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Growing Hydrangea

Growing Hydrangea

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea item #20528

Hardy shrubs with large clusters of attractive flowers. Available in several different species including arborescens, macrophylla, and paniculata types. All are good for specimen plants, massing, and cut flowers. Hydrangea arborescens, also called Smooth Hydrangea, is native to the southern US and hardy in zones 3 to 9. Hydrangea macrophylla, called Bigleaf Hydranagea, is an Asian native hardy in zones 5 to 9. Hydrangea paniculata, or Panicle Hydrangea, is an Asian native species hardy in zones 4 to 8. It produces large clusters of flowers at stem tips in summer. Plant potted Hydrangea after the last frost in spring and bare root plants 4 to 8 weeks earlier. Prepare a hole 12 to 18 inches wide and deep and mix in compost or other organic matter. Set with the roots slightly deeper than when growing in the nursery.


All are low-maintenance shrubs. Most are good in part shade and moist soils, but different types vary in their siting and maintenance requirements. Grow Smooth Hydrangea in part shade in moist to wet soils. It tolerates full sun if soil is kept consistently moist. Cut back to near ground level in late winter, as plants flower on new wood. Bigleaf Hydrangea is also called Mophead Hydrangea. It is good for part to full shade, prefers moist soils, and does not compete well with tree roots. Plants bloom on old wood, so pruning should be done after flowering. Flower color varies with soil pH for most varieties, with acidic soils producing blue flowers and alkaline soils producing pink flowers. Panicle Hydrangea should be grown in full sun to part shade. It can be pruned to form a small tree or left unpruned as a multi-stemmed shrub. Produces larger flower clusters if pruned to just 5 to 10 shoots. Flowers are produced on new growth.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Gromax Fertilizer Tablets 20-10-5 (51165), Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221). Use Miracid Pro-Select 30-10-10 (51199) for blue flowering in Hydrangea macrophylla varieties where flower color depends on soil pH.

Alternative Products

Other hardy flowering shrubs that tolerate acidic soils are Azalea, Nanking Bush Cherry, and Rhodendron.

Complimentary Products

A moderate feeder that benefits form regular fertilization. Other shrubs that make good cut flowers include Flowering Quince, Lilac, and Snowberry, 

Product Recommendations

Soil Sulphur (51154) can be used to acidify soil pH when added to the planting hole or used as a top dressing.

Hydrangea Facts

Usually free from serious pest or disease problems. Occasionally affected by aphids, mites, bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spot, powdery mildew, and rust. New breeding has extended the bloom time and resulted in an expanded color range for Hydrangea.

Growing Tips