Hydrangea Guide: Choosing, Planting, and Care
Tips for choosing, planting, and caring for your hydrangeas.
Why plant a Hydrangea?
- Hydrangeas are a fast growing, hardy plant with huge globes or cylinder of blooms
- Many hydrangea varieties bloom from late spring to fall
- Flowers colors range from white, pink, lavender, purple and blue and some can change depending on soil acidity. Certain varieties like the 'Vanilla Strawberry' Hydrangea actually start out white then transition to pink then dark red.
Choosing a Hydrangea
- Depending on the variety, a hydrangea grows 4-15 feet tall and can grow equally as wide. Choose a variety that will grow to about the size you are seeking based on the amount of space you have.
- The most popular type of hydrangeas in the garden and are typically blue or pink but there are some varieties that are white
- Mophead hydrangeas prefer shade to partial shade
- The ‘Endless Summer’ series of hydrangeas are the most popular mophead hydrangeas with globe shaped blooms
- Aborescens hydrangeas prefer partial sun
- They have very large, heavy flowers so it’s best to support the plant with a cage or plant by a decorative fence
- The most common Aborescens is ‘Annabelle’ that has large white flowers
- Paniculata hydrangeas prefer partial sun to full sun
- ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas have bright chartreuse blooms in midsummer and turn to pink in late fall
- ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ is a great hydrangea with huge blooms that start as a creamy white, transition to pink and end as a strawberry red color
- This group of hydrangeas has a different shaped leaf that looks very similar to the leaves on an oak tree
- Oakleaf hydrangeas prefer partial shade to partial sun
- Oakleaf hydrangeas have more cylinder shaped blooms and they are typically white
Changing the color of your hydrangea blooms in the Southeast
(Different areas of the country may differ depending on native soils.)
- Some hydrangeas change color based on the acidity of the soil, while others are not affected by soil pH:
- Acidic Soil (pH below 6) turns hydrangeas blue
- Alkaline Soil (pH above 7) turns hydrangeas pink
- Neutral Soil (pH between 6 and 7) produces blooms that are blue and pink and often even purple
- How to change the color of your hydrangea
- To make the soil more acidic for blue flowers, add garden sulfur beneath the plant and above the soil (about a half a cup) before the plant begins to bloom
- To make the soil more alkaline for pink flowers, add ground lime beneath the plant and above the soil (about a half a cup) before the plant begins to bloom
- Changing the color can take time and you may need to apply the lime or sulfur multiple times. In Georgia, it is easier to change the bloom from pink to blue because of our soil.