When to plant hydrangea, according to experts

When to plant hydrangea, according to experts

Whether you’re creating a dreamy English cottage garden or looking for the perfect potted plant for your balcony, hydrangeas add an exotic feel wherever you plant them. These beauties explode with clusters of flowers in various colors, such as pink, white, blue, purple and green.

Additionally, most hydrangeas are perennials, which means you’ll have gorgeous flowering shrubs year after year. Although they are relatively low maintenance, you need to know when to plant hydrangeas so they can establish strong roots and thrive.

We spoke with gardening experts to get the scoop on when to plant hydrangeas by region and type so you can keep them healthy and enjoy their dazzling blooms every year.

When to plant hydrangea, depending on the type

“When planting hydrangeas, time is of the essence, as with most plants. But you have a very large window to play with. The key is to find a period when you are not in danger of frost and avoid drought at the same time,” says Amber Noyes, gardening expert. and horticulturist and executive editor of Gardening Chores magazine.

Here are the common types of hydrangeas and when to plant them according to experts.

Hydrangea bushes

Fall and spring are the best times to plant hydrangea bushes, Noyes says. You can also plant them in the summer, but this is not recommended. If you do this, she says, you should make sure to keep the shrubs watered and avoid full sun because the heat can hamper their efforts to establish their roots in the new soil.

“Plant your hydrangea when it is dormant, and completely avoid it when the plant is in bloom. At this stage, it is at its weakest, and the least you can expect is for all the large flowers to wilt, but the foliage and growth will fade. “She suffers too,” she explains.

Where you plant is vital, too, says Jane McDonald, certified organic gardener and co-founder of Garden Girls. “Since there are so many different types of hydrangea, it is important to choose the variety based on where you want to grow it,” she advises. “Choose a location that favors the hydrangea you select.”

Climbing hydrangea

Should you plant climbing and shrub hydrangeas at different times? Noyes says the answer is no; The same timing applies to both types. Fall is usually the best time to plant, with spring a close second.

“Planting in the fall is often preferred because hydrangeas are approaching or already dormant and therefore not using as much energy. They are in the process of transferring energy from the foliage back to their roots, which reduces the potential for damage.” He explains.

There is a narrower window for spring planting, and it comes with potential risks. “At this time, the hydrangea begins to grow new buds and buds, transferring energy from the roots to the leaves. If the leaves have already begun to open, the plant may suffer from transplant shock, which may prevent flowering that year or result in ‘weak flowering’.” , she warns.

She also says that if you choose spring planting, make sure it is at the latest when you see small new buds growing on the branches and never beyond the first few leaves that have fully opened.

Potted hydrangea

“But when it comes to growing hydrangeas in pots, the opposite is true. It’s best to do it in the spring, and fall is a second option, but not soon. The point is that plants in pots are not as protected from frost,” Noyes says. “Like on Earth, and you don’t want to risk it.”

She advises taking some precautions if there is a chance of frost, such as wrapping the container with something warm, such as straw for example. “However, in warmer climates, planting them in the fall is entirely possible and usually successful.”

Hydrangea potted in the ground

If you’re wondering when to plant hydrangeas from a pot in the ground, Tammy Sons, horticulturist and CEO of TN Nursery, always suggests planting them in the fall.

“The best time to plant hydrangeas is fall or early spring. Fall is the best time to plant anything because the dormancy period is approaching, and any type of transplant shock or stress the plant will have to face throughout the winter to adapt and harden off before its growth begins the following spring,” she explains.

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When to plant hydrangea depending on the region

No matter what growing zone you live in, hydrangeas typically need six weeks of mild weather to establish strong roots, says Garden Girls’ MacDonald. “Plant them in the spring once the danger of frost has passed. You can also plant them in the fall when you are sure the summer heat is over. Extreme temperatures, both high and low, will stress hydrangeas and may affect future blooms.” ,” she explained.

Noyes explains that there is a difference in when hydrangeas should be planted according to USDA hardiness zones because the first and last frost days come at different times. Keep reading for average frost dates and expert tips on when to plant hydrangeas based on your gardening zone.

Zone 3

USDA gardening zones range from coldest to hottest. This region covers a group of states such as Wyoming, Montana, Maine, and parts of Colorado. Lowest temperatures for Zone 3 range from -40 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

In USDA zone 3, the first day of frost falls between September 8 and 15; The last frost day is between May 15 and 22.

Although winters are harsh in this region, you can still get beautiful hydrangeas if you plant them at the right time. Noyes says no matter what zone you’re in, you may want to stay on the safe side and plant your hydrangea a little after the last day of frost, and well before the first day of frost.

Zone 4

This region includes the northern states of the United States and some parts of Alaska, so it also has very cold winters. Lowest temperatures for Zone 4 range from -30 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first frost day for this area falls between September 21 and October 7; The last frost day is between April 21 and May 12. So, if you are choosing to grow hydrangeas in pots and plant them in the spring, be sure to wait until mid-May to prevent losing your precious plants.

Zone 5

This region extends across the United States and includes states such as Virginia all the way to Alaska. The lowest temperature ranges between -20 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit. The first frost day falls between October 13 and October 21; The last frost day is between April 7 and April 30.

“Most hydrangeas will only grow well in zones 3-9,” explains Sons of TN Nursery. “Cold, very hot, and dry zones are very difficult to grow in.” She says the planting date depends on when dormancy begins. “For example, in northern lowland zones 3-5, the dormant season (fall) is 3-4 weeks earlier than in warmer zones. In zones 3-5, the best time to plant is September,” she says.

Zone 6

Region 6 is the most expansive region across the United States and extends from parts of New York all the way to Oregon and even into parts of Alaska. Temperatures range from -10 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The first frost day falls between October 17 and October 31; The last frost day is between April 1 and April 21.

So take Noyes’ advice and plant a little before the first day of frost if you’re planting in the fall rather than the spring.

Zone 7

When you get to warmer climates, you have less time for extremely cold temperatures and a longer growing season. This region covers a wide range of states from the east to the west coast. Some of the states included in this region are Alabama, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. In USDA zone 7, the first day of frost falls between October 29 and November 15; The last frost day is between March 22 and April 3.

The average winter temperature ranges between 0 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in this area, you can start planting as early as the spring and later in the fall.

Zone 8

If you live in a state within Zone 8, you have a longer window during which you can plant hydrangeas. It covers states like South Carolina, Texas and even the Oregon coast. The lowest average temperatures range between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first day of frost falls between November 7 and 28; The last frost day is between March 13 and 28. This means you can plant a little later in the fall because it won’t freeze until November.

Zone 9

States like Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, and others in warmer regions are found in this region. It is among the five warmest USDA zones, with average low temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees.

The first day of frost falls between November 25 and December 13; The last frost day is between February 6 and February 28. This is the shortest period between frost dates until it reaches zone 10 and beyond.

Remember, MacDonald says you need about six weeks of mild weather when planting hydrangeas, so this region offers warmer winter months, which provides more time for planting.

Zone 10

In USDA zones 10 and above, there is no frost at all. There are only a few states in this region, including Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, and a few others. In this area, you may also be able to grow hydrangeas during the winter.

It’s actually a good idea to plant during the winter in frost-free climates, Noyes says, because that way, you’ll make sure the plant is dormant and has all the time it needs to settle into the new soil before it starts growing again.

“To avoid transplant shock, be sure to preserve as much of the original root system as possible and water your hydrangea regularly until you see it has settled,” she advises.

Frequently asked questions

  • Where should hydrangeas not be planted?

    Noyes of Gardening Chores says you should never attempt to grow hydrangeas in Zones 1 and 2 due to extremely cold temperatures. “Similarly, hydrangeas are difficult to grow in very hot areas of the country; their heat tolerance ranges between zones 8 and 11 (but usually 9), depending on the variety. If you’re on the upper end of the heat tolerance of the hydrangea you’ve chosen, plant it in partial shade instead From full sun.”

    She also stresses that you should never plant hydrangeas in poor quality soil or where it lacks adequate drainage. They need fertile, well-drained soil.

  • Should hydrangeas be planted in full sun or shade?

    “Hydrangeas thrive in full sun and partial shade conditions. However, in warmer climates, they tend to prefer the latter conditions, especially if some shade and coolness can be provided during the afternoon hours,” says Noyes.

  • How to prepare the soil for planting hydrangea?

    Noyes advises preparing the soil using loam, clay or sandy soil, and avoiding chalk, as silt is the ideal choice. “Regardless of the type of soil, remember to enrich it with a generous amount of compost, but avoid compost that may burn the roots. Incorporating coarse sand will help improve drainage,” she advises.

  • Should hydrangeas be cut back for the winter?

    “No, you can’t cut them in the winter,” Noyes says. “But you do need to prune them, just to get rid of dry, diseased or rotten branches.”

    She recommends pruning hydrangea plants before the plant produces new buds and before it opens any new leaves. Therefore, autumn is the most appropriate period for pruning because it is when the plant enters the dormant stage.

  • Does hydrangea like a lot of water?

    “Hydrangeas, far from being drought-tolerant, are always looking for good watering. Their green, leafy mounds are clear signs of their thirst. These plants appreciate regular and moderate moisturizing, but remember that they are not fans of water. – Register,” Noyes explains

    The larger the hydrangea, the thirstier it gets. An adult plant’s needs can range from 1 to 2 gallons of water per week, with seasonal heat being a deciding factor. You will water it less during the colder months. They also require more frequent watering after transplanting.

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