Growing Hydrangeas


Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs that produce colorful blossoms all summer long. This deciduous shrub brightens shady areas. Hydrangeas reach 2 to 6 feet tall, but easily grow to 10 feet tall without pruning. It is a hardy bush that rarely succumbs to plant disease or insect damage, according to Auburn University Extension. Hydrangeas are used as showcase plants, as well as in shrub borders, shady flowerbeds, and as dried flowers for floral arrangements. This shrub grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9.

Step 1

Remove the weeds, grass and debris from the planting area. The site needs full sun if you are planting in a cool climate and partial shade for a hot climate.

Step 2

Loosen the soil, break up dirt clods with a shovel and rake smooth. Add a 2-inch layer of peat moss to the soil to increase drainage and enrich the soil with organic materials. Plant your hydrangea as deep as it is growing in the plant pot.

Step 3

Spread 2 to 4 inches of fine wood bark or compost mulch around the base of the hydrangea each spring. This keeps the soil at an even temperature, reduces weed growth and cuts down on water loss from the soil.

Step 4

Pour 2 to 4 gallons of water on the soil around the plant each week. This replaces water lost to evaporation. Water the hydrangea sooner if it begins to wilt.

Step 5

Prune back old growth wood with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Focus your trimming on the wood that produced last season's blossoms. The best way to prune hydrangeas is to remove a stem after it has produced a flower, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Step 6

Feed the hydrangea with 12-4-8, 16-4-8 or 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phoshorus-potassium) fertilizer in the middle of March, May and July according to package instructions. Scratch the fertilizer in with a rake and water the area thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant hydrangeas in an area subject to dry, windy conditions. The hydrangea's large, soft leaves lose water quickly in hot, windy weather. The result is extreme leaf wilting.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Peat moss
  • Wood bark mulch
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer


  • Aggie Horticulture---East Texas Gardening: Hydrangeas
  • Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Hydrangeas in the Landscape
  • Auburn University: Hydrangeas

Who Can Help

  • U.S. National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: growing hydrangeas, hydrangea care, pruning hydrangeas

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.