Hydrangeas always look their best when they have bigger blooms. Although these plants are very good at getting on with things without needing a green-fingered hand, these tips and tricks will give your plant a boost when it decides to flower. Caring for hydrangeas – including fertilising, pruning and location – can make the world of difference when it comes to your blooms.
Jason VanderMey, a gardening expert for West Coast Gardens explained that fertiliser is the answer to growing “amazing” and “bigger” blooms.
He said: “The more you fertilise your hydrangea, the bigger it will grow!
“Nutrients also help your beautiful perennial grow large, dark leaves that will look amazing next to their flowers.
“I use a slow-release fertiliser, to keep them fed all of the time, as well as a compost mulch once a year.”
The expert explained that the colour of certain hydrangeas depends upon the “acidity” levels of the soil they are grown in.
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“Other varieties of hydrangeas (arborescens, quercifolia etc) don’t have this problem, and will generally stay the same colour through the years.”
One of the most important ways to guarantee the best blooms is pruning hydrangeas the right way.
Jason explained: “You can run into a lot of problems when pruning your hydrangeas, but a few easy rules will get you going.
“Many species of hydrangea don’t need much pruning if they are planted in a spot with adequate room for growth.
“Macrophylla hydrangeas can be pruned (slightly, don’t cut off more than a third of the plant) right after the blooms are finished.
“It’s best to just prune when you need to shape the bush, or to cut out old brittle and dried stems.
“This type of hydrangea grows its blooms on the ‘old wood’.”
This means it needs to keep almost all its growth every year because that is where the new stems and flowers emerge from.
The expert continued: “If you have arborescens (such as Annabelle or Invicibelle) then they need to be pruned right down to the ground every Autumn, leaving only a few inches of stems showing.
“This type of hydrangea is very large and grows vigorously, so it needs to be cut back every year to grow new stems.
“The blooms on arborescens grow on ‘new wood’, which is why it won’t harm your plant to cut it right to the ground at the end of the season.”
Like so many other plants, the hydrangea’s health and happiness can depend on where they are planted.
According to the gardening pro, gardeners should give their shrubs a lot of space to grow, as they can “reach sizes of 6’x6′ in diameter”.
Jason said: “Hydrangeas are perfect for large landscaped areas, as their giant blooms can be seen throughout your yard and create a bold effect.
“These low-maintenance perennials are fantastic for pots as well, just make sure to choose a large pot size to give them room to really spread out!
“When it comes to choosing between a sunny spot, or a shady spot, you can actually plant hydrangeas in both – you just have to choose the right type of plant for the right spot.”
Although most hydrangeas prefer partially shady spots, there are many varieties that enjoy a full sun location.
The expert advised gardeners to choose a paniculata hydrangea, such as Limelight, Pinky Winky, or Little Lime for full-sun gardens.