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How to Grow and Care For Hydrangeas

A large purple hydrangea bush
Jordan Feeg/Shutterstock.com

Hydrangeas are stunning flowering shrubs that can add elegance and charm to any garden. With their large and vibrant blooms, they have become a popular choice among gardeners. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for hydrangeas, ensuring that you can enjoy their beauty to the fullest.

How to Plant Hydrangeas

Someone planting hydrangeas
Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Planting hydrangeas is a straightforward process that can be accomplished by following a few essential steps.

  • Select the ideal location: Hydrangeas thrive in well-draining soil and prefer partial shade to filtered sunlight. Try to find a spot in your garden that offers these conditions.
  • Prepare the soil: Prior to planting, add organic soil or compost to improve drainage of the soil and provide nutrients for healthy growth. This will create an ideal environment for your hydrangeas. See our note below about soil pH levels if you want to control the color of your hydrangeas.
  • Dig the planting hole: Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball of your hydrangea plant. The depth of the hole should match the height of the root ball.
  • Plant the hydrangea: Gently place the hydrangea in the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly higher than the ground. Add some more foil and firmly press it around the roots.

Endless Summer Collection

This plant is fully rooted in the soil and can be planted immediately upon arrival, weather permitting.

How to Grow Hydrangeas

Hydrangea plants

Once your hydrangeas are in the ground, you’ll need to provide them with the right conditions for healthy growth.


Kind of like the transformative nature of a mood ring, you have the power to alter the flower color of specific hydrangea varieties, shifting them from delicate pinks to vibrant purples or ethereal sky blues based on the pH of your soil.

Not all hydrangeas will change color, so be sure you choose the right variety. Hydrangeas that change color based on soil pH include most French hydrangeas and serrata cultivars.

In general, hydrangeas prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5-6.5. If you want blue hydrangea flowers, the plant thrives at a pH level between 5.2 and 5.5. In higher pH soil, your flowers will turn pink or red. To adjust the soil pH, you can use soil amendments like potting mix, peat moss, perlite, or lime.

Down to Earth All Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer

A natural fertilizer blended especially for acid lovers such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, and hydrangeas.


Hydrangeas need regular watering, especially in hot and dry weather. It’s important to water deeply at the base of the plant, making sure the soil stays consistently moist without being waterlogged. Adding a layer of mulch around the plant’s base can help retain moisture, keeping the roots happy and hydrated.

Watering Can

With the help of the watering can's detachable shower nozzle, you can water your plants with great ease.


Hydrangeas have different preferences when it comes to sunlight, depending on their species and variety. In general, most hydrangeas do well with morning sun and afternoon shade. There are some varieties that can handle full sun, while others prefer a bit more shade. To ensure the best growth for your hydrangeas, it’s important to research the specific light requirements of your particular variety and make sure to provide them with the ideal lighting conditions accordingly.

How to Care for Hydrangeas

A woman cares for hydrangeas
Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock.com

To keep your hydrangeas thriving and looking their best, follow these care guidelines.


If you want to expand your hydrangea collection, propagation is an exciting option. Hydrangeas can be propagated through various methods such as stem cuttings or layering. Research the specific propagation technique that suits your hydrangea variety and follow the instructions carefully for successful propagation.


Proper pruning helps maintain the shape, size, and overall health of your hydrangeas. In addition to the general pruning guidelines mentioned earlier, remove weak or overcrowded stems to reduce the risk of disease spreading and to improve air circulation around the plants. Regularly monitor for pests such as aphids or spider mites.

Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears

All-steel blade stays sharp longer.


Regularly monitor the moisture levels of the soil and adjust watering as needed. Hydrangeas prefer consistent moisture but can be sensitive to overwatering. Make sure to give them plenty of water during dry periods and reduce watering during cooler and rainy seasons.

Weather Protection

In colder regions, provide winter protection for your hydrangeas by applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This helps insulate the roots and prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Avoid heavy pruning in late summer or fall, as this can make young plants grow when they are vulnerable to winter frost.

100% Natural Cedar Shavings

These work great as mulch for your flowers.

Growing and caring for hydrangeas can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to enjoy their breathtaking and vibrant blooms. By following these tips, you can create an environment where your hydrangeas can flourish.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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