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How to Care for a Shooting Star Hydrangea

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

The shooting star hydrangea is a broad-leaf (or macryophylla) hydrangea. Its official name is "Hanabi," which means "fireworks" in Japanese. It is a lacecap hydrangea. Lacecap hydrangeas have flattened blooms rather than full, spherical blooms. The shooting star cultivar is popular in part because it does not scatter pollen on the ground as many other species do, and because it has rare, multipetaled blooms. Hydrangeas in general are easy to grow once established, and the shooting star hydrangea is no exception. With only minimum care, this shade-loving shrub will reward you year after year with stunning blooms.

Maintain the Soil

Make sure the soil is always moist but also well-drained. Shooting star hydrangeas are susceptible to diseases if left in standing water, but they will also quickly wilt and die if they do not get adequate moisture, especially during prolonged hot periods.

Monitor the pH level of the soil. Big-leaf hydrangeas grow best in acidic soil. Use a soil testing kit to make sure the pH level is in an acidic range. Use aluminum sulfate, applied every two weeks, to lower the pH level of the soil if needed.

Keep the soil under the hydrangea free of dead foliage. This deciduous plant will drop its leaves in the fall. Rake the leaves away to prevent fungus growth.

General Care

Provide at least partial shade. The shooting star hydrangea grows best in morning sun and afternoon shade. Full sun will scorch the plant.

Surround your shooting star hydrangea with an inch of organic mulch in the spring before it begins to bloom. This will encourage flower growth and reduce weed growth.

Fertilize your hydrangea once in early summer with balanced (10-10-10) slow-release fertilizer.

Prune immediately after the blooms start to fade, as the shooting star hydrangea is an old wood plant. This means that the blooms develop on the second-year wood.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • Soil amendments if needed (aluminum sulfate)
  • Watering tools
  • Organic mulch
  • Balanced fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Pruning shears