Hydrangea Care: The 3 Most Common Mistakes

Hydrangea macrophylla

Whether cutting, watering or fertilizing: You should avoid these mistakes as much as possible so that your hydrangeas stay healthy and bloom profusely in summer.

Care should be taken when caring for hydrangeas: If you cut back farmer’s hydrangeas too much, you may have to do without the flowers for a year

With their impressive blue, pink or white flowers, hydrangeas are among the most popular ornamental shrubs in the garden. Even if the location and the soil are well chosen: mistakes in care can quickly lead to hydrangeas no longer blooming. If you heed the following tips, you can enjoy your beautiful flowers for a long time.

Mistake 1: Cutting hydrangeas too quickly

The most common mistake is probably made when cutting the hydrangeas in early spring. If you cut farmer’s hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) – with the exception of Endless Summer hydrangeas – and plate hydrangeas (Hydrangea serrata) too much, the flowers are usually irretrievably lost. The following applies to these species: They form their flower systems for the new season in late summer and autumn of the previous year. Only old inflorescences and frozen shoots are removed from them at the end of February. The situation is different with panicle (Hydrangea paniculata) and snowball hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens): They only bloom on new wood. With them, all shoots can be cut back to short stumps with one pair of eyes each in late autumn or early spring. Do not wait too long before pruning, so that the beginning of flowering does not move too far into late summer.

Mistake 2: Too little watering of hydrangeas

The botanical name of the hydrangeas – hydrangea – already indicates that the “water jugs” must never lack moisture. In their natural environment, the shallow-roots grow in moist deciduous forests on loose, lime-poor soils – in our garden, too, they love evenly moist soil, without accumulating moisture. Pay particular attention to regular watering in the first few days after planting the hydrangeas and in the summer months. If the flowering bushes hang their leaves in the midday heat, this indicates that they need more water – possibly even twice a day. But do not water with conventional tap water, because this is usually too hard and can lead to chlorosis. Rainwater or softened drinking water are best – hydrangeas in pots like that too.

Hydrangeas need sufficient water on warm summer days. Since they can only tolerate a little lime, it is better to use rainwater

Mistake 3: Fertilizing hydrangeas incorrectly

In addition to the water requirement, the nutritional requirements of heavy consumers should not be underestimated. Similar to rhododendrons, they prefer an acidic, humus-rich soil. Therefore, not every agent is ideally suited to fertilizing hydrangeas: Common garden compost, for example, can slightly raise the pH value of the soil. Instead, experts swear by well-deposited cattle manure or cattle manure pellets, which are worked into the upper soil layer in a ring around the well-grown hydrangeas in autumn or spring.

Alternatively, you can feed the flowering bushes with a special, acidic hydrangea or rhododendron fertilizer in spring. Make sure to observe the manufacturer’s instructions on dosage. From the end of July hydrangeas are no longer fertilized. Otherwise it can happen that the shoots no longer fully mature and the winter hardiness of the shrubs decreases.

By the way: An alum solution is often used to color hydrangea blossoms blue. However, it only achieves the desired effect with certain pink varieties of the farmer’s hydrangea.

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