The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Hydrangeas

Question: What is the best method for transplanting hydrangeas into a larger container?

Answer: It's easiest on plants to transplant them in the spring or autumn months so they're not stressed by both the hot weather of summer and from the actual transplanting process (where the roots are disturbed and exposed to air). Choose a container only slightly larger than the one it is growing in, and make sure there are adequate drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Fill partway with good potting soil (if it's a large shrub, you can mix potting soil with regular garden soil - but because it dries out so completely and is hard to rewet, don't use straight garden soil in a container). Place the old container into the new to check that the finished height of the plant will be the same as it was growing in the old container. Adjust the soil level as needed. The turn the pot on its side and ease the plant out. Once the roots are exposed make sure they are not spiraling around and around. (If so, make two cross-wise cuts 1/3 of the way through the roots and spread them slightly before replanting.) Then plop the plant into the new pot and gently fill in around the sides with potting soil. When the plant is at the right height and the new soil is snug around the roots, water the plant well to exclude and air pockets.

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