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Hydrangea care — tips for abundance of flowers and colourfulness

Hydrangeas are known as classic houseplants, perennial garden plants or as important decorative elements for festivals. With large flower balls, the richly flowering subshrubs delight with countless flowers for many weeks. The robust plants have a long tradition and history. The ancestors of today’s cultural forms in Europe have been known since the 18th century. Due to extensive breeding work, an ever-increasing number of varieties and species are developing. The popular type of plant can be individually arranged depending on the style or purpose and offers a tasteful, simple and quick way decoration. In our guide to hydrangea care, we tell you, among other things, where the plant should be, how often it needs to be watered and the best way to fertilize. Open questions on the topics of wintering hydrangeas and pruning hydrangeas are also answered below.

Worth knowing Watering location Fertilizing in tubs Caring for plants Overwintering Pruning types Pests & diseases FAQ

Matching products: buy hydrangeas

Interesting facts about hydrangeas

Botanical name: Hydrangea macrophylla
Other names: hydrangea, ball hydrangea, plate hydrangea, farmer’s hydrangea
Use: flowering houseplant, table decoration, garden plant, container plant
Origin: China, Japan, temperate regions of South and North America
Flower colors: white, cream, pink, red, blue, bicolor
Flowering time: as a houseplant all year round
Special features:Hydrangeas are very popular as classic indoor plants with decorative, large flowers. They are available in a variety of flower colors and in a wide variety of growth forms (from mini to solitary plants). Regular watering is important for lush flowering. Lime-free water should be used for this.

Hydrangea location: Where does my indoor hydrangea feel most comfortable in the house?

The perfect location for hydrangeas is bright and partially shaded. In direct sunlight, the plants suffer and unsightly burns can occur on the leaves and flowers. Temperatures between 15 and 20 °C are ideal. Directly above the radiator or near a stove is not an ideal hydrangea location. From mid-May, the hydrangea location can also be moved outdoors — if it is protected from the wind. It is important that there is no direct sunlight and that the plants are gradually accustomed to outdoor conditions.

Where is the perfect hydrangea location in the garden?

Varieties from the panicle hydrangea group are best suited for sunny locations. Snowball, oak leaf or velvet hydrangeas are suitable for partially shaded locations. The climbing hydrangea is best suited to shady locations. This is ideal for facade greening and pergolas. Hydrangeas like humidity, so a place near a garden fountain is an excellent location for hydrangeas.

How should I water my hydrangea?

When caring for hydrangeas, it is also important to ensure a regular water supply. Depending on the size of the pot ball, the room temperature and the sunlight, it may be necessary to water the hydrangea every day or every 2 days. Ideally, place your hydrangea in a planter with expanded clay drainage at the bottom. The plant pot is not directly in the water, the excess water can drain off and the humid climate promotes the vitality of the flowering plant. Pour your hydrangea with low-lime water, if available also with rainwater.

Our gardening tip: dip your hydrangea once a week. Here you immerse the plant placed in a bucket in the water until no more bubbles rise. Then take the potted plant out of the water and let it drain. This ensures that the root ball is completely moistened and the plant is sufficiently supplied with water.

How do I water my hydrangea in the garden?

Hydrangeas also need an even supply of water outdoors for a rich abundance of flowers. Watering is particularly important immediately after planting, in hot summers and in locations with little rainfall or light soil. Water your hydrangea deeply. Ideally, give 10 liters of water per plant each time you water it. Specimen plants need more and 5 liters is sufficient for small plants. The frequency of how often you have to water your hydrangea depends heavily on the irradiation away. Immediately after planting, watering every 2 to 3 days may be necessary. Once the garden plant has established itself and there is regular rainfall, watering can be omitted completely in some years.

How do I fertilize my hydrangea as a houseplant?

In order for hydrangeas to flower for a long time, an even supply of nutrients is important. Fertilization takes place from March to August with a special hydrangea fertilizer. Fertilize every 2 weeks, but only when the root ball is damp . If the root ball is too dry, fertilization can lead to root damage.

How do I properly fertilize my hydrangeas in the garden?

With special hydrangea fertilizer you ensure the optimal supply of nutrients to your plants. Start with the special fertilizer in spring and dose the fertilizer according to the information on the package. When fertilizing the hydrangeas, it is important that the soil is not too dry before the fertilization process and that an even water supply is ensured even after fertilization.

How do I properly care for my hydrangeas in pots?

Many hydrangea varieties can be kept in pots for years. So you can also enjoy the flowers on the balcony and terrace. Important for hydrangeas in pots are even soil moisture and a semi-shady location. A fertilization with special fertilizer takes place from May to August. The frequency of fertilization and the dosage depend on the type of fertilizer. Hydrangeas are hardy, but the plant is a little more sensitive to low temperatures in pots. It is important that the bucket is big enough is, the plant is protected with garden fleece and the pot is in a sheltered place in the house. Overwintering the hydrangea in a frost-free place is good. Basically, panicle hydrangeas overwinter better in a pot than ordinary garden hydrangeas.

How do I properly care for my hydrangeas so that the flowers turn blue and the blue color of the flowers is retained?

Some hydrangea varieties can delight with blue flowers if the soil conditions are right. Whether your hydrangea has blue flowers in the best location depends on the variety. The pH of the soil and the presence of aluminum are important for the blue colouration. At a pH of 4.0 to 4.5, the chemical element causes the buds to turn blue. You should start adding hydrangea blue as soon as they sprout in spring.

Tip for hydrangea care: Dose the aluminum responsible for the blue discoloration according to the information on the packaging. When using it, it is important that the root ball is moist and that a continuous water supply is also guaranteed in the days that follow. Hydrangeas in pots need a dose of Hydrangea Blue about every 2 to 3 weeks. Depending on the variety, the color change may take some time. In some cases, interesting shades of violet are the result of the blue coloring as an intermediate stage. From March, give your hydrangeas the hydrangea blue regularly. Certain hydrangea varieties only turn blue if used continuously.

How can I plant my hydrangea?

In principle, there is a hydrangea species for every location. However, it is important for all species that the soil conditions are right. On heavy soils that tend to waterlogging, adequate drainage must be provided before planting hydrangeas, as waterlogging is not tolerated. Light sandy soils require soil improvement with structurally stable hydrangea soil. In this way you create the best conditions and support the growth of all hydrangea species.

Acidic soil: For all hydrangeas, it is optimal if the soil has a pH of 4.5 to 6. If the location is too alkaline, certain nutrients cannot be absorbed. A good supply of nutrients to the plants is the best protection against pests, diseases and deficiency symptoms. Planting the hydrangea correctly will result in vigorous growth and lush flowers.

How should I overwinter my hydrangea?

The best way to overwinter hydrangeas is to protect them from very severe frost. However, it is not necessary to pot the plants and then store them indoors. Because the common types of hydrangea are hardy when planted in the garden . It is important that the last fertilization takes place no later than the beginning of August. A mulch layer of foliage helps the plants at the root collar. In extreme locations, you should use brushwood or fleece to overwinter and protect the hydrangeas accordingly. It is important that the plant can breathe and no film is used for winter protection. Late frosts in spring sometimes damage the new shoots. Varieties that bloom on one-year-old wood still delight with lush flowers. Farmer’s hydrangeas are often without flowers after late frosts, because the flowers started the year before. With this species, the right hydrangea overwintering is particularly important.

How can I prune my hydrangea?

When pruning garden hydrangeas, a basic distinction is made between 3 pruning groups:

  1. This group flowers on last year ‘s wood : Hydrangea macrophylla (ball hydrangeas) are hardly ever cut back, only very little in spring. If you cut too deep or too much, no flowers will come that year.

This group flowers on this year’s bud break : panicle hydrangeas and snowball hydrangeas. Cut back the hydrangeas in the spring (one third remains, two thirds are cut back).

What different types of hydrangeas are there?

The variety of hydrangeas is very large. In addition to the well-known garden hydrangeas, there are some special features and novelties in the hydrangea group that are worth discovering. There is a suitable species for every location in the garden. Find out the advantages of the individual hydrangeas and their requirements. Hydrangeas are one of our most popular garden plants and with their impressive flowers, they magically attract attention. Incomparably, many small individual flowers form a large inflorescence. When you think of hydrangeas, you might think of the farm hydrangea group, but the Hydrangea genus has many more interesting things to offer. Here you can learn interesting facts about the special plants and why it is worth planting different hydrangeas.

1) Snowball Hydrangea — Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

This enchanting species impresses with the lush flower balls that appear reliably year after year on the annual wood. Therefore, a strong pruning in the spring is recommended. Plant the snowball hydrangea in a semi-shady place with sufficient moisture and you will enjoy this majestic shrub with upright growth in the first year.

2) Panicle Hydrangea — Hydrangea paniculata with many varieties

Would you like to plant a hydrangea in a sunny location ? Then the group of panicle hydrangeas is the ideal solution. With few demands on the location, this group of hydrangeas delights with lush flowers. Varieties with changing flower colors are particularly appealing. Cut back hardy garden plants in spring, just before they sprout. Up to a third of the plant can be shortened. By pruning you influence the willingness to bloom. Furthermore, fertilization with high-quality special fertilizer supports the flower size and number.
These groups do not require pruning : climbing hydrangeas, oakleaf hydrangeasand velvet hydrangeas. They are only cut back when they get too tall.

3) Oakleaf Hydrangea — Hydrangea quercifolia

Get to know and love the specialty. With its upright shape, the distinctive oak leaf hydrangea is suitable for a solitary position in the garden. This is how the splendor of the flowers, their growth character and their foliage, which turns a dreamy wine red in autumn, come into their own. The large, oak-leaved foliage is characteristic of this rarity. In climatically favorable locations, the foliage can remain on the plant over the winter. Like all hydrangeas, this garden treasure is robust and easy to care for, without making any special demands on the location. This is how the oak leaf hydrangea feelsin the penumbra, in the sun and in the shade well. A location with sufficient moisture and a high humus content is important. For planting, therefore, use high-quality potting soil and water if it is dry for a long time.

4) Velvet Hydrangea — Hydrangea sargentiana

Get to know this noble type of hydrangea, which owes its name to its velvety leaves. The velvet hydrangea is striking in sunny to partially shaded locations. The flat umbels of flowers are unique, with violet, small false flowers on the inside and large, white outer flowers on the outside. An eye-catcher that enriches your garden and serves as a valuable food source for many insects. Fertilization in spring and an even supply of water from April to August are essential for lush flowers and large, lush green leaves, but this special feature does not tolerate waterlogging.

5) Climbing Hydrangea — Hydrangea petiolaris

Create green walls with climbing hydrangeas. This hardy and robust garden plant is ideal for greening shady facades, pergolas and taller trees. Enjoy the decorative, green leaves as soon as they sprout in April and the numerous flowers in summer. Since the climbing plant is anchored with adhesive roots, no climbing aid is necessary, only when planting in pots as a privacy screen on balconies and terraces are lattices and trellises helpful. The climbing hydrangea is particularly valuable because of its nectar-rich flowers. Ideally, you plant the climbing hydrangea in cool, damp locations in partial shade or shade. An adequate supply of nutrients and permeable soil are important for splendid growth; calcareous soil, waterlogging and blazing sun are not tolerated. The easy-care plant initially only grows a little, once it has acclimatized, the growth is larger and, if necessary, it tolerates pruning very well. In contrast to the other types of hydrangea, the climbing hydrangea only produces enchanting flowers in the 2nd or 3rd year.

10 reasons why you should plant hydrangeas:

    1. The variety of varieties and species leaves nothing to be desired.
    2. Hydrangeas require little care in the ideal location.
    3. With the long flowering period in summer, they are an integral part of any garden.
    4. There are suitable hydrangea species and varieties for every location.
    5. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the delicate fragrance of some varieties.
    6. Hydrangeas are trees and plants that can stand alone in the garden. With hydrangeas you create a special atmosphere and they serve as eye-catchers.
    7. Certain varieties change their flower color during the flowering period, bringing a new look to the garden.
    8. Some hydrangea species also feel very comfortable in the tub and decorate the terrace and balcony.
    9. Climbing hydrangeas are ideal for greening facades and as privacy screens.

Many hydrangea species are very hardy and do not need winter protection.

What Pests and Diseases Can My Hydrangeas Get?

With the right site conditions, hydrangeas in the house and garden are insensitive to diseases and pests. Usually weakened plants or a less than ideal location are responsible for problems with hydrangeas. Here are some possible problems with hydrangeas:

spider mites

Hydrangeas are attacked by spider mites, especially in a very sunny location or with dry root balls. The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that lead to the vitalization of the plant.

vine weevil

The vine weevil beetles cause a semicircular pitting on the leaves. This damage is a visual nuisance only. Worse is the damage the larvae cause to the roots. The plants become limp, stop growing and can even die. Biological opponents are used to combat the larvae. So-called parasitic nematodes are easy to use and effective.


The leaves are yellow and the veins are green. These symptoms tell you that the soil is too basic and/or not receiving enough iron. Sometimes the iron cannot be absorbed by the plant. With special iron fertilizer, improvements can occur quickly. You can also add soil with a low pH to the plants and work it in.


This fungal disease is shown by a gray coating on the upper and lower side of the leaf. The mealy coating spreads quickly and usually only the use of a fungicide helps. In order to avoid mildew infestation, it is important that you provide your plant with sufficient nutrients and ensure an even water supply.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about hydrangeas

Why aren’t my hydrangeas blooming?

Possible reasons why hydrangeas do not bloom can be the following:

      • Has the plant been pruned ? The inflorescence is often removed by wrong pruning.
      • Is fertilizer missing ? If there is a lack of fertilizer, only sparse flowers are formed.
      • Is the plant too dark ? Sufficient light is necessary for flowering.

Has the plant already sprouted and a late forest has damaged the buds?

Which plants are suitable for combining with hydrangeas?

All perennials that do well in partial shade are ideal.

Examples of combinations are: columbine, ivy, Waldsteina, goat’s beard or low trees.

Which hydrangeas bloom the longest?

The latest breeds have selected hydrangeas that have the ability to rebloom. This so-called remounting is also known for roses that bloom more often . The new breeds of hydrangea have the advantage that they flower much longer and, after a slight pruning, produce new flowers again within 6 to 8 weeks.

Which hydrangeas are good for bees as a food source?

Climbing hydrangeas in particular, with their simple flowers, offer a valuable source of food for bees and many other insects.

Why do hydrangeas wilt despite good care?

Especially in hot phases, hydrangeas can wilt and the leaves are limp. A partially shaded, humus-rich location is important for hydrangeas. If the conditions are right, hydrangeas rarely wilt.

Can hydrangeas be propagated from cuttings?

Many hydrangea species can be propagated by cuttings. The head cuttings are cut off with sharp scissors and placed in seed trays or in a seed set with a transparent cover. When propagating, only shoots that do not yet have flower buds are selected. After 4 to 6 weeks the first roots have formed and the young hydrangea plants can be repotted in pots with potting soil.

Can hydrangea flowers be used as cut flowers?

Hydrangea flowers are suitable for magical decorations. They only need a shady place and plenty of water. Some of the flowers quickly hang their heads, but recover quickly if you put them completely in water.

Do purple hydrangeas also need hydrangea blue to keep their colour?

Yes hydrangea blue is necessary. Furthermore, the pH should be in the acidic range.