Hydrangea Care Now

Florist hydrangeas are now in bud.

Florist hydrangeas, sometimes called “Mopheads,” are now budded in our area. With the buds showing it is time to do several things to make sure your blooms are beautiful. First, now is the time to remove all the dead branches as all the foliage on the old wood that is going to sprout and bloom. Now if you have areas of old wood that is dead, and below the stem is healthy foliage, cut it to remove at the point of the new growth, but cut the dead branch slightly above the area putting out growth. Also, I fertilize the plants now because the bloom buds have formed, and the fertilizer will help with bloom size. In our area a product like 15-0-15 or similar formulation is a good choice. A third or half a cup, depending on the size of the plant, sprinkled around the edge of the plant is all you should need. I guess the biggest question is flower color. If your plant has been in the ground over the year, and last year the flower color was not strong but faded or washed out, now is the time to adjust the soil’s pH. If you want to increase the blue color look for a soil acidifier, or if you want a better pink buy a produce that contains lime that will be available quickly. Lets face it, I go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a bag of the product with the hydrangea color you are trying to improve. These bags run around $8.00, and there is plenty for lots of hydrangeas. Remember if you cut the dormant sticks off your plants over the winter, don’t expect many blooms this year.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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