Hydrangeas are aesthetically beautiful plants that brighten the look of any place with colorful flowers. However, you might have wondered how to grow hydrangeas in containers.
Following is a guide on how you can grow Hydrangeas in Pots.
Choosing a container
While planting hydrangeas in a container, make sure that the roots have a lot of space to grow. Hydrangeas have a vast root system that grows rapidly. If the roots get suffocated, it might lead to root rot.
Make sure that the pot is at least 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. The container can be made of stone, terracotta, plastic, ceramic, or wood.
The material does not matter as long as it has a wide base, plenty of space for the roots to grow, and good drainage.
Ensure that your pot has adequate draining holes. If not, you can drill some holes at the bottom yourself. It is important for the container to have at least 3 to 4 holes so that the excess water can flow out easily.
If water accumulates in the soil, it will cause damage to the roots.
Consider getting a heavier pot. This is because hydrangeas are top-heavy, so a heavier pot will not topple over if there is a strong wind.
Preparing the container
Before you plant your hydrangeas in a new pot, you will need to prepare the pot.
If you are using a container that has been used before, make sure that you clean and disinfect it thoroughly before using it again to avoid the spread of any diseases.
Place a layer of broken pottery or stones at the bottom of the pot. You can also add a layer of gravel. This will help to improve the drainage of your hydrangea plant.
When you use gravel or stones, make sure that the layer is thick enough to cover the entire bottom part of the container.
Choose the right soil for your plant. When you are planting your hydrangeas, you need soil that is rich in nutrients. Usually, topsoil does not have the nutrients required by the plant to thrive.
You can use a potting mix or compost along with the soil before planting your hydrangea. Stir it with the topsoil to make a mix that will work well for your plant. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the mix.
The type of compost that you use with the soil will also depend on the type of hydrangea that you have. The H. Macrophylla varieties of hydrangeas are pH-sensitive. If grown in acidic soil, they will have flowers that are blue in color.
The flowers will be pink if grown in alkaline soil. For this reason, you will need to know the type of hydrangea you have, as well as the pH of the soil.
If you have blue hydrangeas, you will need good quality acidic compost to keep them blue. If you have pink hydrangeas, any good quality compost will be fine.
How to grow hydrangeas in containers?
Once you have the right container, drainage, and soil ready, you are ready to transplant your hydrangea into the new pot.
Here are the steps that you can follow –
- Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root system of your plant.
- Place the plant in the soil and loosely fill in the soil around the roots. Do not pack it compactly. Just fill it loosely so that the entire root system is covered.
- Once your plant is in, fill the potting mix so that it is just 2 inches below the rim of the pot. Spread the soil and fill it evenly so that the topsoil and the base of your hydrangea are around 2 inches below the rim of the container.
- When you leave space in your container between the top-soil and the rim of the container, you ensure that you can water your plant thoroughly without the water spilling out from the sides along with some of the soil.
- Press the topsoil gently so that you pack the base of the plant. Remove any air pockets or mounds of soil and make the surface of the soil even.
- Once your plant is firmly in place, water it thoroughly. Use a hose or a watering can to water the soil up to the rim of the container.
- Then wait and let it all drain, and then repeat the process if needed. Doing so ensures that your hydrangea has plenty of water as it gets established in the new soil.
Caring for the hydrangeas in containers
Here are the factors that you should care for while growing Hydrangeas in Containers.
Hydrangeas need a lot of sunlight, although it will depend on the variety of hydrangea that you have. Some varieties like the morning sun, while some prefer the afternoon shade.
So, make sure that your hydrangeas receive the morning sun and afternoon shade.
Hydrangeas will need at least 6 hours of sunlight throughout the day on average. Hydrangeas can dry out very quickly, so make sure they are only exposed to partial sunlight.
Growing them in direct sunlight can lead to burns on the foliage and the flowers, while too much shade can result in very few blooms.
Hydrangea likes moist soil; therefore, it needs frequent and deep watering. It might need around 2 inches of water every week, and more during hot and dry weather.
To determine if your hydrangea needs water, you can perform a simple soil test. Here are the steps you should take.
- Just stick your finger into the soil.
- If your finger comes out muddy with residue on your skin, it is probably overwater and needs to be dried out a bit.
- If you are not able to stick your finger into the soil because the soil is too dry and firm, then it is in need of watering.
- The perfect soil for hydrangeas is when it feels soft and crumbly to the touch, but never sticky and muddy.
- Make sure that your pot has a good drainage system so that excess water does not remain in the soil and become waterlogged, causing root rot and other diseases.
The optimum temperature for growing hydrangeas is around 70 Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) during the day and more than 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) during the night.
If the plant is exposed to temperatures below 40 Fahrenheit or 4 Celsius, the plant might die due to the cold.
If the temperature is not suitable for the plant, bring the plant indoors. Excess heat and excess cold both can cause the hydrangea to wilt and die.
Propagating hydrangeas is quite easy, and you can do so from cuttings as well as from seeds.
Choose a tender stem and cut 5 to 6 inches just below the leaf node with sanitized gardening shears. Remove all the leaves from the cutting except two sets of leaves at the top of the stem.
Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone and place it in a small pot containing moist potting soil. Cover it with a plastic bag.
Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Keep away from direct sunlight. You will see new roots forming on the cuttings within one or two weeks.
When the blooming period is finished, collect flower stems in a paper bag. Let the flower heads dry in it. After a few days, shake the paper bag and collect the seeds from the flowers.
During the spring season, fill 2/3rd of a container of about 8 to 10 inches with perlite potting soil. Water the soil thoroughly so that it becomes moist.
Sprinkle the seeds in the container and cover them with plastic. Place the container in a container where it gets good light.
After two to three weeks, seeds will germinate in the soil. Once you see some leaves forming, you can transfer them into a large pot.
Winter care for Hydrangeas grown in Pot
To care for your plants in winter, you will have two options.
The first option is to bring your plants indoors to protect them from the cold weather. It is easier to control the climate and temperature inside the house.
If your pots are too large to move or if you have no space inside or if you just need to keep the pots outside the house, you will need to create a protective barrier around the plant.
Create a fence around the plant and cover it with some breathable material like burlap. A material like plastic will not allow proper airflow.
Reasons to grow hydrangeas in containers
Often gardeners grow Hydrangeas in containers for the reasons below.
Lack of space
One of the reasons why you would grow hydrangeas in containers is a lack of space. If you do not have a garden or a backyard, or enough space for your plants, containers are the best option.
With their compact shape and colorful, rounded flowers, hydrangeas in containers look very beautiful.
You can place the pots anywhere – outside, on your window sill or on your balcony, or even in your room. They liven up any dull environment with their vibrant flowers.
The climate of a region is one of the reasons to grow hydrangeas in pots. If you live in regions where it gets really cold during winters, growing your hydrangeas in pots can be beneficial.
You can just move the containers inside the house or a sheltered area in a warm place, where the plants won’t get injured or die from the cold.
It is easier to adjust the pH of the soil when you are growing the plant in containers. The H. Macrophylla varieties of hydrangeas can change color.
The color of the flowers depends on the pH of the soil. By adjusting the acidity of the soil, you can easily change the color of the flowers.