Last updated on July 18th, 2019
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When to plant hydrangeas
You can, theoretically, plant hydrangeas at any time but the time of year they are planted may dictate when you first see blooms. To answer the question, we recommend planting potted plants in spring or autumn, avoid planting in winter.
If you plant hydrangeas in the early spring, you could still get blooms the same year so long as the blooms grow on new growth or they have now been pruned back hard and are a variety that flowers on the previous year’s growth. If instead, you plant in the fall, your plant will still survive and thrive but you won’t get any blooms until the following season depending on how old the plant is you have purchased and how it has been pruned previously, sometimes people prune off the growth that is going to produce next year flowers which you want to avoid.
In general, if you purchase a good-sized plant from a garden centre as pictured above, it will already have flower buds or even flowers but just don’t plant it out until the risk of frost has passed, in the UK, this would be from around May.
When to plant hydrangeas outside
If you are growing new plants, the best time to transplant them and move them outside is after the danger of frost is over. If you live in a very cold area, make sure you don’t get caught out by a late frost which will damage new growth. Beyond that, you want to plant your hydrangeas outside at a point when they are also strong enough to handle the transition. For those plants you cultivated from cuttings, that time is once the roots have developed adequately and they have a good root system, usually, the roots would be coming out the bottom of the pot
Best time of year to plant hydrangeas
Hydrangeas, as mentioned, are not very picky plants so they can be planted at any time. The best time to plant hydrangeas, however, is in the spring or fall. If you do it in the summer, the weather might be too hot and the sun too bright causing sun damage to the plant before its had chance to establish and get some root out into the soil. Mid-spring circumvents the risk of an unexpected cold snap. Fall prepares the plant early enough to grow new buds in preparation for the following season. With either spring or fall, the temperatures need to be mild.
- When you plant the hydrangea, make sure it is in a spot with at least 3-4 hours of sunlight each day. Provide it with well-draining soil. The spot needs afternoon sun as well to prevent it from drying out.
- When planting, dig a hole that is 2 times wider than the container. Add organic matter to the soil to aid in moisture retention before putting the hydrangea in its new home. When filling the hole, add soil at the halfway point, water it, and then fill it the rest of the way. This will encourage better water retention by the roots.
- With a new plant, you will need to water more often until the roots are established in the new location. This is particularly important with warmer weather. Check around the base to see if the soil is dried out and if so, add more water.
- Once it is established, you can add water once per week and fertilizer once per year.
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