How to Replant Hydrangeas


Hydrangeas are a popular flowering bush, especially in the South. Depending upon the variety, the mature bush can grow from 4 to 12 feet tall. Hydrangeas produce large green leaves and blossoms in either mop head-like clusters or delicate lacy blooms in shades of white, pink and blue. When planted in the wrong location, a hydrangea might leaf out and not produce flowers or suffer and eventually die. Hydrangeas of all sizes can be successfully replanted or transplanted.

Step 1

Select the new garden site for the hydrangea. According to the United States Arboretum, "Most hydrangeas benefit from some shade, especially in hot climates," although no hydrangea will thrive in complete heavy shade. Select a site that has moist, well-drained soil.

Step 2

Transplant the hydrangea after the bush has gone into a dormant state and has dropped its leaves. This time will vary depending upon location, but will range from late October to December and even through February in locations where the ground does not freeze.

Step 3

Prepare the new garden site two to three weeks before digging up the hydrangea. Till the soil and remove any rocks, weeds or other garden debris. Amend heavy clay soil that is poor draining by mixing in generous amounts of peat moss and compost or well-rotted manure.

Step 4

Dig the new hole for the hydrangea before lifting the plant from its existing site. The hole should be 2 feet wider than the root ball and only as deep as the root ball, according to Auburn University Extension.

Step 5

Lift the hydrangea, trying to get as much of the root ball as possible. If the bush is large, it might require several people to lift. Sometimes a plant might break when lifted; as long as each section has roots, transplant them as separate plants.

Step 6

Place the root ball in the hole. Adjust the soil in the hole to allow the top of the root ball to be level with the ground. Fill the hole with the soil and tamp down gently to prevent damaging the roots.

Step 7

Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the plant. One deep watering after transplanting is all a dormant plant will need until warmer spring weather returns. Cover the area under the bush with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to help retain water moisture.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune dormant and transplanted hydrangeas as many varieties flower from old wood. Wait until after the bush flowers to cut away dead wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or well-rotted manure
  • Mulch
  • Peat Moss
  • Wheel barrow (optional)


  • United States Arboretum: Hydrangea Questions and Answers
  • The Complete Garden Flower Book; Catie Ziller; Publisher; 2001
  • Auburn University Extension: Hydrangea

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Growing Big Leaf Hydrangeas
Keywords: hydrangeas, perennials, transplant

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written more than 2,000 articles for publications including “PB&J,” Disney’s “Family Fun,” “ParentLife,” "Living With Teenagers,” and Thomas Nelson’s New York Times best-selling “Resolve.” After 17 years of homeschooling her five children, Dean discovered that motherhood doesn’t stop with an empty nest.