In this article: Enjoy the colorful beauty of flowers in a small space with these simple tips for hydrangea care in pots.
I’ll admit that I’m no expert in flower gardening, but oh, do I ever love flowers!
I’ve spent time pouring over magazine articles and asking local experts about growing flowers in our growing zone (8) here in the Pactific Northwest.
When we dramatically downsized a few years ago, our townhouse came with a little cement patio.
There’s not much space for a flower garden, so I decided to experiment with growing hydrangeas in pots.
They are just happier than clams this year, so I thought I’d share with you the simple hydrangea care tips I’ve learned.
How to Care for Hydrangea Plants in Pots
Purchase hydrangea plants at garden centers near the end of the summer when they are on sale (if budget is a factor).
If you are ready to go great guns with hydrangea growing at the height of their season, this may not apply to you. However, if you are wanting to keep your gardening budget to a minimum, here’s a tip : purchase plants at the end of the season when they are deeply clearanced.
I collected my 3 hydrangea plants slowly. Each of them was purchased when they looked very sad and forlorn in the store. I got them for a steal of a deal, and look what they look like now!
Place hydrangeas in a large enough pot to allow for good growth.
As you may notice in the picture above, I have 3 different varieties of hydrangeas. They differ in the size that they can grow, the size of thier leaves, the time that they bloom, and thier colors.
What is the same about them, though, is that they all need large containers to thrive.
Hydrangea roots need space to stretch and grow, so it is recommended to place them in pots with a depth and diameter of at least 40-60 centimeters.
The pots on the left and right are 20 inches in diameter by 17 inches tall. Here is one you can purchase online that is similar.
The tall one in the center is 15 inches in diameter by 22 inches tall – similar to this one.
Make sure the hydrangea pots drain well
Hydrangeas thrive in well drained soil, so make sure the pots they are in have a drainage hole in the bottom. If they don’t, use a drill to drill a few holes in the bottoms.
Use a potting soil mix that is formulated for plants in pots
Use a good quality potting soil with slow release fertilizer (plant food) mixed in – like this Miracle Grow kind when putting the hydrangeas in their new pots. Then at the beginning of each Spring, sprinkle in some slow release fertilizer plant food – like this Shake n Feed.
Someone once told me that water keeps plants alive, but their nutrients will be depleted if they aren’t given food, too. It’s like us humans! We can stay alive by drinking water…but we can’t thrive without food!;) I remember that principle as I take care of my outdoor and indoor houseplants.
Place your hydrangeas in pots in a semi-shady location
Location makes a really big difference with hydrangeas. They don’t like too much sun!!
Our little deck is mostly shaded, with some afternoon sun. They seem super happy there in their shady spot.
The amount of sun hydrangeas need will differ based on your location. The beauty of having them in pots is that you can move them around until you find their happy spot!
Water hydrangeas in pots frequently, so the soil doesn’t get dry during their blooming time
While hydrangeas are blooming they require daily watering. When we had an unusual hot spell this Summer, I even watered them twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening. That kept them healthy and happy.
I water them with my favorite lightweight, kink free garden hose with a garden hose nozzle, trying to ensure I keep the water at the roots. Avoid watering on the leaves, as it may spread disease. Water thoroughly until you see water starting to run out the drainage holes in the bottom of the container and onto the patio.
Harvest hydrangea blooms to encourage more healthy growth
Like many flowers, hydrangea blooms can be cut and used as beautiful cut flowers. And, by cutting off the blooms, you encourage more new healthy growth.
I found this super helpful video showing exactly how to cut hydrangeas for flower arranging, and even how to revive a wilted hydrangea bloom!
Trim hydrangeas in the Fall for nice growth the next Summer
Because I don’t want my hydrangeas to get huge, I cut them way back in the Fall. Then in the Spring and Summer it’s so much fun to watch them grow and bloom again!
How to prepare hydrangeas for Winter
Hydrangeas do need a cold period for blooms to appear. Because our winters here in Zone 8 are mild, I don’t need to do anything special to prepare them for Winter. I just leave them sitting out in their spots on the deck in their pots all winter long! Trimming them back in the Fall and setting them in front of the patio divider protects them from windstorms.
Check your local recommendations for Winter hydrangea care for your weather zone.
For other gardening posts, you may want to check out:
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