Dwarf Hydrangea? - Knowledgebase Question

Highland Park, IL
Avatar for Wookiemom
Question by Wookiemom
July 11, 2000
I put what was supposedly a Nikko blue hydrangea from a reputable nursery in my front yard, cornering a row of spirea japonica. All the shrubs are now in their third year and have come back healthier each year, but the hydrangea has never gotten taller than two feet, with just a few blooms on it. The spirea have grown and are now bigger than the hydrangea, but the latter remains unchanged in size and blooms from the past two years. What do I do? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
July 11, 2000
Hydrangeas will grow in full sun to partial shade, but not in full shade. They grow best in rich soil, high in organic matter, that never dries out, but also has good drainage. Perhaps the planting hole doesn't drain well enough to suit your Nikko blue. To achieve that beautiful blue color, your soil has to be on the acidic side so an annual application of a peat moss mulch should help your plant. To find 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. Finally, it sometimes takes plants a full year to become established before they begin to grow. It's possible your hydrangea spent the first year adjusting and the second year developing roots. By next spring it should begin to grow by leaps and bounds.

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