How To Grow Hydrangeas

Grow hydrangeas in rich, porous, somewhat moist soils. Hydrangeas prefer full sun in the morning, with some afternoon shade; however, many will grow and bloom in partial shade. Plant in spring or fall.

How To Grow Hydrangeas From Cuttings

  1. On a well-established hydrangea, find a branch that is new growth and that has not flowered. New growth will appear lighter in color than old growth, and the stem will not be as rigid.
  2. From the tip of the branch, move 4 to 5 inches down and make a horizontal cut. Make sure that there are at least 3 to 4 pairs of leaves on your cutting.
  3. Remove the lowest pair of leaves from the cutting, trimming them flush to the stem. Roots grow more easily from these leaf nodes, so if you can afford to remove more than one pair of leaves, do so. Be sure to keep at least 2 pairs of leaves at the tip end of the cutting, though.
  4. If the remaining leaves are quite large, cut them in half, removing the tip-half. This prevents the leaves from hitting the sides of the plastic bag you will place over the cutting later on (to keep the humidity up).
  5. (Optional) Dust the leafless part of the stem with rooting hormone and an anti-fungal powder for plants. This will encourage rooting and discourage rotting.
  6. Prepare a small pot and fill it with moistened potting mix. Plant the cutting in the soil, sinking it down to the first pair of remaining leaves. Water lightly to get rid of any air gaps around the stem.
  7. Cover the entire pot loosely with a plastic bag. Make sure the bag isn’t touching the leaves of the cutting, otherwise the leaves can rot. (Chopsticks or something similar can be used to prop up the bag and keep it off the leaves.)
  8. Place the pot in a warm area that’s sheltered from direct sunlight and wind.
  9. Check on your cutting every few days to make sure that it isn’t rotting and only water again once the top layer of soil is dry. With luck, the cutting should root in a few weeks! (Check by gently pulling on the cutting; if you feel resistance, roots have formed.)

Hydrangeas and Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds turn soil more acidic, helping hydrangea blossoms turn blue rather than the typical pink or white. The acidity of the grounds provides the key element, though aluminum sulfate or eggshells also produce the same effect. All hydrangea blooms respond to increased acidity in the soil, though the soil must still be fertile and drain well.

Coffee grounds also help retain moisture in the soil, which is an additional benefit to your hydrangea. Hydrangeas grow best with deep weekly watering rather than light daily watering, and the coffee grounds help keep the soil moist between watering times. If you have azaleas and rhododendrons in your garden, as well as hydrangeas, these plants also respond well to a more acid soil, providing further use for your used coffee grounds.

How To Care For A Hydrangea

  • When you grow hydrangeas, the first year or two after planting and during any drought, be sure hydrangeas get plenty of water. Leaves will wilt if the soil is too dry.
  • If your soil is rich, you may not need to fertilize hydrangeas. If your soil is light or sandy, it’s best to feed the plants once a year in late winter or spring. Too much fertilizer encourages leafy growth at the expense of blooms. Learn more about soil amendments.
  • In the fall, cover plants to a depth of at least 18 inches with bark mulch, leaves, pine needles, or straw in the fall. If at all possible, cover the entire plant, tip included, by making cages out of snow fencing or chicken wire, and loosely filling the cages with leaves. (Do not use maple leaves, as they tend to mat when wet and can suffocate the plant.)

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