With its flowering ranging from lilac to blue, hydrangea is a very beautiful plant to grow even in a pot: perhaps you didn’t know it, but its colors can also depend on the acidity of the soil. It doesn’t like direct exposure to the sun, but prefers the shade; it requires a lot of water, but not that of the house tap, and needs pruning at specific times of the year. Let’s see how to make it grow in the best conditions and how to take care of it.

The hydrangea is a plant which  should be grown in a pot or in the garden , placing it in a shaded or partial shade area.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is an ornamental plant of Asian origin, which prefers shade and rich earth . A plant that does not require particular care: it resists winter well and in spring it produces flowering that is a real explosion of colours. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is an ornamental plant of Asian origin, which prefers shade and rich soil. A plant that does not require special care: in fact it resists winter well and, in spring, produces flowering that is a real explosion of colours.

In fact, you must know that hydrangea is part of the sciaphilous plants , that is all those plants that do not like direct exposure to the sun. Therefore, if you do not have a lawn or a balcony facing south or east, you will still be able to have guaranteed blooms thanks to these plants (in addition to the hydrangea, the camellia, the astrantia, the bellflower, the viburnum and most of the ferns) which are also good in the shade.

How to grow hydrangeas

Hydrangeas can be grown from seeds, cuttings or by purchasing a plant from the nursery and planting it. If you already have one, you can harvest the seeds once the flowers have faded and the small green capsules containing the seeds are ripe. Then collect the capsules and let them dry in a cool, dry place for a few days.

When to grow hydrangeas

The best time to plant a hydrangea coincides with autumn , between October and November, and with spring between March and April. If you want to plant a hydrangea from cuttings , the best period is autumn, even better if this operation is done in October.

Soil and watering

To grow hydrangea choose an acidophilic soil . Remember that the earth must always be moist . Hydrangea, even if it remains in the shade, requires a lot of water especially when it blooms, but always pay attention to stagnant water and the possible presence of limestone, as your plant could risk dying. For the rest, water it directly on the roots, even twice a day during the summer.

Temperature and exposure

As I explained to you right away, you should avoid exposing your hydrangea directly to sunlight: the plant prefers to be placed in partial shade , with a cool and humid climate , thanks to abundant watering, and a temperature that should be around at 18 degrees . Likewise, pay attention to very cold periods: during the winter it is recommended to cover the ground by carrying out the so-called mulching , so that the hydrangea can resist even the harshest season.

How to grow hydrangeas in pots

If, on the other hand, you have decided to grow hydrangeas in pots, then know that it must be large enough to accommodate the plant, to provide it with enough space to grow. Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away. A pot diameter of at least 30-40cm is generally recommended to accommodate a single hydrangea plant. There are some varieties of hydrangeas  that are better suited to growing in pots :

  • Azores hydrangea
  • paniculate hydrangeas

How to care for hydrangeas

The care of this plant depends a lot on the specific variety and the environmental conditions in which they grow. You need to pay attention to the specific needs of each hydrangea variety. An example? Some may require more pruning, while others may be more resistant to cold or drought.

Watering

Like many plants, hydrangeas also need adequate watering. Keep the soil consistently moist , but not soggy. Avoid excessive drying of the soil and also waterlogging. Drip or foot irrigation is preferable to avoid wetting the leaves and flowers, as this can contribute to the appearance of fungal diseases.

Pruning

Pruning also varies depending on the type of hydrangea you have. Azores Hydrangeas bloom on the previous year’s branches, so they should be pruned after flowering to encourage new shoots that will bloom the following year.

Paniculate hydrangeas, on the other hand, flower on new branches and can be pruned in winter or spring. In any case, remember to remove dry and damaged branches at any time of the year.

Pruning

It is sufficient to prune the hydrangea  twice a year , starting in February , once the frost period is over and before spring flowering. To do it in the most correct way, you must remove the weakest branches, in order to thin out the plant slightly. Then cut the stems that produced flowers last season, halfway down their length, being careful not to cut the new shoots. A second, less demanding pruning must then be done at the end of flowering, towards the end of September , cutting only the largest branches and using the leaves that have already fallen to cover the roots in view of the lowering of temperatures.

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A potted white hydrangea.

Fertilization

The fertilization period is concentrated in spring, between March and April, and in summer, between June and July, and the main purpose of a good fertilization is to support the flowering of the plant . Since hydrangea is a plant that particularly loves potassium , you will need to get a fertilizer for acidophilic plants or a fertilizer rich in this mineral.

Flowering

Here too, the flowering of hydrangeas varies according to the species and variety. It generally begins in the spring or summer but can continue into the fall. Some varieties are able to produce flowers even in winter when the climate is temperate. In general they bloom between spring and summer and their colors are: white, pink, blue, purple, red, green or even multi-coloured.

Growing hydrangea in pots

If you want to grow a hydrangea in a pot , get one of modest size (with a diameter of 50-60 cm) and always pay close attention to how much you water the plant, because as mentioned above, hydrangea requires a lot of water, even if it is never positioned in direct exposure to the sun. Then water it in the evening or early in the morning . If you can wet it twice a day, dividing the amount of water, all the better. Do not use tap water if you already know that it is hard, i.e. very calcareous. To remedy this, you can add half a cup of vinegar and leave the water to stand for at least a day.

How to care for hydrangeas in winter

During the colder season, protect the hydrangea from sudden changes in temperature. Wrap the base of the plants in a layer of mulch or straw to insulate the roots from the cold. You can also cover hydrangeas with a protective fabric or fleece cover to protect them from frost.

Diseases and pests

Despite being a generally resistant plant, hydrangea can also face some problems, both related to external factors and inadequate care.

For example, when the plant is watered with water that contains limestone , the leaves will tend to turn yellow : to solve the problem, you could simply start irrigating it using rainwater .

Any fungal diseases , indicated by the presence of small yellow-greenish spots on the leaves , can in turn be caused by excessive or insufficient quantities of water. Among the animals that can attack the plant, you should fear cochineal and red spiders , which can turn the leaves yellow and cause them to fall .

 

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