Hydrangeas always look their best when they have larger blooms. While these plants are very good at getting by without needing a green thumb, these tips and tricks will give your plant a boost when it decides to flower. Caring for hydrangeas — including fertilizing, pruning, and location — can make all the difference when it comes to your flowers.
Jason VanderMey, a gardening expert for West Coast Gardens, explained that fertilizer is the answer to growing “incredible” and “bigger” flowers.
He said, “The more you fertilize your hydrangea, the bigger it will grow!”
“Nutrients also help your beautiful perennial grow big, dark leaves that will look great next to their flowers.
“I use a slow-release fertilizer, to feed them all the time, as well as a compost mulch once a year.”
The expert explained that the color of some hydrangeas depends on the “acidity” levels of the soil in which they are grown.
READ MORE: Gardening tips: ‘Key factors’ to consider if plants won’t grow
“Other varieties of hydrangeas (arborescens, quercifolia, etc.) don’t have this problem and will generally stay the same color over the years.”
One of the most important ways to ensure the best blooms is to prune hydrangeas the right way.
Jason explained, “You can run into a lot of problems when pruning your hydrangeas, but a few simple rules will get you started.
“Many species of hydrangeas don’t need much pruning if they are planted in a location that provides ample room for growth.
“Macrophylla hydrangeas can be pruned (lightly, do not cut more than a third of the plant) just after flowering has finished.
“It’s best to prune only when you need to shape the bush or cut off old, brittle, dried stems.
“This type of hydrangea grows its flowers on ‘old wood’.”
This means that it must retain almost all of its growth each year, as this is where the new stems and flowers emerge.
The expert continued: “If you have arborescens (like Annabelle or Invicibelle), they should be pruned back to the ground each fall, leaving only a few inches of stems visible.
“This type of hydrangea is very tall and grows vigorously, so it needs to be cut every year to grow new stems.
“Arborescens flowers grow on ‘new wood’, so it won’t harm your plant to cut it down to the ground at the end of the season.”
Like so many other plants, the health and happiness of the hydrangea can depend on where it is planted.
According to the gardening professional, gardeners should leave their shrubs plenty of room to grow, as they can “reach sizes of 6’x6′ in diameter.”
Jason said, “Hydrangeas are great for large landscaped areas because their giant blooms can be seen all over your yard and create a bold effect.
“These low maintenance perennials are also fantastic for pots, just make sure you choose a large pot size to give them room to really spread out!
“When it comes to choosing between a sunny spot or a shady spot, you can actually plant hydrangeas in both – you just have to choose the right type of plant for the right spot.”
Although most hydrangeas prefer partial shade, there are many varieties that benefit from a full sun location.
The expert advised gardeners to choose a hydrangea paniculata, such as Limelight, Pinky Winky or Little Lime for full sun gardens.