Spring Hydrangea Facts
first daffodil opens up, itís a sure sign that spring is
just around the corner. For gardeners, this is the season
weíve been waiting for all winter, but now itís time to get
outdoors and see what Old Man Winter has done.
itís tempting to get the pruners and start snipping your
hydrangeas, it is important to first learn a bit more about
these plants because their maintenance can be tricky. It is
important to know the individual requirements for the many
types of hydrangeas to achieve maximum bloom and plant
hydrangea facts will guide you through spring maintenance.
Two native hydrangeas are found in the eastern
United States, Hydrangea arborescens
and Hydrangea quercifolia. H. arborescens,
or smooth hydrangea, has small flowers and can be cut back
because it will bloom on current season growth.
Hydrangea quercifolia, or oakleaf hydrangea, blooms on
old growth but may have dead wood as a result of winter
damage. Cut back this dead wood below the winter injury.
Early spring or fall are good times to plant your
hydrangea. These plants require lots of water and do best
in partial shade, although they can withstand morning sun
if they receive shade in the afternoon. Be sure to mulch
generously to conserve water.
To change the color of your French hydrangea, or H.
macrophylla, apply treatments in the fall several
times and again in the spring before blooming. Remember,
color is partially dependent on soil pH, although certain
other environmental conditions can change it. Generally,
a French hydrangea will produce blue flowers in a soil
with a pH below 6.5 and pink flowers in a soil with a pH
of 6.5 or higher. For blue flowers, add ľ ounce of
aluminum sulphate and ľ ounce of sulphate of iron mixed in
1 gallon of water. Water your plant using no more than 2
gallons per plant, once in the fall and again in the
spring before blooming. If you want a pink or light red
hydrangea, sprinkle agricultural lime around the dripline
of the shrub in the spring and fall. Lime will make a
neutral or acidic soil more alkaline.
Note: These applications may change the pH slowly, so be
Florist hydrangeas or French hydrangeas, Hydrangea
macrophylla, are a major greenhouse crop that has been
rapidly increasing. These hydrangeas are forced for
spring blooming and sold in garden centers. While they are
beautiful, they may not make the best outdoor plant. Due
to their confinement in a small pot, the root system may
not be well developed, and they may not be winter hardy.
Hydrangeas have high water needs and unless the tin foil
they generally come wrapped in is removed, they can sit in
water, rotting the roots. If you choose to plant your
florist hydrangea outside, remove all the blooms and plant
Note: Florist hydrangeas are generally hybrids with pink or
blue blooms. and their color cannot be changed