When you think of hydrangeas, you think of statement hedges and elegant outdoor gardens featuring large mophead flowers in vibrant colors. But this superstar shrub isn't just reserved for the garden; hydrangeas can thrive in containers too! From porches to patios, container gardening brings the vibrant and captivating beauty of hydrangeas right to your doorstep. Here we'll discuss the do's and don'ts you need to consider to grow hydrangeas in pots and containers.
[DO] Choose the right location
For your hydrangeas to flourish, the container must be placed in a location receiving at least part sun (4-6 hours) or full sun (+6 hours) per day. If you live in warmer regions where temperatures soar during the peak season, potted hydrangeas could benefit from some shade in the afternoon to keep the soil wet. Luckily, pots and containers allow for the mobility of your hydrangeas, meaning you can adjust the location throughout the season!
[DO] Choose weatherproof containers
When you search for the perfect container that aligns with your style, consider choosing a weatherproof material that helps withstand the outdoor elements. Hydrangeas cannot be grown indoors in normal household conditions successfully in winter, so they must stay outdoors. Therefore, the container must be made of a material that won't break or flake apart from exposure to freeze-thaw cycles.
[DO] Consider your spacing
Once you've determined your location, it's time to put your hydrangeas in their container; how exciting! When placing your hydrangeas in your pot, leave a good 1-2" between the top of the soil and the rim of the container. This leaves space for water to flow when you water or it rains without losing the soil.
[DO] Remember to transplant
While hydrangeas can grow successfully in a large container for several years, it's not permanent. If your plant becomes challenging to keep adequately watered, appears stunted, has small leaves, or the flowers are small or diminished, it's time to move on. You can transplant it into a larger container or the ground or start over with a fresh hydrangea.
[DON'T] Stress about the type of soil
When shopping for potting soil for your hydrangeas, remember that you don't need to search endlessly for anything special. Any potting mix for containers from the garden center will do! Also, avoid using topsoil or anything dug out of your yard - these are heavy and don't provide the drainage the plants need.
[DON'T] Forget to water thoroughly
Hydrangeas thrive in consistently moist soil, but overwatering can lead to root rot and wilting, while underwatering can cause stunted growth and lackluster blooms. To provide the right amount of hydration, monitoring the soil's moisture levels in your potted hydrangea is crucial. Then, ensure the water reaches the roots by watering until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Depending on the growing zone and pot size, hydrangeas may require watering every two to three days or as needed. Remember, a well-hydrated hydrangea will reward you with abundant blooms!
[DON'T] Take up root space
Don't put anything into the bottom to take up space, like packing peanuts, milk jugs, old plastic pots, etc., unless your container is deeper than 18-20". While it's understandable to want to save money and use less soil, these shrubs need all that root space they can get to grow well and thrive.
[DON'T] Forget to do your research
Remember, not all hydrangea varieties are the same! It's essential to do your research as to the needs of different hydrangea shrubs. Dwarf hydrangeas are an excellent choice for nearly every pot or container, but bigleaf, panicle and smooth varieties can also thrive. Consider your zone and the levels of sunlight in your area to help you choose the best hydrangea for your container.