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Hydrangeas are very easy to care for but they grow best if you feed them once or twice in the summer.
What to feed hydrangeas
Chemical fertilizers or something organic can be used to feed your hydrangeas. Organic methods of applying compost around the roots give really good results but you can also add organic matter to the soil with a quick shot of chemical fertilizer if you want to maximize these results.
If you are using chemical fertilizers it’s important that you be aware of whether the fertilizer in question is a fast release or slow release option.
Applying a slow-release fertilizer once a year is going to be your simplest solution to feeding your hydrangeas. There are plenty of slow-release fertilizers on the market. You can use any fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees. If the fertilizer has Osmocote the granules have to be covered with soil after you have put the fertilizer on the ground in order for it to work properly.
Slow-release might not necessarily be the best food for your hydrangea given the situation. You can always opt for a fast release version which is going to be a bit less expensive. Fast release such as 10-10-10 will work very well if you apply it two times during the summer. If you want to capitalize upon the feeding you are giving your hydrangeas, take some soil samples and test the soil to see if there are any trace elements missing. If so, that just makes it easier for you to add those missing elements before things get out of hand. You don’t want to find out that your hydrangeas are missing iron what you could have easily added into the compost after the fact.
When you are adding your fertilizer to feed your hydrangeas don’t fertilize after August. You want to do it in the summer when the plants are blooming. During the fall hydrangea prepares for dormancy over winter and you don’t want to encourage new growth late on which will be damaged by frost.
If you are using a chemical fertilizer be sure to follow the directions on the container. Adding too much fertilizer can be just as detrimental if not more detrimental than adding in adequate amounts of fertilizer. If you put too much in the soil the roots can dry out and the hydrangea can die. If you need to it’s better to err on the side of too little.
If you have very small plants that have just been planted in the ground it won’t take more than about ⅛ cup. When you are fertilizing your plants in a pot you want to make sure you don’t burn the roots so you want to apply less fertilizer comparatively and it’s probably better to use a slow-release fertilizer.
By comparison a very large shrub can handle up to two or three cups as long as you spread it around the drip line of the branches and don’t put it directly under the trunk.
If you notice something is wrong with your plant, it looks wilted or sick, don’t turn to food/fertilizer. This is likely indicative of a bigger problem so try to address the root issues or disease before you toss fertilizer into the mix, figuratively speaking; this will only add stress to your plants.
It is commonly believed that adding fertilizer will keep your hydrangea blooming but in reality, it will bloom regardless. If it stops blooming for some reason, it is not because it is not being fed with fertilizer.