How to Care for Hydrangea Shrubs


Hydrangeas are evergreen shrubs that are highly desirable for their huge clusters of flowers, which range in color from creamy white to pink and even sky blue. These showy plants bloom all summer long in the right conditions, and the flower heads dry well, making them good for use in crafts and dried flower arrangements. Some hydrangeas also feature fall color. Best of all, they are easy to grow, according to Ohio State University Extension, making them the perfect choice for home gardeners who want a stunning specimen plant as the centerpiece of their landscape.

Step 1

Provide sun and shade for your hydrangea. In climates with warm (not hot) summers, hydrangeas can be planted in full sun. In areas that get hot summer sunshine, make sure your hydrangea is protected by some afternoon shade.

Step 2

Protect your hydrangea shrub from windy areas. The wind will dry the large, supple leaves and cause the flowers to wilt, according to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program.

Step 3

Mulch around your hydrangea with a thick layer (3 to 4 inches) of organic mulch. This will add nutrients to the soil, which is vital to the growth of the shrub, and help retain moisture in addition to stifling weed growth.

Step 4

Keep the soil moist. Hydrangeas thrive in consistently cool, wet soil. Supplemental watering is vital during periods of drought, especially if the weather is hot.

Step 5

Fertilize with a balanced (10-10-10) flowering shrub food in March, May and again in mid-July. Follow the directions on the label for application according to the size of your hydrangea shrub, and water thoroughly after fertilizing.

Step 6

Prune hydrangeas either late in the winter or directly after flowering, depending on the cultivar. Some bloom on last year's wood, while others produce buds on new growth in the spring, according to Ohio State University Extension. The latter should be pruned before new growth develops, while the former should be pruned once the flowers fade. Prune lightly, removing old, diseased or broken canes.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic mulch
  • Watering tool
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Pruning tools


  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Hydrangea Fact Sheet
  • Clemson University Extension: Hydrangea
  • Ohio State University Extension: Hydrangeas in the Landscape

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: Hydrangea Questions and Answers
Keywords: growing hydrangea shrubs, caring for hydrangeas, care of hydrangeas

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.