How to Care for Hydrangeas in the Spring. A staggering number of hydrangea (Hydrangeaceae) species and cultivars are available. Some are compact, others tall or even climbers. The flowers appear white, pink, purple and vivid blue as bold clustered blossoms or dainty lacy caps. In summer, the hydrangea provides beautiful greenery, and in late...
A staggering number of hydrangea (Hydrangeaceae) species and cultivars are available. Some are compact, others tall or even climbers. The flowers appear white, pink, purple and vivid blue as bold clustered blossoms or dainty lacy caps. In summer, the hydrangea provides beautiful greenery, and in late summer and fall it recharges the waning color in the garden with its burst of late flowers. Leave the skeletal flower head intact through the winter for a show of frosty globes. Spring brings just a few minor chores to get the hydrangea ready for another beautiful year.
Things You'll Need
Prune in early spring using sharp garden shears, making a clean cut. Remove about 1/3 of the branches, cutting the older, darker canes that provided bloom the previous years. Snip off the dried flower heads at the first sight of new spring growth of buds. Pruning to control size and form can be done now. The fewer stems left, the larger the flowers will be; leaving more stems provides many medium-sized clusters of flowers.
Water the Hydrangeaceae shrubs deeply if the winter has been dry. Before applying soil amendments or fertilizers, the plant's roots should be completely hydrated.
Apply aluminum sulfate to the soil if the hydrangea is a blue-flowering type--1 tbsp. in 1 gallon water will help the flowers achieve their true blue color. If the hydrangea is a pink or purple bloomer, mix some lime into the top of the soil to maintain an alkaline pH of greater than 6.5.
Fertilize the blue hydrangea shrub with one low in phosphorus and high in potassium. This keeps the soil an acid pH, which the blue-flowering types require. The ideal pH for these is 5.5 or lower. The rosy varieties need a super-phosphate fertilizer to maintain their clear pink shades by keeping the pH high.
Mulch the shrub to keep in moisture and keep weeds from sprouting. Use an acid-based mulch such as pine needles or peat moss for blue-flowering hydrangeas and for the pink ones, use a more balanced formula such as well-rotted manure or compost.
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