How To Plant Hydrangea

What You'll Need
Hydrangea Plants

Hydrangea is a spectacular addition to any home garden or landscape. Pay careful attention to the types that grow in particular climate zones and follow these simple steps to add a hydrangea or 2 to your garden.

Step #1: Choose The Best Time To Plant

Hydrangea are best planted in early summer or late fall. If transplanting a hydrangea, do this in the late fall or winter (depending on your climate zone) when the plant is dormant, or when all its leaves have fallen off.

Step #2: Plant In The Right Location

Hydrangea bushes are fairly easy to grow, but they do like morning sun and afternoon shade—and not vice-versa. Afternoon sun is simply too hot and harsh on the hydrangea. While they will grow in these conditions, they won’t fluorish. This is particularly true if the zone is above 8, with hot and humid climate. Hydrangea planted where they get hot afternoon sun will need more water, and it’s also important to keep them out of drying winds.

Select a location where the hydrangea will be able to grow to its full height and width without interference or pruning. Figure on a 4x4-foot area for most varieties.

Step #3: Amend Soil If Necessary

Hydrangea like a well-drained soil. Add amendments, if needed, and material such as mulch if the soil is too heavy.

Step #4: Water The Plants Before Planting

Since hydrangea like a moist—but not wet—soil, give them a headstart by thoroughly watering the pot before removing the plant.

Step #5: Dig Hole For Plant

While the hydrangea is absorbing the moisture, dig the hole for the plant. Don’t dig too deep! The hydrangea only needs to be planted at the same depth as it was in the nursery pot.

Step #6: Remove Plant From Pot

Tap the sides and bottom of the plant and then remove it from the pot. Lay it sideways on the ground in preparation for the next step.

Step #7: Loosen Roots

Gently use fingers, small garden scissors or a claw to begin loosening the roots. Many hydrangea plants will be pot-bound and need a little persuasion to give up their compact roots.

Hydrangeas are notorious for being compacted in the roots, so use whatever means necessary to untangle and pry them apart. Roots need to be separated in order for the plant to become established in the ground.

Step #8: Plant, Mulch And Water

Place the hydrangea in the soil so that the root ball is on solid ground. Backfill with soil and cover with mulch.

Add water. Gardening experts recommend watering hydrangea deeply with a garden hose left on a trickle, rather than a sprinkler. Do not overwater, however, as too much water can be just as destructive as allowing plants to completely dry out.

Once established, hydrangea is very easy to grow. Just apply fertilizer twice a year, water as needed and enjoy the spectacular blooms.