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If you have hydrangeas you know that they are fairly easy to grow, they are very tolerant of things like heat and humidity as well as sea air or sunlight. However, they will grow to quite a large size depending on the variety, with a width between 3 and 5 ft.
Many people think that bigger is better especially when it comes to their flowers. The hydrangeas are known for their incredibly large flowers and yet these can literally be the downfall of the same plant.
In order to prevent the plant from flopping over you want to start by watering at the bottom of the shrub and never on top. If you water on top it will fill your flowers with extra water and that will cause the flowers themselves to fall over which can damage the stems and the branches.
You should also deadhead any fading blooms by clipping them off directly below the flower head so that the shrub is not nearly as heavy on top unnecessarily. It might be beneficial to cut some of the heavier flowers when they are in full bloom and simply arrange them inside your home so that they aren’t weighing down on the plant.
To that end it’s important to have the proper support structure so that you can keep your plants from falling over.
How to stop hydrangeas flopping over
The first way to stop hydrangeas flopping over is to space them appropriately when you grow them. You need to take into account when you are first planting that these hydrangeas need room to grow and they need room to spread out. If you give your hydrangeas the proper space to grow and spread they will produce better blooms for you. If you are growing large hydrangeas as shrubs you want to group them approximately three or four feet apart so that they can naturally support one another as they get bigger.
Another way to help prevent your hydrangeas from flopping over is to prune them sparingly. Most hydrangeas require very little if any pruning and if you prune them too often or too early the stems will be very thin and they won’t be able to support the weight of the flowers nor will the branches be able to support all of the stems. This is more likely to cause them to bend over or droop. It is recommended that you prune certain varieties like the Annabelle hydrangea back during the winter but excessive pruning throughout the rest of the year can weaken the overall structure.
Fencing can be incorporated into your garden to offer support structures to prevent your hydrangeas from falling over. Tomato cages are great for supporting smaller hydrangeas but as they get bigger you can use larger wire cages from local home stores or farm stores. Flat panels of reinforcement wire can be cut to the appropriate height of your hydrangeas and then affixed to the plant to give it support.
If you opt for the creation of hedges with your hydrangeas, ornamental trellises make for a wonderful support structure. It’s important that you make sure they are at least 3 feet high if you opt for this method. They need to be sunk into the ground around the hydrangea so that they don’t disturb the roots. There are a lot of lovely ornamental trellises out there that have scalloped tops which can add a bit of beautiful flair to your garden.
Alternatively in order to support the large central stems of your hydrangea you can use individual stakes or green support structures. This will help to keep the heavier blooms from falling onto the ground.
It’s important to remember that the bigger the flower heads on your hydrangea, the more support they will need because the stems can only handle so much weight. If you do things to increase the number of blooms you get on your plant, be cognizant of this ahead of time and consider some method of support structure so that when the blooms have all shown themselves at the same time in spring and summer, you already have some sort of support in place to help the stems in the branches.
Additionally, with certain varieties like the Annabelle hydrangea, the flowers will bloom on new wood so pruning at the end of winter will encourage stronger stems and that can help increase the amount of support the hydrangea naturally has and subsequently prevent it from falling over. It is in your best interest to check whether your particular hydrangea will bloom on old wood or new wood. Some varieties like oakleaf or big leaf will bloom on old wood while others will bloom on new wood.
These simple measures used in tandem will keep your hydrangea upright and strong.