Hydrangea Care Guide
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) , with their massive ball-shaped flower clusters, add antique elegance to your yard. Blooming from midsummer to fall, hydrangeas grow 3 to 6 ft tall. There are 23 species of hydrangea, although only five are grown in the United States, together with bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) also called French or florist’s hydrangea, the most common. Hydrangeas generally grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9, although it depends on the species and cultivar. To look after this tree, comprehending its soil and water needs, pruning conditions and disease and pest susceptibility is essential.
Hydrangea shrubs could be planted in either fall or early spring. When choosing a planting site, look for a place in the garden that offers full morning sun with some cooler day shade. Avoid hot and dry areas. The soil ought to be rich, moist and well-draining. Compost may be added to improve soil quality. If your soil is heavy, plant hydrangeas on a mound to improve drainage. If you are planting numerous hydrangeas, leave three to 10 feet between plants, taking into account the size of the mature shrub.
Water, Fertilizer and pH
Once implanted, hydrangeas will require some ongoing care to make sure their healthy development and greatest bloom production. A good source of water is vital for hydrangeas, especially during the first couple of years after planting. In spring, then add 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the plant to help hydrangeas retain water. During periods of rainfall, water hydrangeas regularly — about 1 inch per week — to maintain soil consistently moist. Keeping soil mineral levels is also crucial, as some varieties, such as bigleaf hydrangeas, reap the benefits of many fertilizer applications throughout the growing season. Soil pH also determines the flower color of the majority of hydrangeas. If you want blue blooms,utilize a low-phosphorus fertilizer; for pink flowers, higher amounts of phosphorus are required.
Prune hydrangeas to eliminate damaged or old branches and frost-damaged leaves, to deadhead faded blooms and also to reshape the shrub, which will encourage new development, improve the plant’s shape and increase flower production. Pruning guidelines vary for different types of hydrangeas. First, decide whether new flowers develop on branches from the last year, or “old wood,” or about branches from the present year, that’s, “new wood.” In case a hydrangea forms new buds on old wood, prune from the summer after flowers fade. For hydrangeas thriving on new wood, these plants should be pruned in late winter or early spring.
Disease and Pest Management
Hydrangeas are usually hardy crops, but they can suffer from problems with mold, powdery mildew, rust, blight and leaf spot, as well as bugs, such as aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Diseases, such as powdery mildew and leaf spot, are seldom fatal, but they harm leaves. Fungal problems usually result from humid conditions or if hydrangeas are not receiving enough sun. Recommended control procedures include application of sulfur, neem oil or potassium bicarbonate. Insect pests, like aphids, are best managed using insecticidal soap sprays, while routine watering during hot charms will keep spite mites at bay.