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Caring For Your Holiday Gift Hydrangea

Caring For Your Holiday Gift Hydrangea

You say that someone gave you a greenhouse grown Hydrangea as a gift? These are popular spring gifts for Easter, Mother’s Day and other occasions, and they are beautiful plants. But you’re probably thinking “Can I plant this Hydrangea outside and will it live and bloom again?” or “When can I plant it outside and how do I take care of it in the meantime?” Good questions, and here is the information you need to know:

1. If you live in a warm zone 6 and above you can plant these Hydrangeas in your yard and they will bloom every summer. They will most likely not make more flowers the first summer that they’re in your garden, however, so give them this time to get established and spread their roots. If you live where the temperatures go down to zero or below in the winter, however, your hydrangea might live but it probably won’t flower for you. When the temperatures go below 5 degrees fahrenheit the germ of the flower bud gets zapped by the cold and they leaf out but don’t bloom.

2. You can plant the Hydrangea outside at the time when it’s safe to plant out your summer annuals like marigolds and geraniums. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the temperatures at night are reliably above 50 degrees. In the meantime, keep your Hydrangea in an eastern or western facing window indoors.

3. The main way people kill a greenhouse grown Hydrangea is by letting it get too dry. In general, you have to take the “hydra” part of their name seriously, and these plants can dry up quickly indoors! One way to help it not to wilt when you’re away from home or have forgotten about watering is to plant it in a larger pot right away. If you transplant your Hydrangea into a pot that is at least two inches larger on all sides and two inches taller, that will provide a good layer of moist soil around the roots and the plant won’t wilt so quickly. Be sure to get the potting soil wet before you put it and the plant in the new pot, and don’t cover the drainage hole or put any rocks or shards in the bottom of the pot.

4. Water the plant well when you do water, and then wait until the top of the soil starts to dry before you water it again. Don’t leave the pot standing in a saucer full of water for hours or days…these plants like it moist but not swampy!

5. Don’t fertilize when the plant is in the house…it was well fed at the grower. When you plant it outside you can scatter some organic fertilizer such as Flower-Tone in the area where you are planting. Be sure to mulch with an inch or two of either compost or bark mulch after the plant is in place.

6. Water the newly planted shrub deeply at least once a week in average weather and twice a week in hot weather. The ideal location to plant a hydrangea is where it will get 3 or 4 hours of morning sun but be shaded in the afternoon.

Enjoy!

If you have acidic soil your hydrangea will stay blue or turn blue. If you have alkaline soil the flowers will be pink no matter what color they were when you got the plant. White flowers stay white and will never turn blue.

 

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