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Simple Tips for Growing Hydrangeas in the South.
Certain plants have a natural association with gardening in the South: dogwoods,magnolias, azaleas, camellias and, of course, hydrangeas. In my little area of the world I am fortunate to have all of these growing near my home. Most of them grow wild in the woods with the exception of hydrangeas. Over 10 years ago I planted three hydrangea bushes along our walkway and they have thrived beautifully. In fact, neighbors and friends often ask me “what do you do to grow such pretty flowers”? Truthfully, not much at all. In the hopes of helping my friends and educating myself I learned simple tips for growing hydrangeas in the south.
Pretty Front Door Greeting
In previous generations, you would be hard-pressed to find a little white frame country home without a big bush of puffy, pink, blue, or white hydrangea blooms in a place of honor by the front door. My grandparents had just this country home with pink hydrangeas as a front door greeting. Nowadays hybrid plants abound offering not only hardiness, but color variations as well.
Play in the Dirt
After doing this hydrangea research, I discovered something very important. Our rich Georgia clay is full of natural nutrients, making healthy plant growth much easier. Thank goodness, because I need all of the help that I can get! 😀I don’t know about y’all, but I am great with indoor plant care. My outdoor plants are in perpetual shock if truth be told. Too much water, not enough water and so on. Plus now that our temps are in the mid to high 90’s it seems harder to keep container plants alive.
Being that I clip a lot of the flowers for floral arrangements, it promotes better flower growth. The actual pruning of the plant is not as important. You can cut it back to the ground, or leave the plant at full growth even when dormant.
At least the hydrangeas are planted in the ground and are doing well. I had a bit of a panic moment this passed week because our HOA removed a large oak tree from our walkway. Its roots were creating a dangerous situation to our sidewalk. Our shaded area was immediately gone. The hydrangeas have wilted a bit during the hottest part of the day. After a good misting with the water hose, they spring right back!
General Hydrangea Care
- If you plant them in the summer, they need a lot more water in the beginning to establish the root system.
- Most varieties thrive in full sun to partial shade, as long as they are planted in moist, rich soil.
- Water deeply once a week, and maybe more, if the weather is particularly hot or dry. Especially when no rain is evidenced.
- Hydrangea fertilization needs vary greatly, depending on your zone. Check with your local professional
Using Hydrangeas for Cut-Flower Arrangements
- Cut them just as blooms fully develop.
- Cut your flowers in the early morning, before the sun gets too hot to evaporate some of their moisture.
- Cutting stem at a diagonal will allow the stem to take in the most amount of water, some people will even cut slits or fray the ends of the stems a little.
- Place your freshly cut flowers in vases or containers with clean, cool water.
- Keep in mind that many gardeners and florists complain that hydrangeas wilt faster than other cut flowers and may require a little extra planning. This has never been my experience. See below.
- Keep them out of drafty areas and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying.
- Sit back and admire their beauty! Again, these floral arrangements are now 2 weeks old and are still very fresh and lively.
All of these cuttings and floral arrangements are now 2 weeks old.
They are just as fresh and lively as they day I cut them.
With hydrangea cuttings I love to display them in simple containers. Nothing super fancy – Ball jars or clean glass food jars like this leftover honey jar.
We even used the hydrangea leaves to create these easy DIY clay bowls.
I hope that you found this article helpful. Again, I am not an expert…just a hydrangea enthusiast sharing what works for me. Are you crazy for hydrangeas too!
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