Do These 8 Things To Your Hydrangeas; They’ll Produce More Blooms

Spring is a critical season for gardeners, especially for those who adore the vibrant and lush blooms of hydrangeas.

As the weather warms up, your hydrangeas awaken from their winter dormancy, ready to burst into a spectacular display of color.

But to ensure they reach their full blooming potential, a little extra care and attention are required. In this blog post, we’ll share five essential springtime tips that will help your hydrangeas thrive and produce more abundant, eye-catching flowers.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be rewarded with a garden full of stunning hydrangea blooms all season long.

1. Proper Pruning


Why Pruning is Important:

Encourages Growth: Pruning helps stimulate new growth and flower production.

Shapes the Plant: Maintains the desired shape and size of the hydrangea, preventing it from becoming overgrown.

Removes Dead or Diseased Parts: Keeps the plant healthy by removing dead, damaged, or diseased wood.

Pruning Methods Based on Hydrangea Type:

  • Mophead and Lacecap Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla):
    • Prune After Flowering: These types bloom on old wood (growth from the previous year). Prune them immediately after they finish flowering, usually in late summer or early fall. This ensures you don’t cut off next year’s flower buds.
    • Remove Dead Wood: Cut back any dead, weak, or damaged stems to the base.
  • Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) and Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens):
    • Prune in Late Winter or Early Spring: These types bloom on new wood (growth from the current year). Prune them in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.
    • Cut Back Hard: You can prune these types more aggressively, cutting stems back to about 1/3 of their length to encourage strong new growth and abundant flowering.

2. Optimal Sunlight


Importance of Sunlight:

Energy for Photosynthesis: Adequate sunlight is essential for photosynthesis, which fuels the plant’s growth and flower production.

Flower Formation: The right amount of light can significantly impact the number and size of blooms.

Sunlight Requirements Based on Hydrangea Type:

  • Most Hydrangeas: Prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. This balance prevents the flowers and foliage from scorching in the hot afternoon sun while still providing enough light for robust growth.
  • Panicle Hydrangeas: Can tolerate more sun and even thrive in full sun conditions, as long as they are watered adequately.

Tips for Optimal Sunlight:

  • Assess Sun Exposure: Observe the planting site throughout the day to ensure hydrangeas receive 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, preferably in the morning.
  • Adjust Planting Location: If hydrangeas are not blooming well, consider transplanting them to a spot with better light conditions.

3. Soil Quality and Fertilization


Soil Requirements:

Well-Draining Soil: Hydrangeas prefer soil that drains well to prevent root rot while retaining enough moisture.

Slightly Acidic to Neutral pH: Optimal pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.0. The pH level can also affect flower color in some hydrangea species (as discussed earlier).

Improving Soil Quality:

Organic Matter: Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its structure, fertility, and moisture retention.

Mulch: Applying mulch helps maintain soil moisture and temperature, and adds nutrients as it decomposes.


Balanced Fertilizer: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14, applied in early spring. This provides essential nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) for healthy growth and blooming.

Avoid Over-Fertilizing: Excessive fertilization can lead to lush foliage at the expense of flowers. Follow the recommended dosage on the fertilizer package.

Timing: Fertilize in early spring and, if needed, a light application in early summer. Avoid fertilizing late in the season, as this can promote new growth that may not harden off before winter.

4. Apply a Layer of Mulch

Benefits of Mulching:

Moisture Retention: Mulch helps retain soil moisture by reducing evaporation. This is crucial for hydrangeas, which prefer consistently moist soil.

Temperature Regulation: Mulch acts as an insulating layer, keeping the soil cooler in summer and warmer in winter, protecting the roots from extreme temperatures.

Weed Suppression: A thick layer of mulch can help suppress weeds, which compete with hydrangeas for water and nutrients.

Soil Improvement: Organic mulches, like bark or compost, decompose over time, enriching the soil with nutrients and improving its structure.

How to Mulch:

Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the hydrangea.

Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem to prevent rot and pest infestations.

Replenish the mulch annually to maintain its effectiveness.

5. Transplant

When and Why to Transplant:

Timing: The best time to transplant hydrangeas is in the early spring or fall, when the temperatures are cooler, and the plant is not in active bloom.

Reasons for Transplanting: You might need to transplant hydrangeas if they are outgrowing their current location, not receiving enough sunlight, or if the soil conditions are not ideal.

Steps for Transplanting:

Preparation: Water the hydrangea thoroughly a day before transplanting to ensure the root ball is hydrated.

Digging Up: Dig around the hydrangea’s base to create a wide root ball. Be careful not to damage the roots.

Replanting: Dig a hole in the new location that is twice as wide but just as deep as the root ball. Place the hydrangea in the hole, fill in with soil, and water thoroughly.

Aftercare: Keep the transplanted hydrangea well-watered for the first few weeks to help it establish in its new location. Mulch around the base to retain moisture and regulate temperature.

6. Change Bloom Color


Understanding Bloom Color:

  • Soil pH Effect: The color of some hydrangea flowers, particularly those of the Hydrangea macrophylla (bigleaf) and Hydrangea serrata (mountain hydrangea), is influenced by soil pH.
    • Acidic Soil (pH < 6.0): Produces blue flowers due to the availability of aluminum in the soil.
    • Neutral to Alkaline Soil (pH > 7.0): Produces pink or red flowers as aluminum becomes less available.

How to Change Bloom Color:

  • For Blue Flowers:
    • Lower pH: Add sulfur or peat moss to the soil to make it more acidic.
    • Aluminum Sulfate: Apply aluminum sulfate to the soil to increase the availability of aluminum.
  • For Pink or Red Flowers:
    • Raise pH: Add lime to the soil to make it more alkaline.
    • Avoid Aluminum: Ensure the soil does not contain aluminum or is low in it.

Steps to Adjust Soil pH:

Test your soil pH to determine its current level.

Follow the recommended amounts of sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or lime based on your soil test results and the desired color change.

Apply the amendments gradually and monitor the pH over time, as changes can take a few months to become noticeable.

Continue to adjust and maintain the soil pH as needed to keep the desired flower color.

7. Consistent Watering

Regular Watering: Hydrangeas need consistent moisture, especially during dry spells. Water deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

8. Protection from Pests and Diseases

Inspect Regularly: Check for pests like aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Disease Prevention: Ensure good air circulation around the plants to prevent fungal diseases. Remove any diseased leaves or stems and avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of mildew and blight.