Hydrangeas are shrubs that thrive in cooler, partly shady areas and produce “puffballs” of pretty, papery flowers that come in a range of colors, from white to deep purple. Many people like to save the flower clusters and use them in dried flower arrangements. Areas in the northern United States provide excellent growing conditions—hydrangeas can withstand more direct sun the farther north you grow them. If you choose the right growing conditions, your hydrangea will reward you with many years of stunning flowers.
Planting a Hydrangea
Determine a good location for your hydrangea. The north side of a house or garage is often a good spot. Hydrangeas like areas that receive plenty of rainfall, but make sure your soil drains well. Provide a space at least 4 feet by 4 feet for when your hydrangea reaches its full adult size.
Amend your soil with pine bark mulch if it does not have good drainage. Dig in two shovelfuls of this type of mulch for each planting hole you are preparing.
Plant your hydrangea in early spring or late fall for the best results. Plant it so the top of the nursery soil sits level with the ground.
Spread a layer of pine bark mulch around the base of the hydrangea, but leave a few inches of space between the mulch and the woody base.
Water the hydrangea thoroughly after you plant it, but let the soil dry out somewhat between waterings to prevent root rot.