Spring Hydrangea Care: 5 Tips for Happy Hydrangeas


If you’re looking for a summer filled with lush blooming hydrangeas, a bit of early spring maintenance can go a long way to achieving your goal. 

Our 5 top springtime tips for springtime hydrangea care will provide information on pruning, feeding, transplanting, mulching and even changing the flower color of certain species. 

Springtime Hydrangea Care

  1. Fertilizer – Fertilizing hydrangea bushes is easy. Simply apply the season’s first dose once new growth begins to emerge in spring. A general, all-purpose fertilizer or a product specific to acid-loving plants would be beneficial to your hydrangeas. Following the instructions on the packaging, broadcast the fertilizer evenly along the drip edge of the plant, then water in completely. 
  2. Bloom Color – Want to know how to change the color of a hydrangea? The flower color on mophead (H. macrophylla) and lacecap (H. serrata) types can be altered with the addition of either aluminum sulfate or lime to the soil. A soil acidifier, such as aluminum sulfate, will darken blue hydrangeas and possibly turn pink hydrangeas to more of a purple hue. Lime will lighten blue hydrangeas to a pinkish hue. Apply the correct amendment depending on the desired flower color early in the spring, right after new growth has emerged. A second application can be applied 1-2 months later. 
  3. Pruning – To produce fuller and healthier shrubs, both panicle (H. paniculata) and smooth (H. arborescens) types of hydrangeas should be pruned in early spring. Prune panicle types up to one-half of their total growth Be sure to prune right above a pair of buds. Prune smooth types to just one foot above ground. Other types of hydrangeas including oakleaf and mophead do not require pruning during the spring months.
  4. Mulch – Apply a 2” layer of mulch in spring just as the leaf buds begin to open. Mulching will help reduce weeds, retain moisture, and give a fresh, clean look to your beds. Pine bark, compost, shredded mulches, and pine needles are all good choices depending on availability in your region. 
  5. Transplanting – Early spring is a great time to transplant hydrangea shrubs that may be receiving a bit too much sun or have outgrown their location. If the shrub is too big and cumbersome to move, you may prune it back a bit to make the plant more manageable. Amend the soil in the new planting area as needed and be sure to water thoroughly after planting, repeating frequently while the roots establish in their new environment. 
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