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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.