Hydrangeas are easy to care for and grow well in a variety of conditions. However, there are a few common problems that gardeners encounter with these plants.
First, hydrangeas can suffer from aphids and spider mites. These pests feed on plant cells and cause yellow spots and deformed stems. Neem oil is an effective insecticide, as are ladybugs and a pyrethrin spray.
Choose a Good Location
The first and most important tip for hydrangea bush planting is to choose the right location. You will want to find a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. This is important because hydrangeas prefer morning sun to give them energy for the day, but they need protection from hot sunlight during the afternoon.
You should also plant hydrangeas in an area that has good drainage and is well-prepared for planting. It’s a good idea to add one-third compost, shredded leaves or ground pine bark to the area before planting to help it drain better.
You may also want to consider adding a slow-release fertilizer to the area when you plant your hydrangeas. This will ensure that the plants get the nutrients they need while still allowing them to bloom.
Dig the Hole Carefully
The most important step in planting a hydrangea is to dig a hole that’s wide enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant. This will help prevent soil from suffocating the roots and will allow for back-filling with the desired soil mixture.
Once the planting hole is dug, place the plant into the hole and gently loosen the roots. Then, back-fill the soil mixture around the rootball and tamp it down to remove air pockets.
Watering is essential for hydrangeas, but it should be applied deeply and evenly to keep the soil moist. It’s also a good idea to mulch the ground surrounding the base of your new shrub to protect it from excessive temperatures, retaining moisture.
While they do need water and fertilization, hydrangeas are generally pretty easy to care for. They need a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, as well as moist but well-drained soil. They’re also not very tolerant of drought, so they need extra water when the weather gets dry.
Fill the Hole Halfway
Hydrangeas are very easy to plant, but you need to prepare the planting site. Ensure that the soil is well drained and has plenty of organic matter to feed the roots.
Next, dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as the root ball and two or three times as deep. Gently lift your hydrangea into the hole and fill it halfway with soil.
Press the soil gently together as you fill the hole, removing air pockets and providing support to your plants. Stop when the hole is about halfway filled and add additional soil as needed.
Once your hydrangea has been planted, you need to care for it over the next year. Water the plant regularly to keep it evenly moist.
Mulching is a great way to cut back on your watering needs, control weeds and protect the plant in extreme temperatures. Apply mulch 1 to 2 inches deep to reduce your hydrangea’s watering requirements and to introduce new nutrients into the soil as it breaks down.
When you plant a hydrangea bush, make sure to water the hole thoroughly. This will help the plant get started in its new home and ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out too quickly.
During the planting process, it’s important to be diligent about checking the soil moisture, advises Amy Doggett, an instructor at Georgia State University’s Horticultural Education Center in Atlanta. Stick your finger four inches into the ground (roughly to the knuckle of your pointer finger) and see if it feels moist to the touch.
After the hydrangea is planted, it’s a good idea to apply a slow-release organic plant food, advises Kip McConnell, an associate professor at the University of Florida. This will help the plant grow and thrive in its new surroundings and bring more blooms to your yard, she says.
While it’s important to provide adequate water to your hydrangeas, it’s also important to keep them well-trimmed and pruned. “Depending on the variety, you can prune after they’re finished blooming in spring or early summer to shape the shrub, remove dead/diseased branches, and prevent infection,” says McConnell.