Welcome to Espoma
Join our community of natural gardening enthusiasts
There’s no doubt that hydrangeas can hold their own in the garden. With big colorful blooms and beautiful green foliage, summer’s favorite flower makes a bold statement in any garden.
But, why not pair them with delicate foliage, bold flowers or subtle ornamental grasses for more variety? If you’re looking for ways to make your hydrangeas pop even more, try these companion planting tips.
When planting hydrangeas, be sure to use Espoma’s Organic Soil Acidifier for best results.
It’s hard to go wrong when choosing a color for companion plants. Try pairing hydrangeas with foliage in different hues of the same color. This adds subtle dimension and almost creates a 3-D effect in the garden.
If your hydrangeas are pink, pair them with Rose Glow Barberry shrubs. The deep pink and purple foliage emphasizes the pastel pink flowers and contrasts perfectly with the green leaves. Try planting Blue Star Juniper alongside blue hydrangeas for a beautiful display. This low-maintenance shrub provides beautiful bluish-green foliage that complements any blue flowering plants.
When planting flowers with flowers, timing is everything. Be sure to choose a summer blooming flower that will blossom around the same time as your hydrangea. You can choose to plant similar hues or bright contrasting colors. If you’re looking to create a dramatic contrast in the garden, choose a flower that comes in a variety of colors.
Begonias and geraniums are beautiful flowers that come in many different shades, making them a perfect companion for hydrangeas. Create a colorful rainbow garden by pairing blue hydrangeas with pink geraniums or white hydrangeas with scarlet begonias.
If you want the focus of your garden to be mainly on hydrangeas, opt for more subtle ornamental grasses that simply enhance their beauty. Most ornamental grasses are low-maintenance and easy to grow, giving you more time to spend perfecting your hydrangeas.
Fountain grass is one of our favorites because it provides pretty feathered plumes that dance in the wind. Green and yellow Japanese forest grass also complements hydrangeas very nicely.
Let us know what you’ll be planting with your hydrangeas this summer! And watch this video on planting hydrangeas.
Flowering hydrangeas are a telltale sign of summer. Nothing beats the beautiful sight of blooming hydrangeas in a variety of colors. The white, blue, pink or purple flowers paired with bright green foliage look gorgeous in every summer garden.
While we’re typically used to seeing low growing hydrangea bushes, how great would it be to see hydrangeas on trees? Well, the good news is, you can! Here is how you can grow a hydrangea tree.
Choosing the One
Hydrangea paniculata, also known as Grandiflora, produces white conical flowers instead of big spherical blossoms. With some pruning and proper care, it can grow up to 25 feet tall! Grandiflora, known among gardeners as Pee Gee Hydrangea, is your best bet for growing a hydrangea tree.
Before you plant, set yourself up for success. Check your hardiness zone, as hydrangea trees thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8a. Hydrangeas prefer full sun for most of the day and a bit of afternoon shade, so be sure to choose a generally bright spot.
Hydrangeas typically thrive in rich, porous, moist soil. Add Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus to ensure healthy growth. Water thoroughly and if planting multiple trees, be sure to space each hydrangea at least 3 to 10 feet apart.
One of the most important parts of growing a hydrangea tree is pruning. The main difference between a hydrangea shrub and a tree is training, pruning and proper care. The ideal time to prune is early spring. Remove old twigs that didn’t produce healthy growths and remove suckers from the trunk of the tree. Keep your tree neat by cutting branches short enough that they each have only two or three nodes (small bumps on the branch that signify growth).
Your hydrangea tree will need a lot of sun, but provide some shade on especially hot summer afternoons. More sun means more water, so keep the soil moist to avoid wilting leaves and blooms. Prune your hydrangea tree in the spring before peak growing season. Enrich the soil with Espoma’s All-Purpose Garden Soil to ensure a successful summer season.
If you love your hydrangeas and want to see more than a typical shrub, growing a hydrangea tree sounds like the next step for you!
Quick! There’s much to be done outdoors and no time to waste! Shed off those winter blues and head outdoors to restore your lawn and garden. The days are getting longer and your soil is beginning to wake up. April is a great time to get out in your yard and begin again.
Wondering where to start? We’ve got 6 tasks you can accomplish this month in your own yard.
April Garden Checklist:
- Start tomato seeds. The best way to get a head start on growing tomatoes is to start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost date in your region.
- Get planting. Hydrangeas embody everything we love about gardening. They have billowy texture, come in bright colors and are easy to care for. Plant some this month for the best blooms.
- Choose berries. Did you know blackberries have almost as many antioxidants as blueberries? And raspberries make the perfect addition to jam, cobblers and pies. Berries are just so delicious, scrumptious and oh-so-juicy. Plus, many berries are easy to grow and care for. Find out when, where and how to plant your favorite berries.
- Revitalize lawns. Perform a soil test to find out what your lawn needs, then amend and choose organic. Organic lawns need less watering, fertilizing and mowing all summer long. Yes — that means you get to spend more time enjoying your beautiful lawn and less time caring for it! Plus, as natural lawn foods break down, your soil becomes stronger on its own and needs less help.
- Plant blooms. Azaleas and rhododendrons are some of the most popular flowering shrubs. Blooming from late spring to early summer, these shrubs thrive in almost any garden. Plus, they come in virtually every color of the rainbow — from bold pinks, purples and reds to soft, muted yellows and whites. Make sure you’re adding these bloomers to your garden this year.
- Feed roses. Your roses are waking up now, they’ve made it through a long winter and they are starving! Choose Espoma’s organic Rose-tone. It includes more nutrients than any other rose food. Most rose fertilizers contain three nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K). Here’s how to feed with Rose-tone.
Sit back and relax once you’re done. April showers will give way to May flowers in no time at all.
You’ve had an amazing hydrangeas season. But by now, they may have outgrown their spot in your yard. Or, they might need a new spot to thrive.
Luckily, it’s easy to transplant hydrangeas.
Changing the look of your yard or giving your hydrangeas more space to grow is simple with these steps from English Gardens.
7 Steps to Transplanting Hydrangeas
1. Transplant at the right time. Plan to transplant before the ground freezes over. Wait until hydrangeas have finished flowering or gone dormant for the year before moving them.
2. Find a new home. Pick a place for the hydrangea that doesn’t receive too much sun. Hydrangeas prefer semi-shade. Make sure your location can accommodate the size of the rootball.
3. Dig carefully. Use your shovel to make cuts around the hydrangea before actually digging it up. When pulling the plant up, remove with it as much of the rootball as possible. The rootball, dense with fibrous roots and soil, may be very heavy, so enlist help if you need it.
4. Plant right. Move the plant to its new home. When digging the hole for the transplant, be sure to leave enough room for the rootball. Add Bio-Tone Starter Plus to help reduce transplant shock and establish roots. After the plant is moved, fill in the hole with Espoma Organic All-Purpose Garden Soil and compost.
5. Give them a drink. Dormant transplanted hydrangeas need a deep watering. Water thoroughly once transplanted using a hose, rather than a watering can or sprinkler, to quench the hydrangeas’ thirst.
6. Watch closely. After transplanting, pay careful attention to the next two summers. Hydrangeas need plenty of water during these hot months. If the leaves wilt, but the soil seems moist enough, mist leaves. Fertilize hydrangeas twice each year with Espoma’s Holly-tone, once in early spring and a half feeding in fall.
7. Mulch. To prevent the rootball from drying out, apply mulch to the base of the hydrangeas.
Have any tips for transplanting hydrangeas? Let us know in the comment section!
Also, check out the complete hydrangea-growing guide for more information on making the most of your hydrangea garden!
English Gardens ranks as the 13th largest independent garden center in the United States. The family-owned business was named the 2015 IGC Retailer of the Year from the IGC (Independent Garden Center) Magazine. The award is presented annually to a garden center demonstrating notable leadership and innovation. The award was established in memory of Dick Morey, founder of IGC Magazine and an advocate for the independent garden center industry.
Founded in 1954, English Gardens offers top quality products, including plants and flowers for indoors and outdoors, gardening supplies, patio furniture, garden décor, landscape design and installation, as well as the area’s largest selection of Christmas trees and decorations.
Hydrangeas are generally pest and disease free, but when your flowers are looking less than stunning, it’s hard not to panic.
1. Scale: One of the most common pests, scale can best be identified by their clusters of white eggs on stems. Treat with 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 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 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.
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 Neem Oil 3n1 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 Neem Oil 3n1.
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.
Featured in this Post:
Still have questions about getting your hydrange to bloom, pruning or more? Learn all of our hydrangea secrets in our hydrangea growing guide.
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!
Stick with us, and we’ll have your garden favorite looking tip-top again. 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Featured in this post:
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
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.
- 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.