How to Care for Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are a deciduous flowering shrub growing in US Department Agriculture Zones 6 to 10. They have showy, lacy blooms of blue, purple, white or pink, depending upon the pH level of the soil. Soil with an acidic pH will produce blue or purple blooms while a more alkaline soil will produce pink flowers. Caring for hydrangeas correctly is crucial to their longevity because they need certain growing conditions to flourish.
Plant your hydrangea in a location with full morning sun but with some shade from the afternoon sun which can cause the hydrangea to wilt. Soil must be well-drained and the correct pH for the color of your hydrangea. For example, add 1 tbsp. of aluminum sulfate to the soil per gallon of water applied to the soil several times during the growing season to maintain a blue hydrangea.
Water the hydrangea on a regular basis to keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Make sure it receives at least 1 inch of water per week during times of drought during the hot summer months. Water in the morning with a soaker hose on the ground to avoid the leaves from getting wet.
Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch such as, pine bark or pine straw, beginning a few inches away from the base of the shrub. The mulch will keep the ground moist and prevent weeds.
Feed the hydrangea with a balanced fertilizer in May and in July for southern states but northern states can feed the hydrangea once in June or July. Apply one-fourth cup for small hydrangeas and 2 cups for large ones. Sprinkle around the shrub avoiding the main stem. Water deeply. Avoid fertilizing after August so the hydrangea can prepare for the winter.
Remove blooms once they fade to encourage new blooms. Remove dead foliage and branches throughout the growing season.