The hydrangea shrub, with its large white, blue or pink blooms, provides a touch of southern charm to the landscape. Some varieties of hydrangea are hardy as far north as USDA zone 5. Hydrangea can be transplanted or divided and the sections replanted in the fall, around September and prior to dormancy. Planting in fall will have given next year's buds time to set before being dug up and gives the roots time to settle after being planted.
Choose the location to replant the hydrangea. Most varieties prefer moist, well drained soil. The “Endless Summer” variety can tolerate less moist soil but will still do fine with moist soil. The location should be open enough to carry the expanse of the mature plant, which may reach widths greater than five feet. Because of its unpruned large growth potential, hydrangea can work well in the back of your landscape or at the side or corner of a structure, like at the corner of your front porch.
Prune the hydrangea to be dug up. Wrap twine around the branches, pulling them together to make digging and moving the plant easier. To capture as much root as possible, dig around the plant at least two feet from the base of the plant or the distance the cane reaches out, whichever is less. Place the ball on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow. If dividing the plant, do so now using a spade, shovel, knife or saw. Measure the height and width of the root ball and then wrap the ball in the canvas (if used) and transport to the new location.
Dig the hole at the new location two to three times as wide as the root ball and one and half to two times as deep. Place the dirt in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp.
Amend the soil by adding a slow release fertilizer according to manufacturer’s instructions along with organic compost. The optimal ratio of compost to soil is one to one, however, a ratio as low as one to four (25 percent compost) can still provide health benefits to the plant. Compost can be in the form of leaf mold and grass clippings.
Back fill the hole with the amended soil so the depth of the hole is the height of the root ball. Place the plant in the center of the hole with the top of the root ball at ground level. Continue to backfill the hole, compacting the soil with your hands as you fill. Remove the twine holding the branches together.
Water with a slow stream from the hose to give the water time to drain into the soil to reach the roots and surrounding area. Keep the soil moist until full dormancy, or about December.