Everything you need to know about planting hydrangeas: From the location in pots or beds to the right soil and suitable companion plants for the hydrangea.
The genus of hydrangeas ( Hydrangea ) includes a large number of different hydrangea species. The most famous representative in our gardens, however, is by far the farmer’s hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ). Everything you need to know about planting the star among hydrangeas in your own garden can be found here.
In the following you will find out which location and which soil conditions the hydrangea needs. We also show the differences when planting hydrangeas in pots, beds and as a hedge. You will also find tips on transplanting and the right companion plants for hydrangeas.
Planting hydrangeas: the ideal location
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A large number of the woody and mostly shrubby hydrangeas come from the temperate latitudes of East Asia. Their natural living space is there in the undergrowth of native forests. As a result of their natural occurrence, they are not exposed to particularly much light. And so the hydrangeas that are popular here tend to prefer a more shady place in the garden.
However, a partially shaded location is optimal. Because if there is too much shade, the growth habit of the hydrangea will be affected. Over the years only long, thinly leafy shoots develop and the flowering power suffers. Hydrangeas can get used to a sunny location quite well over time, but the high water requirement here can unexpectedly quickly lead to drought damage.
Planting hydrangea: soil requirements
As far as the soil in which the hydrangea is to put its roots is concerned, it has to meet the somewhat special requirements. It is not a disadvantage if the pH of the soil is a little more acidic. If it is between 4 and 5, it is optimal. However, it should not rise above 5.5. If the hydrangeas are to shine in a strong blue or purple, the pH value of the soil may generally be slightly lower than for pink, red or white hydrangea varieties.
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A slightly more alkaline pH does not have any drastic or life-threatening effects on the growth of the hydrangea. However, it can very well lead to deficiency symptoms or not to the desired color development. You can find more information about yellow leaves on hydrangeas here.
Having the right pH value is not enough when planting hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are plants whose high water requirements have to be met. Otherwise dry damage can quickly occur. It is therefore advantageous to choose a location where the soil has good water storage capabilities. However, the subsoil must not be prone to waterlogging, as this could quickly lead to root rot and the death of the hydrangea.
The optimal location for planting hydrangeas at a glance:
- pH between 4 and 5.5
- Good water storage and availability
- No waterlogging
- Partially shaded location
Planting the hydrangea
Hydrangeas can be cultivated not only in beds, but also wonderfully as potted plants. If you can’t get enough of the beautiful hydrangeas, we’ll also show you how to plant a hedge of hydrangeas.
Plant the hydrangea in the bed
If the hydrangea is to be planted in the bed and the right location has been found, you should first think through the next steps. In the case of soils with a too high pH value, it may be advisable to dig a slightly larger hole. There is space for some substrate with a suitable pH value, such as rhododendron soil. Of course, the hydrangea should also be watered well before planting and then watered.
The soil around the plant can be loosened up to make it easier for the hydrangea to take root. Under no circumstances should the loosened soil around the planted hydrangea be compacted with energetic kicks in order to give it a “better” hold in the soil.
Summary of planting hydrangeas in the bed:
- If necessary, replace some of the soil with a substrate with a suitable pH value
- Water the hydrangea well before planting
- Loosen the soil around the hydrangea
- Do not plant the hydrangea too deep
- Press the substrate lightly and do not compact it by pressing firmly with your foot
- Finally water the hydrangea so that the substrate settles
If you would like to create an entire hydrangea bed in the garden, you will find a summary of all the important steps in our video instructions. Below you can read the procedure again in detail.
If you want to create a hydrangea bed, you should choose a sunny to partially shaded location in the garden. Ideally, hydrangeas are planted in spring or early summer, autumn is also possible for planting. When planning, keep in mind that the hydrangeas will still grow and leave a little more planting space. The planting holes should each be twice as wide and deep as the pot of the hydrangea that is planted at this point.
The soil at the bottom of the planting holes is loosened up a little with a hoe so that the roots can spread out better. In order to meet the soil requirements of the hydrangea, some special hydrangea soil with a low pH value can be added to the planting hole.
This contains additional fertilizer to make it easier for your hydrangeas to grow. In this way you create ideal conditions for the hydrangea bed. The garden soil and potting soil are mixed vigorously to stimulate the hydrangeas to develop roots.
Before the hydrangeas come into the bed, the balls should be well watered. To do this, you can place the plants in a bucket with water until no more air bubbles rise. Immediately before planting, the root balls are carefully loosened up a little to encourage their growth. Place the hydrangea in the planting hole and fill it up with the mixture of garden soil and hydrangea soil.
Tip : don’t plant your hydrangea too deep. The top of the ball of the pot should be level with the ground.
Plant the hydrangea in a pot
With regard to the location requirements, it makes no difference whether the hydrangea is planted in a container or in a bed. Especially in the pot, she is happy when her wish for a partially shaded location can be fulfilled. Because when cultivating in a pot, the hydrangea has to be watered more often than is the case in the bed. Therefore, the planter should not be selected too small.
Since hydrangeas prefer a slightly more acidic pH value in the root area, it is advisable to use a special soil for Morbeet plants. For an optimal water supply, the hydrangea is immersed in a bucket filled with water before planting until no more air bubbles rise. After planting, you should water the hydrangea well again so that the loosened substrate settles and the roots have access to water and nutrients.
Summary of planting hydrangea in a pot:
- Partially shaded location
- Do not choose a planter that is too small
- Water the hydrangea well before planting
- Use special soil for planting lime-sensitive bog plants
- Don’t forget to water after planting
Plant hydrangea as a hedge
Often there is a desire to create a hydrangea hedge. The classic farmer’s hydrangea is unfortunately not so suitable for this. On the one hand, the growth is rather unsuitable and, on the other hand, most varieties cannot be cut unmolested without having to lose their flowering power. The reason for this is that the flowers were already planted in the farm hydrangeas in autumn. However, other hydrangea species can be used in order to realize the desire for a hydrangea hedge.
The panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ), for example, is very suitable for this. It can be brought up by pruning rather in the corner-shaped growth. Regarding the flower color of this type of hydrangea, only white and a touch of pink are unfortunately available. With a planting distance of one meter, a dense hedge is created quickly. However, this must be watered regularly in a dry summer and must not simply be forgotten until the annual one-off cut in autumn or spring.
Summary of planting hydrangeas as a hedge:
- Panicle hydrangea is best suited
- Plant spacing of 1 m suitable
- Regular watering required if necessary
- Annual topiary in autumn or spring (up to half of the shoot length possible)
Moving is always associated with stress and effort – also for hydrangeas. It would therefore be ideal if she didn’t have to leave her place in the first place. If, however, a few tricks are observed, the hydrangea usually masters the change of location unscathed.
Transplanting the hydrangea: the right time
It is best to transplant hydrangeas in autumn. Then they are not faced with any budding of the energy- and water-sapping foliage. This leaves some breathing space for the development of new roots. Of course, a hydrangea can also be replanted in spring or summer, but then the risk of drought damage is increased.
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Transplanting hydrangea: instructions
With the right approach, you will have successfully transplanted your hydrangea in no time. You can find step-by-step instructions here:
- The ideal time is autumn
- First prepare a new planting hole
- Cut out a generous root ball
- The diameter of the root ball should be based on the diameter of the plant
- Loosen the plant carefully
- Make sure that the root ball remains intact as possible and that nothing breaks out
- Plant the hydrangea in a new location
Tip : Even when planting hydrangeas, a fertilizer with an organic long-term effect should be worked into the soil. The slowly released nutrients and the activation of soil life are a good basis for a healthy hydrangea. Fertilization is particularly important in pots, as the nutrients are used up faster than in the bed because of the smaller substrate volume. Our Gardender organic hydrangea fertilizer is ideal. It is based on animal-free raw materials from the food, luxury food and feed industries as well as mineral components that are also used in organic farming and optimally provides your hydrangea with all the important nutrients. Those who plant blue hydrangeas, on the other hand, need a special fertilizer that maintains their blue color.
Companion for hydrangeas
Hydrangeas on their own are a real eye-catcher in the garden, but in combination with other beauties, the wow effect in the bed can be increased. We show suitable companion plants of the hydrangea for various purposes.
Hydrangeas and accompanying plants in the bed
A bed only becomes interesting when something is always in bloom. It is the same in a herbaceous border, for example. It is therefore a good idea to plant different perennials around the hydrangea. The following plants do particularly well:
- Contrasting and autumn / winter colored grasses
- Colorful anemonae (anemonae)
- Lady’s mantle ( Alchemilla epipsila )
- Christmas roses or spring roses ( Helleborus niger & Helleborus x hybridus )
- Lush green ferns
- Blooming meadow knotweed ( Bistorta )
Of course, a variety of other plants can be combined with hydrangeas. The most important thing is that they share the same location preferences as the hydrangea, with the shady location being the most important consideration.
Plant accompanying plants under the hydrangea
It is also conceivable to plant in the shade of the hydrangea. Especially with large, expansive specimens, there is a lot of space that does not have to go unused. There are different options:
- Spring-blooming bulb and bulbous plants such as daffodils, tulips or crocuses
- Allow shade-compatible ground cover such as ivy ( Hedera helix ) or Günsel ( Ajuga ) to thrive in the shade of the deciduous hydrangea
You can find out how to care for your hydrangeas after planting in our special article.