Hydrangea is a deciduous woody-stemmed, star-shaped, flowering plant. Several Hydrangea species are native to Asia and the Americas.
It is a genus of over 200 species belonging to the Hydrangeaceae family and the order Cornales.
Available in so many species, hydrangeas range from shrubs of about 2′ feet, small trees and climbing trees reaching up to 15′ feet tall.
All types of Hydrangeas are generally easy to cultivate. The flowers come in a wide variety of beautiful colors, including white, lavender, blue, and pink.
The plant is correctly pronounced [hy-DRAIN-juh] or the variant [hy-DRAN-jee-uh]. But, Hydrangea is more commonly referred to as ‘Hortensia’ and pronounced as [hot-TEN-see-a].
The Hydrangea plant is one of America’s favorite flowering shrubs. One reason is this perennial shrub blooms for a few months on end, giving the landscape a great pop of color.
Potted Hydrangea Care
Now that we’ve covered the basics of hydrangeas, let’s get into how to care for Hydrangea in a pot:
Size and Growth
The blooming season of the Hydrangea is in the spring and summer, making fall the best planting time. They tend to grow themselves and can survive the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7.
The top container-grown Hydrangeas include Endless Summer, Mini Penny, Little Lime, and Buttons’ n Bows, and grow between 3′ to 4′ feet tall.
They grow quickly and can fill out space within one summer once the flowers begin to show.
New varieties of Hydrangea are introduced every year. Look for compact varieties or dwarf Hydrangea types to grow in containers.
Flowering and Fragrance
Hydrangeas generally have a sweet floral scent that’s not overpowering.
Blooms grow on both old and new growth.
Different species have different flowering styles, but the best pot hydrangea varieties are:
- Endless summer hydrangea, which blossoms into red-pink stems.
- The Little Lime variety starts with green flowers and turns pink by autumn.
- Mini Penny grows into blue or pink ‘mophead’ blooms in spring or summer.
- Buttons’ n Bows have white edges, starting pale green and slowly turn pink.
Light & Temperature
The ideal temperature for hydrangeas is between 60° – 62° degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 17° C) during the day and cooler temperatures of 55° degrees Fahrenheit (13° C) at night.
High temperature isn’t ideal for leaf growth, or they’d grow too quickly.
The morning sun is the best for hydrangeas. Hydrangeas in pots don’t blossom in heavy shade – put them under shadows occasionally.
The further north your garden is located, the more sunlight your hydrangea pot will need.
Hydrangea does best with six hours of daylight per day. If your Hydrangea is in the south garden, about three hours of sunlight is ideal.
High winds can damage leaves and destroy the flowers.
Watering and Feeding
Hydrangea leaves and flowers may appear delicate, but they’re strong enough to withstand adverse conditions and don’t require a lot of tender care. Nonetheless, follow these necessary watering and fertilizing tips:
- Hydrangeas benefit from a consistent level of moisture. Smooth hydrangeas and Bigleafs need more water than others.
- During the growing season, water with an inch per week. Water 3 times a week to encourage root growth.
- Soaker hoses best distribute moisture to the flowers, leaves, and roots.
- Watering in the morning helps prevent hydrangeas from wilting during hot days. Besides, the potting soil needs to remain moist, especially during drier seasons.
- Add mulch to the base of the hydrangeas to improve soil texture and add nutrients.
Fertilizer application depends on the specific type of Hydrangea. Learn more about Hydrangea fertilizers.
Different species need fertilizers at different periods and intervals. To get the best fertilizer application, determine your plant fertility needs with a soil test.
- Smooth hydrangea plants need fertilization once, preferably in late winter.
- Panicle and oakleaf hydrangeas need two fertilizer applications, in April and June.
- Bigleaf hydrangeas need more fertilizer applications in March, May, and June.
Soil & Transplanting
A soil with lots of organic material is the most ideal for hydrangea care in pots.
Despite the need for moisture, waterlogged soil will damage the hydrangeas. Drain excess water to avoid root rot.
Manage heavy soil with the proper use of compost before planting.
Hydrangeas propagate easily. With time, the branch will form its own root system and be transplanted to a pot.
To transplant Hydrangea into pots, do the following;
- Use a large pot with at least an 18″ inch diameter. Choose non-porous containers to maintain the consistent moisture level of the Hydrangea.
- Fill the container with soil while leaving about 8″ inches at the top for your Hydrangea.
- Allow the plant crown to sit on a level soil surface in the pot. If it’s too high, it’ll dry out fast, and if it’s too low, it may rot.
Grooming and Maintenance
The best maintenance practice to encourage new growth is to remove blooms once the flowers finish. Pruning generally promotes new growth.
How To Propagate Hydrangea In Pots
Propagating Hydrangea in pots is straightforward, as long as the proper planting and caring tips are followed.
- Make a similar pot trench near the hydrangea plant.
- Bend a branch down to the trench, so it’s in contact with the soil in the middle.
- Peel the bark where the stem touches the soil.
- Fill in the trench and place something like a brick on it to hold it down.
- Once roots develop, cut the stem from the parent plant and pot into a new pot.
Hydrangea Pests or Diseases
Destructive insects are not prevalent with hydrangeas.
Choose cultivars with resistant traits to protect your Hydrangea from diseases like leaf spots, mildew, wilt, and blight.