Learn all about growing hydrangea in pots including how to plant them, what growing conditions they prefer, how to make your hydrangea changes colors and how to overwinter hydrangea in pots and urns. It's so much easier than you think!
Man, do I love a good hydrangea!
I have Limelight hydrangea on either side of my front porch. Love, love, love them. Great color and very easy to grow. You can see my tips on growing Limelights in my post titled How To Grow Limelight Hydrangea (boring title, but gets to the point).
And then a few years ago, I planted one of the original Endless Summer hydrangea in another flower bed and I love it equally as well. Although I have no photos to show you and have no idea why. Other than maybe it's the second child syndrome where you have 49,000 photos of every step of baby number 1's life and 2 photos for baby number 2's life.
This year I was getting antsy and wanted to add more hydrangea to the mix around here, so I bought two BloomStruck hydrangea, the newest version of the Endless Summer hydrangea line of hydrangeas.
And decided to plant them in pots instead of in the ground. ((Gasp))
A lot of hydrangea can be planted in pots and urns, but the Endless Summer varieties are perfect for growing in cotainers because they bloom all summer long (hence the name Endless Summer) and only grow 3-4" tall and 4-5" wide.
The perfect size for my galvanized containers on either side of my garage door.
I have a video on how to prepare your galvanized tubs for planting in my Container Gardening Made Easy post.
How To Grow Hydrangea In Pots
Planting Your Hydrangea In A Pot
Pick out your hydrangea. The smaller varieties like my BloomStruck is a good choice since it won't outgrow the pot too soon. Just make sure you are picking one recommended for your region (chances are if they are selling it at your local nursery or big box hardware store, it is fine for your area).
Find an appropriate sized pot or urn. The container should be at least 18-20" across, large enough that you don't need to water it all the time and spacious enough for the roots to spread out. Hydrangea like a little wiggle room.
If your container was used previously, make sure the soil is loose and not firmly compacted. If planting in a new container, fill with quality potting soil. Dirt from the garden will not work well as it is too hard for the roots to spread out in.
Dig a hole 1 ½ times the size of the plant's current pot.
Remove hydrangea from its current pot and place in the hole. You want to plant it at the same level as it was in the previous pot, not any lower into the dirt and not any higher.
Fill around the plant with more soil, gently tamping it down. Put a layer of mulch around the plant to help retain moisture.
How to Take Care Of Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas will need watering more often than your typical potted plants, so check your hydrangeas daily in hot spells to see if they need water. A hydrangea will wilt when it does not have enough water, but it's best to not wait that long to water them because wilting causes stress to the plant. I normally stick my finger in the soil and if the top few inches are dry I will water it thoroughly, usually until water drips from the bottom of the pot. Better to over-water than underwater these guys.
You don't have to go crazy on fertilizer with hydrangea. I planted mine in soil that already has fertilizer in it so that will do for the 1st summer. If your soil does not have fertilizer added straight from the factory, just apply a slow-release NPK 10-30-10 fertilizer every spring. NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium ratios, but basically any fertilizer will have these numbers displayed prominently on the bottle or bag.
You don't really need to prune this type of hydrangea other than cutting off the flowers you want to dry or put in vases. Otherwise you just let them be. What's easier than that!
Do Hydrangea Need Sun Or Shade
Hydrangea prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Too much sun and they won't bloom as much as they can. That is why I love the container idea since you can move them if you need to.
How To Make Your Hydrangea Change Color
Growing certain hydrangea in acidic soil makes the blooms blue or lavender. Growing them in alkaline soil makes the blooms pink. You can fuss around with testing the soil and all that or you can buy a bag of soil acidifier or garden lime, sprinkle it around the plant and like magic your hydrangea will turn colors. This doesn't work for every hydrangea, they must be blue or pink to begin with (so basically I can't change the color of my Limelight hydrangea, but who would want to).
How To Care For Hydrangea In Pots Over Winter
If you live in a colder climate you will want to bring your containers of hydrangea into the garage or unheated basement for the winter. Just remember to water them occasionally as they won't get benefit of the snow and rain in the winter like their outside cousins would. (I normally will water once every six weeks or so. The plants are in a dormant phase during the winter so they are not drinking up very much water, you just want to keep the roots from drying out completely).
If you planted one of the Endless Summer varieties like I did, do not prune your plant after August 1st. Endless Summer varieties bloom on both old and new wood (that's why they have so many blooms) and you don't want to risk snipping off anything that can bloom next year.
What is your favorite type of hydrangea? Have you ever grown one in a pot or urn before?
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