March Madness - For the Hydrangea World

Hello from Hydrangeas Plus

We’re gearing up for spring around here! No signs of snow this week and we’re expected to hit almost 70 degrees next week. We hope you’re excited for your hydrangeas this year. Be sure to check out our new varieties here and, of course, our oldies but goodies as well.

What should I be doing for my hydrangeas in March?

I made a checklist the other day for my friend (who is a landscaper). He was wondering what he should be doing for his clients regarding their hydrangeas here in Oregon. I thought I would share in case you were having the same questions. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

  1. Assess Winter Damage:

    • Inspect hydrangea branches for any winter damage, such as broken or dead stems.

    • Prune away damaged or dead wood, cutting back to healthy tissue.

  2. Pruning Guidelines:

    • Identify the specific type of hydrangea you have (e.g., bigleaf, panicle, smooth) to determine the appropriate pruning approach.

    • Prune dead, weak, or crossing branches.

    • For varieties that bloom on old wood (last year's growth), avoid extensive pruning to ensure blooming in the current season.

  3. Remove Old Blooms:

    • Trim off any remaining dried flower heads from the previous year to encourage new growth.

    • Cut the stems just above the first set of healthy buds.

  4. Soil pH Testing:

    • Test the soil pH to determine if any adjustments are needed for flower color control.

    • A soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is ideal for most hydrangea varieties.

    • Add lime to raise pH for pink flowers, or aluminum sulfate to lower pH for blue flowers.

  5. Soil Enrichment:

    • Amend the soil with well-rotted compost or organic matter to improve drainage and nutrient content.

    • Work the amendments into the top few inches of soil.

  6. Mulching:

    • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the hydrangea, keeping it a few inches away from the stem. 

    • Mulch helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

    • Pine bark, aged garden mulch or straw mulch works well for hydrangeas.

  7. Fertilization:

    • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a specific hydrangea fertilizer according to package instructions.

    • Fertilize early in the growing season to support new growth.

  8. Watering:

    • Water hydrangeas thoroughly after fertilizing and continue to provide adequate moisture throughout the growing season.

    • Ensure consistent soil moisture, especially during dry periods.

  9. Sunlight Assessment:

    • Confirm that your hydrangeas are planted in a location that receives the appropriate amount of sunlight based on their specific requirements.

    • Adjust their placement if necessary.

    • While hydrangeas generally prefer partial shade, the specific sunlight requirements can vary among different varieties.

  10. Check for Pests and Diseases:

    • Inspect leaves for any signs of pests, such as slugs, aphids or spider mites.

    • Check for symptoms of common hydrangea diseases, such as powdery mildew or leaf spot.

  11. Support Structures:

    • Install or check any support structures for taller or climbing hydrangea varieties.

    • Ensure that the plant has proper support as it grows.

Amendments for sale

Did you know we sell fertilizer, aluminum sulfate and lime you can use on your hydrangeas? It’s great stuff. Let me tell you about our products.

Fertilizer - This is a 12-8-8 product we’ve been selling in 2 pound bags for at least 15 years. It’s a well balanced, time released fertilizer. It breaks down with water AND heat. We recommend using 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height two or three times per year. The first application should be done at first leaf site (March, April or May - depending on where you live) and then again when you see flower buds forming. A third application can be done in the fall if needed. We have a maximum order of 8 bags due to weight. For orders over 1 amendment, please order separately to avoid damage to the plants during shipping.

Here’s a link to the product page.

Blue - This miracle product is designed as a soil amendment to promote the development of blue flower colors in hydrangeas. This unique polymer coating controls the release of the aluminum and sulfate thus reducing the need for multiple applications and provides a steady release into the growing media. Controlling the release of sulfur helps prevent the fluctuations and/or rapid drops in soil pH which not only affects the nutrient availability but reduces the potential for aluminum toxicity. Controlling the release of aluminum helps prevent nutrient imbalances and also reduces the potential for aluminum toxicity. We recommend 1 tablespoon per foot plant height applied evenly around the base of the plant as soon as you see leaves forming. The breakdown of this product depends on rainfall. We reapply when you can no longer see the blue granulars. Around here, that’s usually 6 weeks. It comes in a 2 pound bag. Again, due to weight, we have a maximum order of 8 bags. For orders over 1 amendment, please order separately to avoid damage to the plants during shipping.

Here’s a link to the product page.

Lime - This is a coarse, granulated calcified lime product that will help keep your hydrangeas red and pink. Lime is also used for controlling moss in grass lawns and conditioning clay soils. We use it on our tomatoes as well. This comes in a 4 pound bag and we have a limit of 4 per order. Application rate is ¼ cup of lime for every foot tall of hydrangea for a new hydrangea or 1 pound per 100 square feet for established plants. Apply in the spring when you see leaves forming. Due to weight, we have a maximum of 4 bags. For orders over 1 amendment, please order separately to avoid damage to the plants during shipping.

Here’s a link to the product page.

We also sell a 3 amendment bundle (any 3) for $36.95.

Happy spring everyone!