Hydrangea Care & Pruning


Hydrangea bushes are shrub plants that produce a lot of colorful, large flowers during the spring and summer. The blooms stay on the plant throughout the summer, and they make a very showy landscaping bush. Hydrangea plants can grow from a height of only 1 to 3 feet to over 8 feet tall. Larger varieties make effective standalone bushes, while the smaller varieties work well as companion plants in a landscaping bed.


  • There are several different types of hydrangea bushes. Each bush requires slightly different care. The main varieties of hydrangea bushes are climbing hydrangeas; mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, which have blue and pink flowers; and paniculatas and arborescens hydrangeas, which have white blooms.


  • Blooms become massive with proper pruning and care. Hydrangeas will produce full, enormous and plentiful blooms over the entire bush. Proper care will also extend the life of the bush.


  • All hydrangea plants require well-drained soil, but they also require a good deal of moisture. If it does not rain for more than a week, water hydrangea plants until the water will no longer absorb into the soil. Hydrangeas prefer loamy soil.


  • All varieties of hydrangeas prefer cooler climates. Hydrangeas grow best in U.S. hardiness zones 4 to 6. Hydrangeas prefer climates with milder summers and somewhat mild winters. Hydrangeas prefer full sun, but many can grow in partial shade.


  • Fertilize hydrangea bushes each spring with a slow-release fertilizer designed for shrubs or trees. Do not touch the fertilizer to the plant itself, or apply within 6 inches of the main trunk. Spread the fertilizer out about twice the width of the plant.


  • Hydrangeas require little pruning. But there are some rules that help keep hydrangeas in top form. Prune bushes in June or July to maintain a smaller size. However, they will grow back quickly, so plant a hydrangea bush that does not grow larger than you want it to. Prune all dead wood every fall before the plant becomes dormant. After the plants are at least 5 years old, about a third of the older (living) stems can be removed down to the ground each summer.

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  • Photo Credit Hydrangea image by Stephanie Mueller from Fotolia.com
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