Beginner’s Guide: How to Care for Your Hydrangea (videos and infographic)

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea species) are one of the most beautiful and easiest flower shrubs to grow in your garden. It is a perennial that will bloom beautifully year after year with little to no effort. Hydrangeas are so easy to grow that even if you don’t prune, water, or fertilize your hydrangeas, they will thrive. Here is a beginner’s guide on how to care for your Hydrangea.  Check out my video below on how to care for hydrangeas for lazy gardeners!

Beginner’s Guide to Hydrangea Care for Lazy Gardeners (video)

Hydrangeas Infographic

hydrangeas Infographic
Hydrangeas Infographic

Hydrangea Planting Basics

Botanical NameHydrangea species
Flower ColorPink, Blue, Purple or Cream
SunPart Shade to Full Sun
SoilMoist, Well-Drained
Bloom TimeSummer
Hydrangea Planting Basics

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea species): Varieties

Popular Hydrangeas varieties are Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf or Mophead hydrangea), Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea) and Hydrangea anomala (Climbing hydrangeas).

Planting Your Hydrangeas

Where to Plant Hydrangeas (Hydrangea species)

Get the location right from the start, and your hydrangea will bloom nicely year after year. Hydrangeas can tolerate partial shade but make sure it is still getting 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. In cooler climates, full sun locations are ideal. If your hydrangea gets insufficient sunlight, it will produce fewer flowers.

Hydrangeas also prefer moist, well-drained soil. Plant in a group of 3 to 5 and the hydrangea flowers will look brilliant all in a row. 

SunPart Shade to Full Sun
SoilMoist, Well-Drained

How to Plant Hydrangeas 

Before planting your hydrangeas, you need to prepare the soil first. Prepare the soil by adding compost, all-purpose fertilizer, and manure. Then dig a hole that is at least twice the width of the hydrangea root ball. Plant your hydrangea. Water thoroughly after planting.  

When is the Best Time to Plant Hydrangeas?

The best time to plant hydrangeas is in the spring or the fall. 

How to Choose Healthy Hydrangeas to Plant?

When choosing hydrangeas at a garden center, it’s best to pick hydrangeas with plump, green, healthy leaves. You also want hydrangeas with flowers. This way, you can be sure that you are buying hydrangeas that are mature enough to flower since young hydrangeas will not flower the first few years of life. 


How to get Blue Hydrangea Flowers?

You can grow beautiful blue Hydrangea flowers in acidic soil. If your soil is not naturally acidic, you can change your soil pH by using a soil acidifier. Follow the instruction of the soil acidifier to increase your soil acidity.

How to get Pink Hydrangea Flowers?

In order to grow pink hydrangea flowers, you need alkaline soil. You can increase your soil alkalinity by adding lime to your soil.

Pink Hydrangeas

How to Test Soil pH?

There are a few ways to test the soil pH. The easiest way is to use a soil pH tester. Another way to tell your soil pH is by looking at the color of your hydrangea blooms. If your hydrangea blooms are mixed purple, then your soil is neutral or close to pH 7. You can increase the soil acidity with a soil acidified.

Hydrangea Bloom Time

Hydrangeas start blooming mid-summer and will continue to bloom into the Fall.

Propagating Your Hydrangeas

How to Propagate Hydrangeas Hydrangea species

It is really easy to propagate hydrangeas from stem cuttings. Simply cut off a 4-inch long stem from any hydrangea shrub or hydrangea arrangement (yes, you can propagate from cut hydrangeas!) Dip the hydrangea stem in rooting hormone and then plant in moist soil or sand. Keep the stem cutting in part shade and well watered. Wait for the roots to develop. You can check occasionally by gently tugging on the cutting, if there is resistance, then you know there are roots. It will take 4 to 5 weeks for the hydrangea roots to develop and take hold. Then plant 3-4 rooted hydrangea stem cuttings in a pot and let it grow. It will take around 3 years for the hydrangea shrub to start flowering. 

Check out my video below on How to Propagate Hydrangeas:

How to Propagate Hydrangea video

Care for Your Hydrangeas

Do You Need to Water Your Hydrangeas every day?

Hydrangeas are drought resistant and don’t need to be watered daily. Water your hydrangeas once a week. However, if you don’t water your hydrangeas weekly, they will still thrive. But do know that if you don’t water your hydrangeas, they may not flower as nicely or not flower at all. At a minimum, I recommend watering your hydrangeas at least once a week. 

If you have the bigleaf hydrangeas variety (Hydrangea macrophylla), they will do best when watered daily. Again, if you don’t water your Bigleaf hydrangeas daily, it’s not a problem. I do recommend watering at least once a week.

How Often to Water Newly Planted Hydrangeas?

For newly planted hydrangeas, the once-a-week watering schedule is not enough. You will need to water newly planted hydrangeas 3 times a week for the first year during the growing season until the roots are established. 

What to Do with Your Hydrangeas After They Bloom?

Pruning is not essential for your hydrangeas to produce beautiful flowers. If you don’t prune your hydrangeas one year, they will still bloom nicely the following year. However, you can do a little pruning to tidy up your hydrangeas in the late winter. Be careful when you prune your hydrangeas because you don’t want to accidentally cut off the flower buds for next year. I suggest just cutting any dead branches, getting rid of the dead leaves and flowers, and leaving the rest of the hydrangea stem intact.  If unsure, it is better to do less pruning than more!

How to Deadhead Hydrangea?

Deadheading hydrangea is not necessary for beautiful blooms. But if you want to tidy up your hydrangea plant, you can deadhead the flowers to get rid of the dead and wilted blooms. Be careful when you deadhead hydrangeas, don’t prune too much. To deadhead hydrangea, simply cut off the dead hydrangea flowers just above the first set of leaves. This will avoid accidentally cutting off any flower buds.

Check out my video below on how to deadhead hydrangeas:

How to Deadhead Hydrangea Video

How Often Should You Fertilize Your Hydrangeas?

Fertilize your hydrangeas sparingly. Once a year is enough. If you over-fertilize hydrangeas, there is a risk that your hydrangea grows too many leaves but not enough blooms. Fertilize your hydrangeas once a year.

What Fertilizer Should You Use on Your Hydrangeas?

Use a balanced fertilizer once a year on your hydrangeas. You can also add soil acidifiers if you want blue hydrangea blooms or add garden lime if you want pink hydrangea blooms.

Hydrangeas: Cut Flower Tips

When to Harvest Your Hydrangeas for Cut Flowers?

The best time to cut your hydrangeas flowers is in the early morning or late afternoon. Don’t cut newly flowered hydrangea blooms. It is best to cut hydrangea blooms that are a few weeks old, that way they will last longer as a cut flower.

Troubleshooting Your Hydrangeas

Are Hydrangeas Deer Resistant?

Deers, squirrels, and rabbits will not bother your hydrangeas (at least they don’t bother mine!). Plant them freely in your garden with no worries of garden critters. 

What are the common problems of the Hydrangea Plant?

Hydrangeas are rarely afflicted with pests and diseases. I never encountered any issues with my hydrangeas except one year it didn’t flower. The reason for not flowering was I didn’t water my hydrangeas at all! The following summer, I watered my hydrangeas at least 1-2x a week and they flowered beautifully. 

Preparing Your Hydrangeas for Winter

How Should You Prepare Your Hydrangeas for Winter?

After your hydrangeas have finished flowering, during winter, you can prune the dead hydrangea stems, and remove the dead leaves and flowers. Do leave the remaining hydrangea stems intact. Don’t be tempted to over-prune your hydrangea. You don’t want to accidentally cut off the hydrangea flower buds for next year.  Do know that if you don’t prune your hydrangea in the winter, it will still grow beautifully the following year. 

You May Also be Interested in these Hydrangea Care Tips

Step by Step: How to Easily Propagate Hydrangeas (video)

How to Deadhead Hydrangeas (video)

How to Make Hydrangeas Flower (video)

Beginner’s Guide: How to Care for your Hydrangea (video)

Can I Transplant Hydrangeas in the Summer?

Can I Transplant Hydrangeas in the Winter?

Hydrangea Planting Mistakes to Avoid

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