How to Plant Hydrangea Bushes in New Jersey
New Jersey is an ideal location to plant hydrangeas. Most hydrangeas are hardy in the two New Jersey USDA hardiness zones (zones 6 and 7) and bloom from the middle of the spring until early summer. They are often planted in rows to form a hedge or as individual plants. Hydrangeas are ideally planted in the fall just before their dormant stage or they can planted in the spring if necessary.
Choose a planting site in partial shade. Hydrangeas prefer morning sun with some afternoon shade. This is especially true in New Jersey where summers tend to be hot.
Till the top 12 to 18 inches of your soil and mix in several inches of compost or peat moss.
Test the soil’s pH levels if you want to help influence the color of your hydrangea. Low pH levels around 5 support blue flowers, while higher pH levels near 6.5 and 7 produce shades of pink. Use a pH test kit, which are available at most local nurseries and test the newly amended soil.
Adjust the soil’s pH levels, if desired. Use aluminum sulfate to lower pH levels and limestone or calcium carbonate to raise acidic levels. Carefully follow the dosing instructions based on your soil’s initial acidic level and how much you want to lower or raise it.
Dig a hole that is twice as wide and as deep as the hydrangea’s current container. If you have more than one hydrangea, plant them about 5 to 10 feet apart.
Take the plant out of the pot and set it in the hole. Backfill the soil and tamp it down with your hands to get rid of the air pockets.
Water well and cover the area with a couple inches of bark mulch, which is essential to retain moisture and to maintain soil temperatures, especially during New Jersey winters. Continue to water about 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week when rain is scarce.