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What Are the Best Tips for Planting Hydrangeas?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Choosing the right site in a yard is essential when planting hydrangeas. The plants need some sun, but too much can prevent them from blooming. When planting hydrangeas, the type of soil is also important in determining bloom color of certain varieties. It's also important to prune the plants properly to encourage flower growth.

Planting hydrangeas in the right location in a garden or landscape is essential for the health of the plant. The amount of sun a planting spot should receive each day depends on where the house is located. For example, hydrangeas planted in a cooler climate, such as the northeastern United States, can receive more daily sunlight than hydrangeas planted in the southern United States. In the south, hydrangeas will bloom and thrive if they receive about three hours of sun a day, preferably in the morning.

Too much shade can also inhibit blooming when planting hydrangeas. When choosing a spot, it's best to look for one with partial shade. The type of hydrangea planted can also determine how much sun or shade is necessary. Oakleaf hydrangea does better in partial shade than panicle hydrangea, which is more tolerant of sun.

When planting hydrangeas, the soil quality is also important. Acidic soils typically result in blue blooms, while more alkaline soils encourage red or pink blooms. The color of the flowers can shift once the hydrangea is planted in a garden or yard, depending on the soil.

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If a gardener takes home a blue blooming plant, she can maintain the color of the blooms by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil. Aluminum sulfate will also change the color of red blooms to blue. Red or pink blooms can be maintained or blue blooms can turn red by adding superphosphate or lime to the soil. To effectively change the flower color, the gardener must add the soil amendments before the hydrangea begins to bloom.

Pruning hydrangeas is essential for healthy growth. A gardener needs to know when and how much to prune for a blooming, healthy plant. Removing spent flowers, also called dead heading, encourages new flowers to bloom. Some hydrangeas should be pruned in the late winter, others in the early summer.

Bigleaf hydrangea blooms from old growth, meaning that if the plant is pruned in the winter or fall, the flower buds will be cut off and the plant will not bloom the next spring and summer. A gardener should avoid pruning those varieties after August, as the new growth can be killed by an early frost. Other varieties of hydrangea, such as panicle, bloom off of new growth and shouldn't be pruned in the summer, as pruning then would cut off any flower buds.

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