Hydrangea care is largely low maintenance, making growing hydrangeas a good choice for new or experienced gardeners. The color of hydrangea flowers is influenced by the acidity of the soil, with blue flowers thriving on acid soils and pink blooms making a great show for alkaline or limy soils.
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Sow hydrangea seeds in the spring in pots filled with sieved garden compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Water the compost lightly before sowing the seeds. Keep moist and repot once roots begin to fill the pot.
Place on a windowsill and harden plants off as the risk of frost reduces. Make sure plants are well-watered once they are transplanted so that their roots can be properly established. Avoid using manures at transplanting time… if it comes into contact with roots it may discolor the leaves in the first year’s growth.
It’s also possible to take soft root and hardwood cuttings to grow new plants.
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Regular hydrangea flower pruning care will give your shrub a good shape that doesn’t need any additional supports. There are two main groups of hydrangea, each of which requires a different pruning technique…
One group flowers from mid-summer on the current year’s growth. Pruning hydrangeas of this type should be done heavily throughout spring. If stems have not withstood a cold winter it’s possible to prune away as plants will grow and flower in a season.
As for pruning hydrangea in the second group - mophead and lacecap hydrangeas that flower on the previous year’s growth - lightly prune in spring. Cut out the old flowering heads and any weak-looking stems.
Hydrangeas are a good choice for cut flowers and can make impressive displays. Cut them early in the morning, choosing those that have the full flower coming into bloom. Use sharp secateurs to make diagonal cuts to help water flow.
Stand them in buckets of water for a couple of hours to make sure they are fully hydrated before putting into your displays.
Growing Hydrangeas: Pests and Diseases
Hydrangeas don’t usually have problems with pests or diseases. If powdery mildew does affect some stems, cut them out and destroy them.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Hydrangea (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
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