The Q&A Archives: oak leaf hydrangeas

Question: I have had little luck with hydrangeas in general. They do not thrive. I have an abundance of shade. How can I prepare the soil so that I can grow hydranges, expecially oakleafs, in abundance?

Answer: Hydrangeas are generally easy to grow so I can understand your disappointment! They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. None will grow well in full shade. They grow best in rich soil, so dig in a lot of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. After planting, mulch over the soil surface to help slow evaporation, moderate soil temperatures and suppress weeds.

Early fall is the best time to plant new hydrangeas. To plant, dig a hole as deep and slightly wider than the rootball. Remove from container and loosen soil around outside of root ball. Set in hole so plant is at same level it was in the pot, you may need to add dirt back into the hole to raise it up. Fill in hole, around plant, with the soil and pack gently. Water well to remove air pockets. Mulch well with compost.

I'm sure that if you amend the planting bed with organic matter, plant as indicated above, provide deep soakings once each week and make sure your hydrangeas get at least 4 hours of morning sun, your plants will thrive.

Best wishes with your new hydrangeas!

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