The Q&A Archives: Hydrengeas

Question: I just bought my first home! I really want to have Hydrengeas in my garden. When is the best time to plant and how do I do it. Also I need to know how to care for them. I really dont have a green thumb and this is the first time I plant anything.Please help!

Answer: You could plant now, or wait until early spring.

A good location would be a spot with morning-only sun or bright dappled light all day long. Avoid a location with full sun all day or all afternoon, this will be too hot during the summer and cause excessive wilting.

Hydrangeas need a soil that is organic and humusy, as well as evenly moist yet well drained. This means damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out.

At planting time, mulch with several inches of organic mulch spread out in a flat layer over the root area. This helps keep the soil evenly moist, holds down weeds, and also helps feed the soil over time as it breaks down.

Wait until next spring to fertilize your plant. At that time use a complete granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 (regular or slow release is fine) per the label directions. Also top dress with compost twice a year in spring and fall.

The most important thing you can do for your new plant is water it correctly. Water thoroughly to settle the soil at planting time, then water only as needed to keep the soil moist. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still moist, don't water yet. When you do water, apply it slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down deep to the deepest roots. To check how effective your watering is, wait a few hours after watering and dig down to see how far the water soaked in. Sometimes it can be surprising.

Enjoy your hydrangea!

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