The Q&A Archives: Determining Best Sun Exposure For Hydrangeas

Question: I have heard that hydrangeas grow well in full sun as well as full shade. I am planning on planting them on each side of my back deck steps. One side of the steps are in full shade; one side is in partial shade. I love the look of bright flowers and want to plant the Nikko Blue. Would hydrangeas work well for this area?

Answer: Hydrangeas will grow in full sun to partial shade...not full shade. They probably would not flower at all in full shade. Sounds like one side of your steps is OK, the other is not. Hydrangeas grow best in rich soil, high in organic matter, that never dries out but also has good drainage. To achieve that beautiful blue color, your soil has to be on the acidic side (acidic soil produces blue hydrangea blooms, alkaline soil produces pink blooms, if the soil is very, very acidic, they will be white). Tofind out your soil's acidity level, you would need to have a soil test performed. Contact your local county extension office for details. Your soil report would also have advice on how to make any needed amendments to the soil. Since the hydrangeawon't work on both side, perhaps you could consider a rhododendron? They would accept both types of shade and have beautiful flowers in a range of colors.

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