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How to Plant Hydrangeas in the South

Hydrangeas are common in the South and enjoyed throughout the blooming season, typically in the spring and early summer. A wide variety of hydrangeas are available and the most common flower colors are pink, blue and white. Hydrangeas can be planted as an individual shrub, or in a row, to be used as a hedge. The best time to plant hydrangeas in the South is in the fall; however, they can be planted in the spring if necessary.

Choose a planting location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. If you are planting a Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), it tends to bloom early and is therefore susceptible to frost damage after blooming in cooler areas in the south (e.g. North Carolina, northern Alabama). Therefore, plant a Bigleaf Hydrangea on a northern or eastern slope and under some evergreens if possible. This will help prevent frost damage on new blooms, which renders the plant damaged for the rest of the season.

Prepare the planting by turning over the top 18 inches of your soil. Use a hoe or shovel. Add a few inches of organic matter such as compost or peat moss. The planting bed will now be slightly raised, which is perfect for water drainage.

Dig a hole in the new planting site that is twice as wide as the hydrangea’s root ball, but just as deep. Space multiple hydrangeas 5 to 10 feet apart.

Take the hydrangea out if its container and set it in the hole. Back fill the soil and form a mound around the base of the plant the gently slopes to the ground. Pack the soil until firm to get rid of any air pockets.

Water the plant well and add a couple inches of mulch, such as bark or pine needles, to help retain water.

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