How Do I Prepare Hydrangeas for the Summer?

Overview

Hydrangeas sport impressive orbs of small flowers among deep green leaves in spring and early summer. These flowering shrubs thrive in southern gardens and other areas that have mild winters, but some varieties survive well in cooler climates as well. Hydrangeas also thrive in in pots, which can be taken into a protected area before cold winter weather arrives. Proper care and preparation for summer ensures your hydrangea blooms profusely and looks its best throughout the warm months.

Step 1

Begin watering the hydrangea in early spring when new growth is first seen on the plant. Provide enough water a week to moisten the soil to a 6-inch depth. In early spring, one weekly watering is usually sufficient.

Step 2

Replace the mulch around the hydrangea to help preserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth. Lay a 2- to 3-inch layer of bark mulch around each hydrangea, leaving a 1-inch space between the trunk of the shrub and the mulch.

Step 3

Prune out any branches that are winter damaged or dead. Cut these off where they emerge from the main stem or ½ inch beneath the damaged area. Avoid severe pruning in spring, as some hydrangea cultivars bloom on old wood.

Step 4

Fertilize hydrangea in March and again in May. Apply 2 cups of 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer per every 100 square feet. Sprinkle the fertilizer onto the soil around the outer edges of the hydrangea's canopy. Water immediately after fertilizing so the nutrients leach down to the root zone of the plant.

Step 5

Cover plants with frost blanket if a late season frost is predicted after the hydrangea has begun producing new buds. Frost can kill these buds, preventing the hydrangea from blooming. Remove the frost blanket once temperatures warm up in the morning.

Tips and Warnings

  • Large leaf varieties of hydrangea may require more frequent watering it hot weather, as the leaves cause moisture to evaporate more quickly from the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Frost blanket

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Hydrangea
  • Clemson Extension: Hydrangea
Keywords: summer hydrangea care, flwoering shrubs, spring hydrangea maintenance

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.