Keep The Blooms: Extending The Life Of Potted Hydrangeas

In the area where I live, potted Hydrangeas show up full force in the stores around Easter time and are very popular because of their beautiful colors and abundance of flowers.

They’re lovely indoors but if they don’t receive adequate care, they’ll die off in just a few short weeks. Did you know you can move it outside and extend its growing season?

I have some tips below on how to care for them along with step-by-step instructions for putting together your own pots.

First up is an old article from a homemaking magazine (The WorkBasket) that dates from 1954.

  • Soil: Mixture of two parts loam to one each of sand, leaf mold, dried cow manure; add a teaspoon of bone meal to each pot.
  • Water: Potted hydrangeas demand a lot of water; soak twice a day in growing season. To produce blue flowers, water occasionally with a solution of aluminum sulphate, 3 ounces to a gallon.
  • Pests: Red spider may cause leaf tips to brown. Wash foliage with a strong spray of water.
  • Heat: During growing season a temperature around 65° is best–not below 60°. While plant is dormant, place in a cold but frost free place.
  • Light: Indoors a sunny window suits it. Outdoors in summer it prefers open shade or partial sun.
  • Propagation: Take cuttings in February, root in moist sand or vermiculite.

Tips: After blooming, cut back flower stalks to two joints, re-pot, place outdoors when frosts have passed, feed with liquid fertilizer occasionally when roots have filled pot.

Overwintering Indoors: Store plant nearly dry in a cold cellar for the winter; bring into warmer place in January and begin watering.

[Source: WorkBasket]

Tips For Helping It Thrive Outdoors

If you have a gift hydrangea and want to see if you can prolong its life, move it outside as soon as the weather allows. Bring it in at night until its hardened off and the weather is warmer with no chance of frost. This plant will have a better chance of thriving in the outdoor sun rather than placed indoors by a window…the sooner it can be happy in the backyard, the better.

Once it’s well acclimated outdoors but still a couple weeks from hot weather, transplant into a larger container/pot (make sure it has drainage holes), the one it came in will be too small for it to be happy and content for long. The stress of the move will pass by the time summer heat arrives.

As summer nears and the days get warmer, move to a location that has a good amount of morning sun but some relief from the hot afternoon sun. You could also plant it directly in the ground, just make sure it’s a location that has well-draining soil and good air circulation. If this is your plan, do this no later than the first couple weeks of summer to give it the best chance to establish itself for winter survival.

How to tell if you’re not watering it enough: The plant will start to droop and wilt. Signs of overwatering: yellowing leaves that fall off, also wilts.

If overwatered and the plant seems to be in its last throes, try repotting in a fresh batch of soil. This may help it bounce back.

Leaves have mildew: Spray with a fungicide as soon as you notice a problem (will likely be a powdery mildew that shows up underneath the leaves or in green or purple splotches on top of leaves). One DIY recipe is 1 uncoated aspirin tablet dissolved in 2 cups of water.

Tip for more blossoms: Remove faded blooms as soon as they appear, this will encourage the plant to produce more.

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What Readers Are Saying: 5 Comments
  1. Ernie Salisbury says:

    I have just found your site ,very good.I would like to know if you can a dd fertilizer to potting soil

  2. Julie Orser says:

    We have great success with the Endless Summer variety, here in Houston, with the intense heat. Home Depot has an organic hydrangea/blueberry fertilizer that has turned our hydranges from unhappy to VERY happy. Plants!! Cheers, Julie

  3. mickeyblack says:

    My son bought me a beautiful potted Hydranga plant.
    can it be transplanted outside? My cat will not leave it alone!

  4. Karen says:

    I cut several long stems of blue hydrangea to dry.
    They had little buds on the stem but I left them.
    I wanted to enjoy the flowers and then enjoy
    them as dried flowers too. Each of these stems took
    root. The buds are budding. I am delighted. I’ll be planting them outside when the weather
    Is a little warmer.


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