I am trying to find out how to transplant a hydrangea from a pot to the ground.
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Shari from Poughkeepsie, NY
It sounds like you are talking about a Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). These are often sold as potted florist (gift) plants for later transplanting into the garden.
Plant your hydrangea in a location where it receives some morning sun and afternoon shade. Hydrangeas appreciate moist, well-drained soil and perform better when protected from heat. Bigleaf hydrangeas are particularly demanding when it comes to water, so you'll need to keep an eye on moisture levels regardless of the location you select. Using hydrangeas in foundation plantings is ideal because it offers some winter protection and protection from drying winds. Your zone (5b) is on the lower end of the hardiness spectrum for this type of hydrangea, so be prepared to protect it from cold damage when the mercury starts to fall.
To transplant it, drop the plant into a hole at least 2X deeper and 2X wider than the pot. Make sure the soil around the hole is loose so the roots have ample room to spread out. Position your hydrangea into the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water it thoroughly and apply 3 to 5 inches of mulch around the plant (use pine needles, compost, leaves, etc.) In the future, you may enjoy trying to manipulate the color of your macrophylla's flowers (from blue to pink) just by changing the pH of the soil it's growing in (some species are more sensitive to pH changes than others).
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I'm not sure if you are talking about the florist Hydrangea's or the type from a nursery. I've really never had luck transplanting the types from a florist. It seems these are grown different than the nursery type.
A friend gave me a cutting off her hydrangea that I planted in my yard last year. All I did was plant it in good fertile soil. In fact I bought a good grade potting soil and filled in the dug hole after I put the plant in the hole. That was last year. This year it is a very healthy plant that is growing very well. I soaked the root system in water before planting and kept it well watered after putting in the ground.
This may not be any help to you. The best thing to do is contact a local nursery and ask them the best way to plant yours. Good luck to you with one of my favorite plants.
One tip a former dear friend gave me about these plants to get them to be a pretty blue was to bury rusty nails with them. This lady was a full blood Cherokee Indian that had several huge blue hydrangeas in her yard. She is the one that gave me mine.
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