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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 soil 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.

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Espoma Holly-tone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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.    

 Want to change your pink hydrangea blue? Click here.

 

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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.

 

Espoma’s Total Guide to Growing Hydrangea’s

Find everything you need to know about growing hydrangeas below!

Choose the right Hydrangea for you – Growing hydrangeas is easy! Simply answer these questions to find a hydrangea variety that will thrive in your garden.

Best Hydrangeas for Beginners to Grow – 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.

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.

Hydrangeas that Bloom All Summer – Reblooming hydrangeas flower on both new and old growth, meaning you can enjoy flowers from June until the first frost. They’ll continue to bloom long after other flowering shrubs and perennials have stopped.

How to Get the Best Hydrangea Blooms – 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.

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

The Best Way to Plant Hydrangeas  – 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.

How to Prune Hydrangeas – Before you prune hydrangeas, you need to know which type you have. Take this quiz to find out what type of hydrangea you have and when to prune.

Pink or blue – Create a blue hydrangea simply by amending the soil. Most hydrangeas, except white ones, change color based on the pH or acidity levels of their soil.

When to fertilize your hydrangea – Knowing whether your soil is acidic or not is the first step to healthier plants season after season.

Nix Hydrangea Problems – From spots to foliage holes, find out what’s up with your hydrangea.

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.

Tips for Transplanting Hydrangeas – Change the look of your yard by giving your hydrangeas more space to grow with these steps.

Hydrangea Hype: Garden Inspiration – With big colorful blooms and beautiful green foliage, summer’s favorite flower makes a bold statement in any garden.

Guide to Fall Hydrangea Care – Hydrangeas are strong and can come back from almost anything when given enough time and proper care.

Companion Plants for Hydrangeas – If you’re looking for ways to make your hydrangeas pop even more, try these companion planting tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More is More: Hydrangeas that Bloom All Summer

Once upon a time, hydrangeas would only bloom once a season. Not anymore! Now, you can choose a variety of hydrangeas that bloom all summer long. You can even prune these at any time.

Reblooming hydrangeas flower on both new and old growth, meaning you can enjoy flowers from June until the first frost. They’ll continue to bloom long after other flowering shrubs and perennials have stopped. Long lasting blooms of blue, violet, pink, white, or chartreuse add brilliant pops of color to any garden.

Plus, these hydrangeas perform a magic trick. Depending on your soil’s acidity, the hydrangea color changes. Creating breathtaking blue hydrangeas is extremely easy. All you need to do is amend your soil with Espoma’s Organic Soil Acidifier. 

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

The Original Endless Summer Hydrangea – A beautiful game changer! The Original Endless Summer hydrangea was the first non-stop blooming hydrangea. Plus, it’s easy to care for. You’ll be wowed by its color-changing blooms all season.

Hydrangea Type: Mophead

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Part sun-mostly shade

Size: 3-5’ H x 3-5’ W

Zone: 4-9

Blooms: Late-spring-early fall. Blooms can be blue, purple or pink based on soil pH.

Features:

    • Blooms all season
    • Very disease tolerant
    • Easy care
    • Works in container gardens

Soil: Moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

 

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Penny Mac Hydrangea – Large flowers that just keep blooming! The Penny Mac hydrangea is super easy to care for and seems to thrive on neglect. While the blooms can change color, they’re naturally a vivid blue.

Hydrangea Type: Mophead

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Part sun

Size: 4-6’ H x 3-4’ W

Zone: 5-8

Blooms: Mid-summer-early fall. Blooms are typically blue, but can be changed to pink or purple based on soil pH.

Features:

  • Attracts birds
  • Repeat bloomer
  • Fast growing
  • Easy care

Soil: Moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Let’s Dance Starlight Hydrangea – You’ll feel like dancing when you see this breath-taking bloom. It’s elegant, bright and beautiful textured. Plus, it’s the first-ever, re-blooming lacecap hydrangea.

Hydrangea Type: Bigleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 2-3’ H x 2-3’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: Mid-summer-early fall. Vivid, lacecap blooms can be blue, purple or pink based on soil pH.

Features:

  • Small hydrangea
  • Repeat bloomer
  • Works in container gardens
  • Salt tolerant

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep the blooms coming all season long with the hydrangea that speaks to you! Want one that grows in full sun? Learn about the best hydrangeas for beginners. Find out even more about hydrangea care in our Ultimate Hydrangea Guide