea)
  4. Oakleaf hydrangea
  5. Climbing hydrangea

Within the five types, there’s up to 75 species with each of them able to grow themselves without much care and attention on your part, provided the foundations are in place to provide the nourishment needed for these plants to thrive in the right conditions.

Most hydrangea plants are perennial shrubs, but there is also the climbing variety that can reach a peak height of 15 feet. These plants will bloom from early Spring, lasting right through the summer into late fall.

In any garden, these plants are true showstoppers with their bustling blooms, but potted, they’re also a master gift and extremely popular for a Mother’s Day present and because of the gorgeous colorful and large blooms found on these, they’re also popular as centerpieces and favored by wedding planners.

An important difference between the potted variety of hydrangea (usually bought at a florist as a foil-wrapped bunch of hydrangeas) is that both foil-wrapped and pre-potted hydrangea that are bought at the store are often grown in greenhouses to speed up the flowering process. This makes caring for hydrangea different for indoor potted varieties than the ones you grow outdoors in your yard.

For the most part, hydrangea plants given (or received) as a gift, rarely last until the next season as there are steps need taken to allow for the plant to hibernate for a few months before repotting to rebloom the following season. If you received a hydrangea plant, this guide will cover what’s needed to make the plant rebloom next Spring. Don’t toss them out when the leaves brown. They can be given a new lease of life!

Both indoor care and outdoor care is covered here. Starting with the outdoor care of hydrangea plants because that’s where they grow best. They then can be cut and arranged for indoor floral displays.

The very first thing to do is know where you’re going to plant your hydrangea…

Planning to Plant Hydrangeas

Hydrangea plants are mainly sun tolerant but most do prefer partial shade. Especially for the early afternoon when south facing gardens get full sun. If you plan to grow in an area of your garden that’s prone to full sun, the most sun tolerant hydrangea is the panicle variety (Hydrangea paniculate).

All other varieties will favor climates with partial shade and some full sun, so long as you remember to water them. The hotter it is, the thirstier these plants become.

For the best-looking shrubs or climbers, it will make a difference to plan where you want these to grow because used in combination with a good garden design, they’ll become an integral part to your garden landscape.

You can use these to create floral borders along a garden path, to provide some afternoon shade around your garden bench, or plant some climbers several feet apart to create your own little secluded spot in the garden.

For inspiration without hiring a landscape designer, check out Gardenia.net’s flowering combos with hydrangea plants or view entire galleries of hydrangea gardens, centerpieces and outdoor potted variances of designs with hydrangeas on Pinterest.

Getting the Soil Just Right

The soil used for hydrangeas cannot be heavy. Waterlogging is this plant’s worst enemy. If your soil feels heavy, adding organic matter always works like a charm. As does adding a course sand through the soil or extra compost. For indoor plant soil, use a potting soil mix with some peat moss then apply a thin layer of shredded bark across the top of the soil to help with water retention.

For outdoor hydrangea, if you’re growing blue or pink varieties, you need to get the pH of the soil absolutely spot on. Otherwise, the colors will change. You may be head over heels in love with this idea because it means from one year to the next, you can control the color of bloom by controlling the alkaline level of the soil. If you have kids, this will be a fascinating project for them to get involved in and watch how things change.

How Soil Acidity Affects the Color of Blooms

Not all species of hydrangea will change color based on the soil acidity. The only ones that are do are part of the bigleaf species, mainly mophead hydrangea and lacecap hydrangea. These mostly produce blooms in blue hues, shades of pink and with a little in-between on the soil acidity, you can get them to produce violet blooms (although that usually happens by accident).

Annabelle, Oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas produce white and cream color blooms and there’s nothing you can do to change those so if you want color combos, it’s the bigleaf hydrangea varieties you’ll want to plant.

As a rule of thumb for soil acidity…

  • Blue hues require low pH levels with a target range of 5.2 to 5.5.
  • Pink hues require higher pH levels with a target range of 6.0 to 6.2.

Something to remember here is that the type of hydrangea you buy doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the color that’ll bloom. You can buy Blue Billow hydrangea and find the blooms are pink. Likewise, you could buy the Golden Sunlight (Hydrangea Serrata) and expect it to produce pink or violet blooms, then find out it blooms in blue.

It’s all in the chemistry of the soil.

If you’re determined to grow a particular shade, test your soil first. Given that rainwater is acidic, if you live in an area with a high amount of rainfall, you’ll likely find that your soil is acidic. If you have a naturally high pH level in your soil, fertilizers can be used to alter the pH before planting. It’s safer to do this than to drastically alter the pH after the root systems have become acclimatized to the soil type.

The higher the pH is, the more nutrients there are in the soil. Drastically changing acidity quickly can result in damaging your plant such as an iron deficiency causing the leaves to yellow.

Unless you plan to grow a large climber or wide shrub, it may be easier to grow your hydrangeas in pots as it’s easier to control soil acidity in smaller amounts than it is on large areas of soil in your backyard or front lawn.

How to Test Your Garden Soil pH Level

A basic test you can do to determine if your soil is alkaline or acidic is to take some soil, put it in a container, pour some distilled white vinegar on it and watch what happens. If it fizzes, it’s alkaline, if not, it’s acidic. That will only tell you if it’s under a pH 7 or over. That basic test will not give you the accurate result you need to know to control the color of flowers your hydrangeas produce. Remember, for blue florals, you want 5.2 to 5.5 and for pink, between 6.0 and 6.2.

To get those exact readings, you need a good soil test kit. The most accurate will be having your soil laboratory tested, however there’s a range of soil test kits available that are suitable for the home gardener. A digital soil test kit will be the easiest to use.

Once you know your soil acidity, then it’s just a matter of controlling the numbers.

Lowering pH Levels in Soil

To lower the pH levels in soil, the fastest way is to add aluminium sulfate. An alternative that’s not as fast-acting is adding sublimed sulfur. If you’re not in a hurry, the slower (and cheapest) way to go is gradually adding organic matter into the soil.

You’ll often hear that adding coffee grounds is a natural way to alter soil pH levels. It won’t! Fresh coffee grounds are acidic but most of the nutrients are water soluble, so if you’re going to use used coffee grounds, those are nearly pH neutral (between 6.5 and 6.8) so they’ll take forever and a day to have little effect. What may be worth trying on potted hydrangea indoors is leftover cold coffee, diluted 50/50 then added.

For outdoor areas, and any pots with a large amount of soil, the surest way to lower the pH is to add some aluminium sulfate or sublimed sulfur.

Increasing Soil pH

Liming soil is the process used to increase the pH of soil. It’s done using lime materials, mainly Garden Lime available at your local garden center. Another type is Dolomite Lime. Other materials you can use to raise the pH level is calcified seaweed and ground chalk.

The main ingredient of lime that has an effect on soil is calcium carbonate. However, if you run a soil test and find your soil lacks magnesium, Dolomite Lime contains both magnesium and calcium and is the richest liming material available for quick results.

With that being said, given that altering the pH of soil is effectively changing your plant’s diet, it’s always best to alter the pH before planting, rather than treating inefficient soil later. Lime works best when tilled into the soil, rather than layered on the surface.

How, When and Where to Plant Hydrangea Plants Outdoors

Timing can be important for many types of hydrangea. You don’t want it too hot or too warm so most will do best when planted in early Spring or late Fall. If you regularly check in at your local garden center, when you begin seeing blooms ready to purchase, that’s the time to plant hydrangea.

An ideal location for most types is somewhere that receives partial shade in the early afternoon, but gets plenty of morning sunlight. Also, take into account for wind changes as the flowers on these are delicate, so they’re best planted somewhere that’s not out in the open where stronger winds could damage the flower heads or stems.

For planting directly into your garden soil, dig a hole deep enough for the root ball, but go two to three times wider to give the root system plenty of space to develop. If you’re planning to plant more than the one, follow the instructions that come with your plant because spacing differences can vary anywhere from 3 ft apart up to as wide as 10 ft apart. Naturally, you don’t want these too close together as they’d wind up competing for nutrients in the soil.

Once the root is planted, only half fill the hole with soil, water it, let it drain, fill it in with the rest of the soil, then give it a really thorough watering.

Hydrangea Care with Pruning

Pruning hydrangeas isn’t something you should do just whenever you’re in the garden tending to your plants. The pruning frequency and technique to use is determined by the type of hydrangea plant you’re growing.

Check out this explanatory video discussing how different varieties of hydrangeas grow and bloom:

The general gist of pruning hydrangeas is this: Don’t prune hydrangeas that grow on old wood.

This includes:

  • Some types of mophead hydrangeas
  • Climbing hydrangeas
  • Oakleaf hydrangeas
  • Mountain hydrangeas

These varieties sprout buds one year, carry them through the winter to become next season’s flowers. If you do prune in late fall before the plant goes into hibernation, you’ll be removing the flowering buds, resulting in less or no flowers next season.

That being said, there is a good technique to ensure this variety continues to produce vibrant blooms year after year. The ideal time for pruning old wood hydrangeas is right around the time the flowers begin to fade. As flowers lose their color, the plant is about to use its energy to produce next year’s buds. To get the best blooms, that’s when to spend your time pruning it to increase the vigor and strength of next year’s plant.

When pruning these, you want to snip the spent blooms just beneath the flower head. For the wood canes, inspect them to remove damaged or diseased canes, keeping the healthiest parts of wood to increase the strength for next season. Without removing damaged canes (they’ll look straggly and be a lighter shade than the rest of the wood), you’ll find that because of the size and weight of the flowers produced, it can cause the bush to wilt under the pressure. Especially if the flowers and leaves take a thrashing from a heavy summer downpour.

You can also remove some of the taller canes to control the height that the plants grow to.

Speaking of height, panicle hydrangea is the only type you can (and should) prune right back, unless you’re going for a tall climbing look.

New wood hydrangeas include:

  • Smooth hydrangeas
  • Panicle hydrangea varieties

Both of these types can be pruned in late fall and early spring as the buds grow the same season, unlike on old wood varieties that carry the flowering buds over winter.

Something to remember with hydrangea paniculate varieties is that every year, it’ll grow the same height. If you only prune a couple inches, it’ll keep on growing. However, the taller it becomes, the less structural integrity it’ll have, unless you’re continually snipping off dead and dying wood to maintain a robust framework to support the plant’s weight.

Have a look at the different types of hydrangea and take notes on the pruning advice for each from Clive Lodge of FineGardening.com:

Overwintering Hydrangeas Outdoors

Hydrangeas, like most plants, do not do well with frost. They need winter protection. Both from frosty climates and heavy rainfall that can really compact the soil, decreasing aeration.

The best protection for hydrangeas throughout the winter is to layer the soil with mulch. The more the better. It’s not uncommon to use non-garden material to protect shrubs.

As Judy Lowe explains on CSMonitor.com, she’ll keep either a quilt or an old mattress protector near hand so that if a frost is predicted, the quilt or mattress protector can be used to retain the heat needed to prevent buds from freezing.

If you have a garden shed, it may be an idea to keep some kind of blanket on hand to use when you need it. Just one night of frost is enough to kill buds, preventing your hydrangeas from blooming in the Spring.

For the best frost protection, use wooden stakes roughly about 18” taller than your plant and put them around the plant to use as supporting posts to put a blanket over the entire plant and weigh the bottom down with bricks, stones or another heavy object to keep the frost out and the heat in. This doesn’t just apply to hydrangeas. Any of your perennials that need frost protection can benefit from the same technique.

If you aren’t using a blanket, the least amount of protection to use is at least 4-inches of mulch over the soil to protect the plant roots. This should be sufficient for panicle hydrangeas and smooth hydrangeas as the buds aren’t produced until it’s ready to bloom, unlike other varieties that grow buds at the end of the previous year’s season and carry them through the winter before blooming in early Spring.

For old wood varieties – Oakleaf, climbing varieties and Mountain Hydrangea varieties – draping material over the entire plant is the safest way to ensure the buds don’t get frost damage.

Hydrangea Care Indoors

Did you get a potted hydrangea as a gift?

Potted hydrangeas, aka: foil wrapped hydrangeas, have different needs based on how they were grown. Most florists speed up the growing process of potted hydrangeas using greenhouse conditions. It still produces a quality bloom – for the first year. Getting a potted hydrangea to rebloom next Spring and Summer, that’s a challenge not everyone who tackles will successfully accomplish.

To achieve the best chance of reblooming a potted hydrangea plant indoors, try these steps:

  • Once the plant stops flowering, cut back the shoots and leave just two leaves. Also, when cutting your stems, you want to cut diagonally at a 45-degree angle to allow the stem to absorb water better.
  • You’ll need a new plant pot. Choose one that’s two to four inches deeper than the current container.
  • For the soil, use a potting soil with peat moss. If it feels heavy, you can add some perlite into the mix.
  • When repotting the hydrangea, separate the roots then sit it on top of the soil.
  • Gently press the soil around the roots to get rid of any air pockets.
  • To increase water retention, put a thin layer of shredded bark over the soil.
  • Keep the potted plant either in a place near a south facing window where it can get plenty of sunlight, or use a bright artificial light, paying close attention to the heat that comes from artificial lighting.
  • In the Spring and Summer, put your potted plant outdoors in early morning where it can make the best of the morning’s sunlight that isn’t as heat intensive as the early afternoon sunlight.
  • Feed your potted hydrangea plenty of water and use a balanced fertilizer periodically. The frequency depends on the type of plant. Smooth hydrangeas only need fertilizer once in late fall. Oakleaf and Panicle varieties do best with fertilizer added to encourage blooming one in April, and again in June. Bigleaf varieties of hydrangea plants favor fertilizing every ten days or so throughout March to June.
  • By early Fall, it’s time to let the plant hibernate over the winter. For this to be effective, use a cool room in your home, or alternatively a garage where there’s limited light – the darker the better. Temperatures for overwintering hydrangeas should be 35oF to 45oF. Around six weeks before you want the plant to rebloom, gradually increase the light the plant receives and increase the room temperature by 20oF.

Watering Guidelines and Feritlizer Frequency for Indoor Hydrangea Plants

For watering indoor hydrangea, the rule to follow is not to let the soil become waterlogged. It’s best to finger test the top inch of soil twice daily and water the plant before it dries. Hydrangeas need consistently moist soil but never too moist that the soil waterlogs.

Signs of watering problems include wilting, yellowing leaves and leaf drop. If any of those are present, it’s likely the plant requires watering more frequently.

During bloom, a lot of watering is required to keep the plant’s energy levels up. When flowering stops, so will the need for as much watering. By using a finger test on the soil instead of sticking to a watering frequency or schedule, you’ll be able to adapt watering frequency to suit your plants requirements.

In terms of feeding indoor hydrangea, they need more fertilizer than those grown outdoors. Generally, a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength once weekly when the plant’s in bloom is sufficient. But, stop using fertilizer at the end of August to allow the plant to go into dormancy. A weaker solution once monthly can be used when the plant isn’t in bloom.

Where to Put Hydrangea Plants Indoors

An ideal location for indoor hydrangeas is somewhere that gives the plant morning shade and afternoon sun, is free from drafts and away from direct heat sources. It’s the reverse of outdoor growing conditions because it’s warmer indoors.

Rooms with average to high humidity are favorable. The ideal temperature in flowering season is 700F, dropping to 600F during the night and for bud development, 6-weeks of temperatures at 650F, dropping to between 35oF and 45oF for a six-week dormancy period.

To Wrap Things Up

Whether you received a hydrangea as a gift or intend on introducing these mighty florals to your garden landscape, the above guidelines will have you growing hydrangea like a pro. The only way you can really go wrong with a hydrangea is to prune it at the wrong time of the year. Prune too late in the season and you run the risk of snipping off next year’s blooms.

When you grow healthy hydrangea outdoors, a snip at a 45-degree angle to each stem can give you gorgeous blooms ideal for creating your very own centerpieces to display indoors. The easiest growing method for hydrangeas is the potted route because it gives you far more control over the soil acidity. That’s especially handy for blue and pink varieties that require specific pH levels to control of flowers produced. Change it up for next season if you like.

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85shares Hydrangea Care and Maintenance (Tips for Growing Indoor and Outdoor) was last modified: May 1st, 2019 by The Practical Planter

Container Gardening with Hydrangeas

What is more beautiful than big, beautiful hydrangea blooms to accent your home? Both in your garden and in containers, Endless Summer hydrangea can provide a stunning accent to your landscape late spring through fall. Planting perennial hydrangeas in pots gives you versatility and the option of moving your hydrangea planters throughout the season to just the right spot on your patio or by your front door. Containers give heightened emphasis to an entryway, next to a pool, on your deck or patio, or as a freestanding piece within your garden landscape.

Endless Summer hydrangeas are incredibly elegant on their own in pots. Whether you use the beautiful white hydrangea, Blushing Bride, or the rose-pink or purple hydrangea, BloomStruck™, the large blooms make an impressive statement. A single hydrangea is a simple, easy and striking way to spruce up your home. Hydrangeas can also be paired with annual or perennial plants such as euphorbia, lobelia or licorice vines. Use perennial flowers that are a complimentary color and be sure not to plant too many as it will appear crowded and busy. Sleek, elegant and simple is all that you need with the big hydrangea blooms!

Hydrangea Planting in Pots

In addition to following the general care tips for Endless Summer hydrangea, there are a few pointers to help you be successful:

Soil Preparation & Fertilizer

To prepare for these plants, use a bagged potting mix instead of garden soil. Some bagged mixes have slow release fertilizer mixed in, which help the shrubs in their first year. If you buy one that doesn’t already contain fertilizer, mix in a slow-release fertilizer with a NPK ratio of 10-30-10. Leave approximately 3 inches of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container so you have enough space to water properly. As the season progresses, you can sparingly apply a diluted liquid fertilizer up to 2 times per month to encourage bloom production. We recommend a bloom-booster formula with a NPK ratio of 10-30-20.

Watering Hydrangeas

When watering your plants, fill the container to the rim and let it drain fully through the bottom drainage holes then repeat. (If your container does not have drainage holes, drill holes or find a different container that does have holes in the bottom at your local nursery.) This is important so that you can ensure the roots are getting enough water deeper in the pot. During the growing season, and especially on hot and windy days, check the soil moisture daily. Hydrangeas require more water than other varieties because of their large blooms, so thoroughly watering potted plants is highly important.


Bring the entire container into your garage or basement for the winter months, and follow the same steps as garden-planted hydrangeas. Potted plants will not require as much mulch, but should be lightly watered throughout the winter months since they will not receive moisture from snow and rain.

Hydrangea Container Care – How To Care For Hydrangea In Pots

Can hydrangeas grow in pots? It’s a good question, since the potted hydrangeas given as gifts rarely last more than a few weeks. The good news is that they can, as long as you treat them right. And since they can get quite big and produce stunning blossoms all summer long, growing hydrangeas in pots is well worth it. Keep reading to learn more about container grown hydrangea plants and care for hydrangea in pots.

How to Care for Hydrangea in Pots

Store bought potted hydrangeas usually languish because a small container on the kitchen table is less than ideal. Hydrangeas like lots of sun and water. Indoors, the sun can be gotten from placing it in a south-facing window, but the water is best achieved by transplanting it to a larger container that doesn’t dry out as quickly. Hydrangeas in the garden like full sun, but this dries out the soil in containers much too quickly. Place your hydrangeas in a spot that receives full sun in the morning and some shade in the afternoon to keep it from drying out.

Move your hydrangea to a pot that is several inches wider in diameter than the one it came in, and make sure it has drainage holes. Leave about three inches of space between the surface of the potting mix and the rim of the pot. Water your container grown hydrangea plants by filling the pot to the brim with water, letting it drain, and repeating.

Subsequent hydrangea container care is relatively easy too. As hydrangeas grow, they can get very large. You can choose a dwarf variety from the beginning or you can prune your full sized hydrangea back. Just check the variety you have before you prune. Some hydrangeas grow flowers on old growth, and some on new. You don’t want to accidentally prune away all of the summer’s potential flowers.

Growing hydrangeas in pots in the winter requires some protection. Move your container into a cool but not cold garage or basement. Water it moderately, then bring it back outside when spring temperatures climb.

Last Updated on July 18, 2019

Ericaceous compost is a type of compost that’s perfect for cultivating acid-loving plants but with the large mophead hydrangeas, you use ericaceous compost to make the flowers bloom blue. There are some plants that prefer acidic compost and hydrangeas are one of them. There are times when you should use ericaceous compost for your hydrangeas and if you do you can choose to make your own or purchase it from any local garden centre or online.

How to make compost acidic

There’s no single solution for making compost acidic as the recipe is really contingent upon the current level of pH in your garden. Thankfully you can make some form of the compost rather easily.

  • Start off your compost pile with approximately 8 inches of organic matter.
  • Add to that high acid matter such as pine needles, oak leaves, or coffee grounds.
  • Compost will eventually go back to a neutral pH but the pine needles help to keep the soil acidified until the pine needles decompose.
  • Mix approximately 1 or 2 inches of screened garden soil over your compost so that all of the microorganisms that you have in your soil will naturally help the decomposition process.

Once you have this done you can, of course, take from your compost pile to help with your hydrangeas and spread it along borders under hydrangeas you want to encourage a blue flowers from.

Ericaceous potting soil mix

If you are growing your hydrangeas in pots you can use a mixture of 20% perlite, 10% sand, 10% sterilised soil, and 10% compost and then add peat moss to account for the rest. This type of mixture is ideally suited for high acid content thanks in large part to the peat moss. It is a perfect mixture to utilize in pots.

You can of course just buy ericaceous compost from your local garden centre, if you take this route we recommend a John Innes soil-based ericaceous compost.

When to use ericaceous compost for hydrangeas

In order to change the color of your hydrangeas if you have a big leaf variety like a mop head or lacecap you can use ericaceous compost. Ericaceous compost will make your soil more acidic. Acidic soil produces blue flowers. Not all hydrangeas will produce blue flowers so make sure that you have a big leaf variety, like a mop head or lacecap. In general, white hydrangeas cannot change their colours.

If you’re going to use ericaceous compost to change the color of your hydrangea flowers to blue, get an at-home pH test kit and test the pH levels of your soil. Just because of hydrangea is called something with blue in it or is producing blue flowers at the nursery when you buy it doesn’t mean that you’ll get blue at home automatically. In fact the names hardly ever pertain to the colors you get and the color of the flowers when you buy your hydrangea in the nursery is a reflection of the soil at that nursery and not the soil in your home.

That said, test the pH level and then make changes with the compost as necessary. This is something that might take a few weeks or a month or more to fully change. This is especially true if your soil is very alkaline.

Bear in mind that your soil naturally returns to its original state year after year so if you want to keep your flowers blue you’re going to have to use this compost on a regular basis and regularly check the acidity to guarantee results.

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Growing Hydrangeas in Containers

19 Jul Growing Hydrangeas in Containers

Posted at 16:26h in Gardens by CL Fornari

You say you live where it’s cold, so the blue hydrangeas you plant never flower? Do you want to grow mophead or lacecap hydrangeas but you’re just a bit too far north? The solution is to grow these wonderful shrubs in containers.

I placed several of my potted hydrangeas under the grape arbor this year. They get direct sun in the morning or late afternoon, but love the filtered sunlight during the heat of the day.

First, get a large pot that’s light weight. Choose a good looking one because these attractive plants deserve a pot that enhances their appearance.

Next, be sure your container has drainage holes, and don’t cover them with anything. Use a good quality potting mix (I use COAST OF MAINE INC – Premium Blend Potting Soil, 8-Qts. or Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix) and plant your hydrangea, filling the entire pot with soil from bottom to top. Don’t put rocks, shards or mulch in the bottom first. (If you think you need that “for drainage, you really need a copy of Coffee for Roses: …and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening !)

I also mix a handful of organic fertilizer into the potting soil before the pot is filled. Once your hydrangea is planted in the pot, water it well and place it will get at least 2 hours of sun, but not in the hottest part of the day. Hydrangea flowers last longest when they are protected from mid-day sun.

This BloomStruck hydrangea is in a foam pot that’s made to look like terra-cotta.

Water your potted hydrangea deeply and well when it’s dry, and then wait until the surface of the soil starts to dry before soaking again. On hot days you might be watering every day, but in cooler weather every three or four days. Don’t let the plants get too dry and wilted or the flowers will brown prematurely.

This is a shorter growing lacecap with HUGE flowers. It’s called Let’s Dance Diva (just Diva to her friends).

Most potting soils are neutral pH which will produce pink flowers on the varieties that are changeable when in acid or alkaline soil. To keep your blue hydrangeas blue, use Aluminum Sulfate such as Bonide 705 Aluminum Sulfate, 4-Pound mixed at the rate according to the package. Know that the change doesn’t happen quickly, so give it a few weeks to work.

In the fall, once the leaves color and fall off of your plant, pull the pots into an unheated garage or other space that’s cold but doesn’t go much below 35 degrees. Check the soil every couple of weeks and water if it’s dry, but leave it alone when it’s still moist. Don’t cut the canes of mophead or lacecaps down at this point – leave as is or you’ll be removing the flowers that will open the following summer. The only pruning you should do is in the spring to remove dead wood that has no leaves on it.

Your hydrangea might start to break dormancy inside in the spring. If it’s getting some light, leave it where it is. If you’ve stored it in a dark place, however, bring it into a room with a window.

You can over-winter Hydrangea paniculata plants in pots as well. This is a Bobo, one of my favorite short paniculata varieties. These white-flowering hydrangeas bloom on new growth so you can shape them a bit in the spring if desired.

When you pull the potted hydrangea plants outside after all danger of frost is past, place them first in the shade. After two weeks you can place them in part-sun and enjoy their flowers for another summer.

You say it sounds like too much trouble to bring pots of shrubs inside for the winter? My reply is that we carry lawn furniture inside to protect it, and these long-flowering shrubs bring such pleasure that they are worth some simple actions to enjoy their special flowers.

Can I Plant My Gift Hydrangea Outside?

Before Easter and Mothers Day our greenhouse is filled with beautiful potted Hydrangea plants. These make lovely gifts but since they are raised in a greenhouse, and are in flower months before their natural blooming time when grown outdoors, many wonder if it’s possible to keep them and plant them in the landscape later. Here are some tips for success:

  1. Most hydrangeas that are sold as gift plants are hardy on Cape Cod. Like other Hydrangea macrophylla, they will form flower buds in August that will open the following summer. These buds are vulnerable to cold damage if the temperatures drop below 10 degrees in the winter. So like all of our pink and blue hydrangeas, these will have reduced flowering the summer after a cold winter.
  2. Potted Hydrangea plants dry out quickly. This is the most challenging thing about keeping them indoors in April and May. The best thing to do is to immediately transplant your greenhouse Hydrangea into a slightly larger pot. Be sure the pot you use is about an inch larger on all sides and has a drainage hole. Use fresh potting soil to fill the spaces, and don’t cram it in too firmly…pushing the potting soil in a pot squeezes the air out, and those small air spaces are important because that’s where the water flows and the roots grow.
  3. After repotting, keep your Hydrangea in a bright location but not in the sunniest window you have. An Eastern facing window is perfect. Plants will also thrive when near but not directly in a Southern or Western window.
  4. Water your Hydrangea when the soil starts to feel dry – do not let it dry to the point of wilting. Do not have the pot sit in a saucer of water for longer than an hour as this may cause roots to rot.
  5. At the end of May, put your Hydrangea outside in a part-shade location during the day and bring it in at night for a week. After that week, plant your Hydrangea in a place where it will get morning sun and afternoon shade. Keep in mind that most Hydrangea shrubs grow at least four feet high and wide, so don’t let its current small size fool you.
  1. Red toned Hydrangea flowers will be a dark purple or blue in our naturally acidic soils. If the soil remains alkaline the flowers will stay red or pink.

    These greenhouse-grown hydrangeas may not produce more flowers this summer but given the right location and winter weather they should grow and flower the following year.

    Hydrangeas don’t make great houseplants long-term. But if you live in areas where the winter temperatures go below 5 degrees on a regular basis, you can plant these in pots and over-winter them in a garage or other area where they can be dormant but not go much below 30 degrees. They will leaf out in the garage in March – don’t worry – just keep the soil damp but not swampy wet and put the plants outside once all danger of frost is past. They should come into flower in late-June or early July. Fertilize with equal parts Osmocote and Holly-tone or Flower-tone (one tablespoon each per pot) applied when you place the pot outside for the summer.

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