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Keep Pests and Diseases Away From Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are generally pest and disease free, but when your flowers are looking less than stunning, it’s hard not to panic.

Learn about common hydrangea problems and fix them. Your plant will be back to blooming in no time.

Hydrangea Pests

1. Scale: One of the most common pests, scale can best be identified by their clusters of white eggs on stems. Treat with Earth-tone Insect Control.

2. Slugs: Slugs attack young hydrangeas especially. Look for holes with ragged edges in leaves. The best way to know if slugs are the culprit is to go out and check plants at night. Lay slug traps around plants.

3. Aphids: If you see small black or green bugs on leaves you may have aphids. Treatments include gently spraying leaves with a hose or spraying with Earth-tone Insect Control.

4. Beetles: From Japanese to Rose chafers, beetles are known for eating petals and leaves. Handpick beetles and drop them in soapy water or spray with Earth-tone Insect Control.

5. Fruit Worm: If you see holes in the leaves of mature hydrangeas, you may have fruit worm. Check the underside of the leaf for this caterpillar-like bug. Knock them off and check leaves for eggs.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Hydrangea Diseases

Black Spots: In extra wet conditions, a leaf-spot fungus may appear. Don’t worry, it doesn’t harm the plant and new growth shouldn’t have spots. If black spots appear in dry conditions, you may be overwatering your hydrangea.

Powdery mildew: While this doesn’t usually kill hydrangeas, it can cause leaves to drop. Look for a gray, powdery coating on foliage. Remove and destroy any affected plant parts. Apply Earth-tone 3n1 Disease Control as needed.

Rust: This fungal disease looks like rust colored spots on the underside of leaves. The tops of leaves turn brown or yellow and eventually fall off. If the problem isn’t severe, prune off and destroy the affected leaves. Otherwise, use a rust specific organic fungicide such as Earth-tone 3n1 Disease Control.

To prevent many diseases, use a soaker hose or spray nozzle to water the roots of plants. And water in the morning, so any water on the leaves has a chance to dry.

Additionally, many problems are a result of lack of water. If flowers turn brown and die quickly or leaves have brown, brittle spots around the edges, you may be under watering.

Still have questions about getting your hydrange to bloom, pruning or more? Learn all of our hydrangea secrets in our hydrangea growing guide.

Fix It to Nix Hydrangea Problems

Hydrangeas are supposed to be forever gorgeous! The most flawless, must-have flowers in the garden! Yet, you may see black spots on your hydrangea’s leaves. Or worse yet, blooms are turning brown!

Don’t worry.

Stick with us, and we’ll have your garden favorite looking tip-top again. Here’s how to easily fix those common hydrangea problems.

Here’s how to easily fix those common hydrangea problems.

Simple Steps to (Once-Again) Stunning Blooms — How to Solve Common Hydrangea Problems

1. Not a Spot! When it’s unusually rainy (or if you’re overwatering), hydrangeas’ leaves develop unsightly, black spots. This is a pretty harmless leaf fungus with a scary name — Cercospora! Prune away heavily affected areas and spotted leaves to prevent the fungus from spreading.

2. Will to Wilt. Hydrangea blooms drooping or wilting? Most likely, your plant is soaking up too much sun and not getting enough water. Check to see if the soil is moist 1-2” deep. If not, water deeply. For best hydrangea care, repeat weekly. Add a bit of mulch to help conserve water, too. If that’s not the case, check your soil’s nitrogen levels using a soil test. Add necessary amendments.

3. Brown Blooms. If your hydrangea blooms are turning brown too soon and quickly petering out, they likely need more water. Ditto if your flowers wilt during the day and don’t bounce back at night. To confirm, look for brown spots on leaf edges. To fix, deeply water hydrangeas once a week.

Here’s how to easily fix those common hydrangea problems.

4. Holey-Moly Foliage. Fruit worms and slugs munch holes through hydrangea leaves. Lift up a holey leave. If you find what looks like a caterpillar, that’s a fruit worm! Get rid of them with soapy water. If nothing’s there, it’s likely slugs. You can hand pick them at night — or give them a night cap. Bury a plastic cup near the hydrangea, so the rim is level with the soil. Then, fill the cup halfway with beer.

5. Blooms Be Gone. No flowers on your hydrangea? You likely pruned your hydrangea at the wrong time — and cut off all its new blooms. Skip the pruning this year, and check out our tips for pruning hydrangeas so you never prune hydrangeas at the wrong time again.

6. Purple Pout. If your leaves have purple spots, remove the affected leaves and branches. If the entire leaf is purple, your soil may not have enough phosphorous. Perform a soil test and amend as needed.

Abracadabra! Your hydrangea problems will be gone soon. Then, you can focus on all the best parts of growing hydrangeas — like admiring those big, fluffy flowers!

To learn more about hydrangeas, check out our organic growing guide. Find the right hydrangea for you by choosing one that loves sun, blooms all summer or is perfect for beginners.

Plant Hydrangeas to Get the Best Blooms

Large, beautiful hydrangeas are a great addition to any landscape. Their bold colors make them perfect for freshly cut or dried flowers. Getting off to the right start in the right location is the difference between a hydrangea bush that blooms for years and one that never does.

Get the beautiful blooms you desire with these hydrangea planting tips.

Care for hydrangeas by planting them in the right spot.

Where should I plant my hydrangea? Choose a spot with moist, well-drained soil. Hydrangeas can grow from 4’ to 12’ in height depending on the variety, so plan accordingly. Most hydrangeas benefit from some shade, especially in hot climates. Too much shade means your hydrangea may not grow flowers.

Check the plant tag to find out how many hours of sun your hydrangea should be getting per day. Panicle hydrangeas tolerate more sun than do other species. And if you live in a region where it gets seriously hot, your hydrangea will need more shade than those grown in colder zones. Hydrangeas in southern climates especially need frequent watering to tolerate that stress.

If you’ve noticed your hydrangea has stopped blooming in recent years, it may be time to evaluate the location. Make sure hydrangeas are still receiving enough daily light and check the growth of nearby trees. Consider moving the hydrangea to a sunnier spot.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Get Ready to Plant. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, dig a hole twice as large as the hydrangea’s container. Mix in an organic starter plant food, such as Bio-tone Starter Plus, to keep roots strong. Add 1” of compost or Espoma Organic All-purpose Garden Soil to help with nutrients and drainage. Place the hydrangea in the hole at about the same height it was in the container, spreading its roots wide. Backfill the hole with soil and top with 2-3” of mulch.

Water Well. After you plant, water the hydrangea until a puddle forms. Water twice a week for a month. Then water deeply once a week until fall.

The Finishing Touch. Feed blue hydrangeas with Holly-tone to keep the soil acidic. Otherwise, opt for Flower-tone. For the best hydrangea care, feed 2-3 times throughout the growing season, which is spring until fall.

Learn all of our hydrangea secrets in our hydrangea growing guide.

Small but Mighty – How to Grow Hydrangeas in Containers

When we picture hydrangeas — with their larger-than-life blooms and immense foliage — we naturally envision large plants. Believe it or not, though, hydrangeas come in not one, not two, but three sizes!

No matter how much space you have, find the perfect-sized hydrangea for you. You can even grow hydrangeas in a container.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Minimal Size, Maximum Blooms! Tips for Growing Hydrangeas in Containers

1. Small Has It All. Pick a hydrangea that will thrive in your small space. Dwarf varieties are petite beauties that pack a powerful punch. Scroll through our Hydrangea Variety Guide to find the right dwarf hydrangea for you. Then, find a spot that matches the amount of light they need.

2. Big, Bold and Full of Holes. Select a pot or re-purpose a container to make a statement. Just make sure it has drainage holes.

3. Solid Gold Soil. Hydrangeas need well-draining soil to thrive, so select a high-quality, organic potting soi Bonus points if it has Myco-tone™ mycorrhizae, which uses 30 percent less water than other soils.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

4. Plant with Power. If you want to grow blue hydrangeas, mix in Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier. For pink hydrangeas, add Espoma’s Organic Garden Lime. If you have it, add compost! Then fill planter with potting soil, and plant the hydrangea at the same height it was previously growing.

5. Establish Essentials. When growing hydrangeas in containers, water when the top 1” of soil is dry — or when the hydrangea begins to wilt. For best hydrangea care, feed once a year around June or July with an organic fertilizer. If you want a blue hydrangea color, feed with Holly-tone.

Small space, big blooms! Just think of how lovely your hydrangeas will look glistening in the sun at your Memorial Day party or twinkling in the moonlight during summer garden parties!

To learn more about hydrangeas, check out our organic growing guide. Find the right hydrangea for you by choosing one that loves sun, blooms all summer or is perfect for beginners.

Prune Hydrangeas a Cut Above the Rest

Hydrangea care, specifically pruning, doesn’t have to be complicated. Honest. Even those who have been gardening for years still have questions about how to prune hydrangeas.

Discover our secrets to pruning hydrangeas.

Hold Up! How to Prune Hydrangeas

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Hone in on Hydrangeas. Before you prune hydrangeas, you need to know which type you have. If you planted a hydrangea from our Hydrangea Guide, your answer is just a click away.

Take the quiz below to find out what type of hydrangea you have and when to prune.

Does your hydrangea bloom most of the season?

  • Yes? You have a new variety of hydrangea, such as an Endless Summer. If you’re planning on re-shaping, prune in fall after the final blooms. However, you can prune these at any time.

 Does your hydrangea have blooms in early summer that fade away by mid-summer?

  • Yes? You have a bigleaf, modheap, lacecap or oakleaf hydrangea that blooms on old wood. Prune these right as their flowers begin to fade to maximize next year’s blooms. Whatever you do, don’t prune in the late fall, or you’ll remove next year’s flower buds.
  • Pruning Old Wood Hydrangeas. Cut off any dead, diseased or deformed canes. Also, remove any branches that rub. Cut canes off close to the ground. If the hydrangea is older and has smaller blooms, remove up to 1/3 of the oldest canes. If the hydrangea is too tall, cut off the tallest canes.

 hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangasDoes your hydrangea start to bloom in mid-to-late summer and flower until the first frost?

  • If yes, you’re the proud owner of a panicle or smooth hydrangea that blooms on new wood. Prune in winter or early spring before they start growing.
  • Pruning New Wood Hydrangeas. For the biggest flowers, prune shrubs to the ground. Over time, this pruning method weakens the plant. If you want to keep hydrangea’s long-term health in mind, cut back canes to 18-24”. Also, prune canes to 18-24” if you’ve noticed your hydrangea flops to the ground due to heavy blooms.

Do you have a climbing hydrangea that grows upward?

  • If yes, prune in late spring or early summer. Skip pruning during their first year, though.
  • Pruning Climbing Hydrangeas. When pruning, remove any dead, diseased or rubbing branches.

 P.S. You can still can deadhead hydrangeas at any point.

There you have it! Now you know how to prune hydrangeas. Impress your friends with this knowledge or by teaching them how to change hydrangea color!

Learn all of our hydrangea secrets in our hydrangea growing guide.

Tried and True: The Best Way to Plant Hydrangeas

Lush, lavish blooms you’ll instantly love! Hydrangeas are like the little black dress of the garden. They’re chic and always in style. Though, hydrangeas will deliver way more wow with their color-changing flowers.

Plant one this season to enjoy its bloom in the yard — or in a vase!

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Say Hi to Hydrangeas with These 5 Easy Planting Steps

Beautiful flowers. Many hydrangea colors. Little care. Super disease and pest resistant.

What’s not to love about growing hydrangeas?

Pick Perfect. Big? Small? Low-maintenance? Color-changing, perhaps? There are SO many wonderful hydrangeas to choose from. Find the perfect one for you here. While hydrangeas typically prefer sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, there are full-sun hydrangeas.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Dial Mild. While you can plant hydrangeas at any time, the best time is spring or fall. If you plant in the middle of the summer, they’re going to need lots of attention to survive.

Place and Plant. Once you’ve found the perfect spot (ideally with well-draining soil,) dig a hole twice the width of the hydrangea’s container. Mix in an organic starter plant food, such as Bio-tone Starter Plus, to keep roots strong. Add 1” of compost or Espoma Organic All-purpose garden Soil to help with drainage. Then arrange the hydrangea at the same height it was growing, spread its roots wide and fill the hole with soil. Finish by adding 2-3” of mulch.

Water Well. Right after planting, water the hydrangea until a puddle forms. Continue to water your hydrangea twice a week until it’s established. Then water deeply weekly — or when you see its leaves or flowers wilting.

How ‘Bout Holly. If you’re growing blue hydrangeas, feed with Holly-tone to keep the soil acidic. Otherwise, opt for Flower-tone. For the best hydrangea care, feed 2-3 times throughout the growing season, which is from spring until fall.

Say hello to your new hydrangeas! While they look handsome in the yard, they’ll look even finer as cut flowers inside.    

To learn more about hydrangea care, visit our growing guide. Want to change your pink hydrangea blue? Click here.

Plain as Day – Find Your Perfect Hydrangea

Who can resist color-changing blooms as huge as snowballs?!

No one! That’s why no garden is complete until it has at least one hydrangea. With their picturesque foliage and magical blooms, these flower shrubs are a constant delight. Plus, hydrangeas are easy to care for — as long as you pick the right variety for your space.

Before choosing what hydrangea to grow, answer these questions. Then check out our hydrangea varieties guide to pick the best for your garden.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Couldn’t Ask for More! Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Hydrangea

Growing hydrangeas is easy! Simply answer these questions to find a hydrangea variety that will thrive in your garden.

1. How much sun do hydrangeas need? Most hydrangea varieties like a blast of full sun in the morning followed by a nap in the afternoon shade. Though, be sure to check since there are a few hydrangeas that thrive in full sun.

2. What hydrangea color do you want? While color of hydrangeas may seem important, it’s actually not! You can turn blue hydrangeas pink and vice versa. Hydrangea color and saturation all depend on the soil acidity. The only exception? White hydrangeas don’t change color.

3. What size hydrangea would you like? Hydrangeas come in small, medium or large-size. Larger varieties can grow up to 20’ tall and 18’ wide while dwarf hydrangeas are only 3-5’ tall and wide. No matter the size of your garden, you can find a hydrangea that works — even in container gardens.

4. What type of hydrangea to grow? Depending on what type of hydrangea you grow, it needs to be pruned at different times. Make note of what type of hydrangea you have to make pruning easy later on. Here are a few of the most common hydrangeas: bigleaf, oakleaf, panicle and smooth.

5. Is the hydrangea evergreen or deciduous? Evergreen hydrangeas, as their name implies, stay green all year. Most hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs, so they shed their leaves annually.

From hydrangea care to hydrangea fertilization, we’ll be here to help each step of the way as you’re growing hydrangeas. Learn more about growing great blossoms in our Hydrangea Growing Guide.

Fun in the Sun: Best Hydrangeas to Grow in Full Sun

Most hydrangeas prefer only morning sun. Yet one type of hydrangea can soak up the sun all day: the panicle hydrangea. While they can stand the sun, these do just fine in partial shade, too. Plus, panicle hydrangeas are the hardiest hydrangeas.

Here are the best hydrangea varieties to grow in full sun.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Pinky Winky Hydrangea – As fun to say as it is to look it. The Pinky Winky is everything ombre was meant to be. Its two-tone flowers come back every year and thrive in urban gardens.

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 6-10’ H x 6-8’ W

Zone: 3-8

Blooms: Mid-summer-first frost. 12-15” blooms that open white then transform into a hot, irresistible pink

Features:

  • Fast growing
  • Blooms every year
  • No drooping blooms
  • Can be a hedge or small tree

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil. Will grow in nearly any soil

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Limelight Hydrangea – As refreshing as a lime in summertime! This cool-colored hydrangea is super unique and performs reliably year after year. The Limelight is not picky about much. And, there’s any even cuter, dwarf Limelight!

Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 6-8’ H x 6-8’ W

Zone: 3-8

Blooms: Mid-summer-fall. Refreshing, cool chartreuse blooms that fade to pink then beige

Features:

  • Heat tolerant
  • Can be a hedge or small tree
  • Grows in containers
  • No drooping blooms
  • Deep-red fall foliage

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil. Will grow in nearly any soil.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Quick Fire Hydrangea – A super-fast grower with sizzling blooms!  This hydrangea blooms a full month before other hydrangeas. Then it re-blooms in late fall. Quick Fire, or its dwarf sibling, love to bask in the sun!

 Hydrangea Type: Panicle

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 6-8’ H x 6-8’ W

Zone: 3-8

Blooms: Mid-summer-early fall. Blooms open white then turn a sweet salmon color

Features:

  • Drought tolerant
  • Repeat bloomer
  • Can be a hedge
  • Works in container gardens

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil. Will grow in nearly any soil.

Now start growing! Want more? Find out which hydrangeas bloom all summer. Learn about the best hydrangeas for beginners. Find out even more about hydrangea care in our Ultimate Hydrangea Guide

Easy Does It: Best Hydrangeas for Beginners to Grow

Hydrangeas are versatile and easy to grow. They are not at all particular about where they’re planted. All they need is well-drained soil, some water and a little bit of shade during hot summer days.

Oakleaf varieties are the easiest type of hydrangeas for beginners to grow.

Why are oakleaf hydrangeas so easy? They aren’t picky! Oakleaf hydrangeas can tolerate colder weather, handle more sun, withstand drought, are more disease/pest resistant and grow in sandy soil better than other hydrangeas.

The catch? All oakleaf hydrangea varieties are white.

Here are the best hydrangeas for beginners to grow.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Alice Hydrangea – Big, strong and beautiful! Alice was dubbed the most robust and trouble-free hydrangea by the University of Georgia. Be warned, Alice is a big gal and can grow to be 15’ tall with a 15’ spread.

 Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-partial sun

Size: 5-15’ H x 5-15’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: June-July. Giant, cone-shaped blooms that smell great and fade to pink

Features:

  • Native
  • Beautiful burgundy and bronze fall foliage
  • Somewhat deer resistant.

Soil: Not picky about soil type or soil pH

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Snowflake Hydrangea – Enjoy the beauty of snowflakes in the middle of summer. Snowflake hydrangeas have the longest bloom time of any oakleaf hydrangea. Plus, its double blossoms make it really stand out! It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular hydrangeas.

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Partial sun. Can adapt to full-sun if watered often

Size: 5-10’ H x 5-10’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: June-late summer. Stark white, double blossom blooms that look like snowflakes and fade to pink then brown

Features:

  • Fast growing
  • Native
  • Double blossom
  • Intense maroon fall foliage

Soil: Rich, moist soil

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Ruby Slippers Hydrangea – Tiny but mighty! Growing no taller than 4’, this compact hydrangea explodes with 9” flower blooms. And those blooms can last up to two months. If you think you don’t have room for a hydrangea, think again. Ruby Slippers will fit in even the smallest garden!

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 3-5’ H x 4-5’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: Early-mid-summer. Gigantic white blooms that quickly transform into a rosy color

Features:

  • Compact
  • Long-lasting, pink blooms
  • Thrives in heat, drought and poor soil
  • Striking crimson fall foliage that stays on through early winter

Soil: Well-drained soil

Once established, fertilize your oakleaf hydrangea with Espoma’s Plant-tone every spring.

Find out which hydrangeas grow in full sun. Learn about hydrangeas that bloom all summer. Find out even more about hydrangea care in our Ultimate Hydrangea Guide

Espoma’s Total Guide to Growing Hydrangea’s

No garden is complete until it has at least one hydrangea. The stars of the landscape, hydrangeas stand out with their picturesque foliage and magical blooms. Plus, hydrangeas are easy to care for — as long as you pick the right variety for your space. Find everything you need to know about growing hydrangeas below!

Choose the right Hydrangea for you

Best Hydrangeas for Beginners to Grow

Best Hydrangeas to Grow in Full Sun

Hydrangeas that Bloom All Summer

How to Get the Best Hydrangea Blooms

Growing Hydrangeas in Containers

The Best Way to Plant Hydrangeas 

How to Prune Hydrangeas

Get the Hydrangea Hue you Choose

Pink or blue

When to fertilize your hydrangea

Nix Hydrangea Problems

Keep Pests and Diseases Away from Hydrangeas

Tips for Transplanting Hydrangeas coming soon!

Harvesting and Crafting with Hydrangeas coming soon!