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Growing Hydrangeas

Category Perennials
There are many varieties of this beautiful flowering shrub. This guide is about growing hydrangeas.


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0 found this helpful
March 15, 2006

Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:

perennial flowering shrub

Planting Time:

spring or fall


3' to 15'


full sun to partial shade


rich, well-drained, evenly moist soil


hardy to zones 3 to 9

Bloom Time:

early summer to fall


white, pink, red, purple and blue clusters; acidic pH produces blue flowers and alkaline pH produces pink flowers in certain varieties.




layering or cuttings-softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings (taken late spring or early to mid summer), hardwood cuttings (taken from dormant growth in fall or winter).

Suggested Use:

shrub borders, hedges, cut flowers and dried flowers

Growing Hints:

Plant in spring or early fall from cuttings or purchased plants. Dig holes as deep as the existing root ball, but three times wider to accommodate the lateral spreading roots.

Pruning Tips:

When to prune your hydrangea depends on the variety. Smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens) and Panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) bloom on new wood (growth from the current year) and should be pruned in late winter or early spring. On the other hand, oak-leaved hydrangea (H. quercifolia) and florist's hydrangea (H. macrophylla) flower on old wood (previous year's growth) and should be pruned immediately after flowering. Certain varieties are not suited to colder zones and the cold may kill flower buds, resulting in plants with nice leaves that never flower.
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July 13, 2008

Keep hydrangea bloom colors bright for months of enjoyment. I have some wonderful hydrangeas that would bloom for several weeks then the blooms would dry on the branch and the colors would fade. But several years back I came up with an idea that prolongs my hydrangea blooms for months.

What I did was buy some transparent florist's spray paint and lightly sprayed the blooms after they dried on the branch. And, because the florist's paint is transparent they continued to look like they were in full bloom with a very real looking color all the way through September.

You can buy a can of florist's spray paint at any craft store (for under $5) where they sell dried or silk flowers. (It comes in a spray can or a pump spray.) Don't be tempted to use regular spray paint as the blooms won't look real. If you can't find the florist's spray paint that's made especially for dried, silk and real flowers then you can simply buy a clear spray paint that has an Ultra Violet filter in it. This clear U.V. paint won't actually color your hydrangea blooms, but it will stop the colors from fading quickly.


You can make spraying your dried hydrangea heads easier by masking them off. Simply make a template out of a paper plate: Cut a slit from the outside to the center of the plate, (like you are cutting out a tiny sliver of pie) then cut a small hole in the center of the paper plate that's about an inch round. Then you simply tuck the flower's head into the front of the paper plate and it will protect the rest of the bush from being sprayed with color. If you don't have a paper plate a simple piece of printer paper or junk mail will also do the trick. I guarantee if you spray your hydrangea flowers lightly with transparent florist paint, you'll get months of enjoyment from them while they continue to look "Just Like New" even though they may have finished blooming weeks ago and they look "totally" real!

By Cyinda from near Seattle

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August 13, 20120 found this helpful

I love hydrangeas too! I dry them by waiting till they are fairly dry on the bush and then either tying several stems together and hanging in a dry, dark place (my attic is perfect) or by gently placing them in the trunk of my car on a hot summer day. In the trunk they get nice and dry in a few days while you're doing your errands. Anne in North Carolina

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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June 25, 2016

Will the red hydrangeas (Red Beauty) stay red? Does the type of soil affect them?

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May 17, 2016

I have fallen in love with hydrangeas this spring. I live in Indiana, zone 5. I bought 2 bigleafs from a store around Mother's Day that were big and beautiful! I am having a hard time keeping them that way. I kept them in the pot because I was told to wait to transplant them until they go dormant in the fall to keep them from shock. They do not get direct sun. I have no room on the "morning sun" side of my house, so they are on my shaded porch. Sometimes I put them in the yard for afternoon sun. My pink bigleafs are doing well. My blue ones are drooping and I have tried putting them in direct sun for a while, watering them more, etc. It's just been a game, which is quite odd seeing as they are 2 feet away from my other one that's doing well. The blue one has some brown leaves, droopy leaves, soft leaves, and maybe one or two that are okay. One I pruned off completely because it had totally fallen over droopingly. I'm confused. The woman at the store told me to water them daily, but then I read that I shouldn't if the soil is moist 2" deep. So I haven't watered them much because they feel pretty moist. Our weather has been crazy! It's basically rained 2 weeks straight with little sun. Help!

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January 4, 2013

I have a quickfire hydrangea on which I didn't take the dead flowers off of this fall. Should those be cut off before spring so the new flowers will bloom? There are lots of them.

By Peggy C

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January 7, 20130 found this helpful

Yes, just cut off the flowers from last summer and you will be good to go.

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July 24, 20120 found this helpful

I have two hydrangea plants. One I believe is called a Lucy or Lacy and that is the one that is infected. The other one, we don't know what the name is, but it has a light blue flower turning to like a pink. So far that plant doesn't seem to be affected.

The blossoms on the infected plant have turned black and fallen off and now the leaves are doing the same thing. It looks like it is really dried out and feels the same. The leaves are black and shriveled. Can this plant come back or should I remove it?

By Frank

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August 1, 20120 found this helpful

Sounds like you have an infestation of white flies and the black is called sooty mold caused by the tiny white flies on the back. I use bleach and Murphy's oil soap and spray them 2 times a week till gone. Even in South GA heat that seems to be the best for the pest plaguing the shrubs in the humid heat. powdery mildew will also cause similar and that should take care of it too.

You could cut it back to just above the ground, if you don't want to wait for the big part to recuperate and spray but if you do burn or haul off the limbs immediately so you don't re-infest.

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October 19, 20140 found this helpful

What is the life cycle of the hydrangea? Do they have spores? If so, where? Also, what organisms usually help with pollination?

By Barrie R

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August 16, 2014

Why do some leaves on my hydrangea turn brown?

By lahib

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May 21, 2010

I have a Big Daddy and Endless Summer variety hydrangeas (both currently in pots) and understand that they do well in morning sun. I left them out in the area that I wanted to plant and they both withered by 2pm, but regained after watering. The garden faces the NE direction. Would the plants do better if planted in the ground?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By 24eva from VA

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May 26, 20100 found this helpful

You can leave them where they are. Hydrangeas need a lot of water. Even in indoor settings, potted hydrangeas need to be heavily watered at least once a day. Since your babies are outside (at the hottest part of the day) they just need extra water, probably twice daily or even three times until you get them planted in the ground. Hope this helps!

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May 20, 20130 found this helpful

How often do I water the blue mop head hydrangea?

By Henrietta from Lafayette, LA

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April 13, 20130 found this helpful

I am trying to save a hydrangea received as gift from a funeral. The hydrangea was sitting by a vent where air conditioning was blowing. When I picked it up from funeral home, the pink blooms were wilted as well as the leaves. However, the new leaves were not damaged. I watered it with room temperature water so I would not further damage the plant. Some of the bigger leaves are so wilted they a brittle like a leaf that has fallen from a tree. What do I do with the brittle leaves and the blooms that have been damaged. I live in Kentucky and am keeping this inside until all threats of frost have passed. Thanks for your input.

By Jane from London, KY

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photographs. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

3 found this helpful
June 15, 2016

Photo Description
This is my first hydrangea plant/bush. For the first 2 years it was a lovely green without blooms. After 2+ years and getting the soil correct and protecting it from insects it bloomed. Although it is only 2 feet, I love it as if it were 6 feet tall!

Photo Location
This hydrangea located in my yard that gets part sun in York S.C.

Comment Like this photo? 3
June 20, 20160 found this helpful

Your Nikko Blue hydrangea wont ever get 6 feet tall. But, if given enough room, it will become a very large plant. Nothing is prettier than one of these covered with blooms in this particularly nice shade of blue. I hope you get to enjoy this hydrangea for many years to come.

Thanks for the picture.

Reply Like this photo? Yes

1 found this helpful
March 13, 2017

Photo Description
My oakleaf hydrangea still in the winter season with beautiful wood standing like a soldier at attention looking toward the sky. A few days ago the leaves of this beautiful stunning bush begin to sprout, it indicates that spring is on the way and that the beautiful fragrant blossoms of this oakleaf hydrangea bush will be filled with white pure glory that God created.

Photo Location
My backyard

Comment Like this photo? 1

1 found this helpful
September 10, 2009

This is a limelight hydrangea. In the earlier part of the summer, it is a lime green and then turns to a pink as it gets closer to fall. It is very easy to care for and always blooms for zone 5 where most hydrangeas do not.

By laniegirl from Iowa

light hydrangea flowers

Comment Like this photo? 1
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