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How to grow Blue Hydrangeas

How to grow Blue Hydrangeas

This article covers, from start to finish, how to grow blue hydrangeas. From ideal soil conditions to aesthetic uses, this article seeks to answer all the questions you may have related to blue hydrangea care.

Background

Before you learn how to grow blue hydrangeas, first here is a little background.

Hydrangeas are a family of plants. Within that family, there are around 25 species and hundreds of cultivars. There are some species native to certain areas in North America.

The blue hydrangea is also called a bigleaf hydrangea. It has a round, upright growing habit and can serve many purposes in the garden.

Native Habitat

The blue hydrangea is native to China, Japan, and the Americas. Initially, it grew naturally in woodlands and mountainsides.

For years gardeners have been figuring out how to grow blue hydrangeas and how to maximize their blooming potential. Because it has been a favorite among gardeners for centuries it has been bred for maximum blooms. The hydrangea we see most often now in gardens and hedges is quite different from its more wild predecessor.

Soil Requirements

Out of all flowering shrubs, the hydrangea is one of the most fussed-over plants. To develop those coveted blue blooms, hydrangeas need the ideal soil conditions. They prefer acidic, well-draining soil.

The most important step in learning how to grow blue hydrangeas is figuring out what kind of soil you are working with. It is always recommended to test your soil before you begin planting.

Inexpensive tests are available at most garden centers. For more detailed and accurate test results, most major universities do soil tests. You can call your local extension office to request a test. This also is an affordable option that costs around $10.

What gives hydrangeas a blue hue is the presence of aluminum in the soil. For blue blooms, the soil needs a pH (parts hydrogen) between 5.0 to 5.5. This is much more acidic that the typical soil requirements for other plants.

To amend the soil to make it more acidic, you can add elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate. Once the soil has been amended, then hydrangeas can be planted. Treating the soil beforehand saves gardeners time and effort in the future.

Growing Zones and Ideal Conditions

Before you figure out how to grow blue hydrangeas, you need to know where you can plant blue hydrangeas.

The blue hydrangea is a hardy perennial shrub in zones six to nine. It will grow to heights of three to six feet at maturity and will have a spread of the same. The blue hydrangea blooms from mid-to-late summer. 

The hydrangea can be grown in cooler zones if its buds are protected from late winter/early spring frosts. Hydrangeas do especially well in coastal towns. They thrive in the sandy, acidic soils that coastal towns have.

Where to Blue Hydrangeas in the Garden

Hydrangeas are one of the most dramatic shrubs available. Most varieties have large, eye-catching blooms and are a great addition to most outdoor spaces.

The blue hydrangea looks best in borders, seaside gardens, and cottage gardens. Because it is such a show-stopper, it should be placed somewhere where it can be enjoyed. 

This shrub looks great in front of houses and other buildings. It also does well on woodland edges. 

Containers

If you have clay soil and don't have the ability to amend your soil, you can plant hydrangeas in containers. As long as you have a container large enough, and protect the plant from winter conditions, a hydrangea can thrive in container.

How to Grow Blue Hydrangeas

Its easy to learn how to grow blue hydrangeas because hydrangeas can be planted like most other shrubs. They are easy to plant and should be planted shortly after purchasing to ensure the most successful transplant.

    1. Find the ideal location with some shade throughout the day
    2. Check the soil and amend if needed, hydrangeas will not grow in clay
    3. Buy a hydrangea shrub (or a few!) 
    4. Dig a hole, make sure it isn't too deep or shallow-- it's better to plant hydrangeas more shallow so that the stem is not buried
    5. Back fill the hole with soil to cover the roots
    6. Gently firm the soil with your hands so that you don't damage the roots
    7. Water thoroughly, this helps the roots to establish and it fills in any air pockets in the soil

Care Guide

Part of learning how to grow blue hydrangeas is figuring out what their care needs are. Hydrangeas are easy to take care of, but they do require a little bit of maintenance. For optimum results, hydrangeas need to be pruned and fertilized each year. 

    • Hydrangeas can be pruned immediately after blooming back to the next set of buds
    • Remove any dead flower heads or leave them up for the birds in winter
    • Protect plants with burlap if you are growing them below zone six
    • Fertilize with 10-10-10 fertilizer in early spring and again in late fall
    • Cut flowers to use in arrangements or to dry if you like

Where to Buy Blue Hydrangeas

Now that you know how to grow blue hydrangeas, here is where you can buy them. We offer this hydrangea and three other more rare hydrangeas at Tennessee Nursery. We are an online retailer and provide a wide array of plants including the Blue Hydrangea. 

This Nikko blue hydrangea makes an excellent addition to any garden. Its massive blooms can range in color from pink to blue, depending on your soil pH. The otherworldly flowers are almost to good to be true. With some gentle pruning and yearly fertilizer, this shrub will blossom for years to come.

Zone: 3 to 9 (can grow in cooler zones if protected from frost in spring)
Sun: Part shade
Mature Height: from 4 to 6 feet
Water: Average

Best for cottage gardens or as a hedge


Check out the Blue Hydrangea product page here

Other Hydrangeas for Sale

These may not have the same blue blooms as the blue hydrangea, but they make up for it with their vibrant, white flowers. Here are three additional hydrangeas that have the most wonderfully dramatic blooms!

Pee Gee Hydrangea

The Pee Gee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a tall grower with stunning fragrant flowers. Its flower buds resemble small pearls that eventually bloom into delicate, creamy flowers. Because of its fragrance, bees and other pollinators are drawn to it.

Zone: 3 to 9 (can grow in cooler zones if protected from frost in spring)
Sun: Full sun or part shade
Mature Height: from 8 to 15 feet
Water: Average to moist
Best for use as a hedge, property screen, and for flowering

Check out the Pee Gee Hydrangea product page here

Snow Hill Hydrangea

The snow hill hydrangea is one of those plants that can take a garden to the next level. Its massive pom-pom blooms stand out in front of its dark green foliage. It's an excellent choice for cottage gardens, moonlight gardens, and as an ornamental hedge.
Zone: 3 to 9 (can grow in cooler zones if protected from frost in spring)
Sun: Part shade
Mature Height: up to 4 feet
Water: Average to moist

Best for use as a hedge, property screen, and in cottage gardens


Check out the Snow Hill Hydrangea product page here

Hydrangea Arborescence

This Hydrangea arborescence comes in a large quality for mass plantings. If you order this option, you will receive 100 live stakes to mass plant or share with friends and family. This beautiful shrub boasts lovely, delicate clusters of flowers and blooms in summer. It also attracts pollinators with its enchanting fragrance.

Zone: 3 to 9 (can grow in cooler zones if protected from frost in spring)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Mature Height: up to 4 feet
Water: Average to moist

Best for cottage gardens, borders, as a hedge or to prevent erosion

Check out the Hydrangea: Arborescence product page here

 

If you have any additional questions about how to grow blue hydrangeas, feel free to reach out to us at Tennessee Nursery and ask! We love sharing our knowledge with anyone who is interested.

Blue Hydrangea - TN Nursery

Blue Hydrangea

Blue Hydrangea has vibrant dinnerplate blooms, lush foliage, and versatility make it famous for gardens, parks, and residential landscapes. Scientifically known as macrophylla, it is a captivating flowering shrub celebrated for its enchanting beauty and the tranquil ambiance of gardens and landscapes. Revered for its vibrant azure blossoms, it is a botanical masterpiece that has charmed horticulturists and nature enthusiasts for generations. Blue Hydrangea, with a profusion of attractively hued blooms, make beautiful additions to any garden. The flowers appear in clusters or cones that can be up to eight inches wide. The foliage is generally deep green in color with a matte or waxy surface, but leaf shapes vary greatly between varieties. Some plants produce oblong or heart-shaped leaves of between four and eight inches in length, while others are adorned with serrated, deeply veined, or lobed leaves of similar size. Blue Hydrangea Has Stunning Colors One unique fact about them is that the most eye-catching parts of the plant aren't made up of petals, as is the case with most other flowering plants. Instead, showy, colorful blooms are comprised of petal-like structures called sepals. Sepals are sturdier than regular flower petals and furnish protection to the tiny flowers that are hidden behind or below them. Their bloom clusters vary from faint sky-blue to deep purple, with most shades in between. The color of the flowers that it produces is based on the plant's variety as well as on the content of certain minerals in the surrounding soil. Huge Snowball Blooms At TN Nursery Shrub-like blue hydrangeas go dormant in the cooler months. The plants start putting on new foliage as soon as warmer weather returns and new flowers begin forming in the mid to late spring. They will burst into full bloom in the early summer, with the flowers generally reaching their prime during the months of June, July, August, and September. Some varieties only bloom once per growing season, while others rebloom continuously throughout the summer.   Creating Height and Depth With This Perennials Blue hydrangeas can grow to heights of six feet or more with a six-foot branch span. These standard varieties are suitable for creating a border, a flowering green wall, or a divider between areas of a lawn. If space is a consideration, smaller varieties that are great for raising pots or planters are also available. These varieties will reach heights of just two to three feet with a similar branch-spread diameter. Some of the plants also act like vines and are capable of scaling trees and fences to heights of 50 feet or more.

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Blue Hydrangea - TN Nursery

Blue Hydrangea

Blue Hydrangea has vibrant dinnerplate blooms, lush foliage, and versatility make it famous for gardens, parks, and residential landscapes. Scientifically known as macrophylla, it is a captivating flowering shrub celebrated for its enchanting beauty and the tranquil ambiance of gardens and landscapes. Revered for its vibrant azure blossoms, it is a botanical masterpiece that has charmed horticulturists and nature enthusiasts for generations. Blue Hydrangea, with a profusion of attractively hued blooms, make beautiful additions to any garden. The flowers appear in clusters or cones that can be up to eight inches wide. The foliage is generally deep green in color with a matte or waxy surface, but leaf shapes vary greatly between varieties. Some plants produce oblong or heart-shaped leaves of between four and eight inches in length, while others are adorned with serrated, deeply veined, or lobed leaves of similar size. Blue Hydrangea Has Stunning Colors One unique fact about them is that the most eye-catching parts of the plant aren't made up of petals, as is the case with most other flowering plants. Instead, showy, colorful blooms are comprised of petal-like structures called sepals. Sepals are sturdier than regular flower petals and furnish protection to the tiny flowers that are hidden behind or below them. Their bloom clusters vary from faint sky-blue to deep purple, with most shades in between. The color of the flowers that it produces is based on the plant's variety as well as on the content of certain minerals in the surrounding soil. Huge Snowball Blooms At TN Nursery Shrub-like blue hydrangeas go dormant in the cooler months. The plants start putting on new foliage as soon as warmer weather returns and new flowers begin forming in the mid to late spring. They will burst into full bloom in the early summer, with the flowers generally reaching their prime during the months of June, July, August, and September. Some varieties only bloom once per growing season, while others rebloom continuously throughout the summer.   Creating Height and Depth With This Perennials Blue hydrangeas can grow to heights of six feet or more with a six-foot branch span. These standard varieties are suitable for creating a border, a flowering green wall, or a divider between areas of a lawn. If space is a consideration, smaller varieties that are great for raising pots or planters are also available. These varieties will reach heights of just two to three feet with a similar branch-spread diameter. Some of the plants also act like vines and are capable of scaling trees and fences to heights of 50 feet or more.

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snowball bush - TN Nursry

Japanese Hydrangea

Large Japanese Hydrangea is a shrub featuring large, conical clusters of white, showy flowers that gradually turn pink or red as they mature, creating a stunning display in gardens and landscapes. Incorporating them into landscaping offers various benefits that contribute to the beauty and versatility of outdoor spaces. These elegant shrubs bring striking flowers, adaptability, low-maintenance care, potential for various uses, and a timeless charm to garden settings. Understanding  The Japanese Hydrangea As summer arrives, these Snowball Hydrangea live up to their name. The blooms grow in rounded clusters and can reach an impressive size of 10 inches. Each spherical cluster includes many tiny individual flowers, and each flower has four delicate petals. Although they are initially pale green, they turn a beautiful white during the summer months. On a sunny day, the blooms look especially radiant as they reflect the sun's rays. To complement the attractive white flowers, the shrub leaves have a rich green hue. When it is in full bloom, its flower clusters may become thick enough that they mimic the appearance of snow. People often plant several shrubs to enjoy being enveloped in their beauty. The Exquisite Beauty of This Shrub They are also called Annabelle; these shrubs are perfect for anyone who wants to add timeless elegance to their property. On a breezy day, the enormous flower clusters look ethereal as they sway and bob gently. The rustling sound of the leaves in the wind adds to the peaceful look the shrubs boast. Each silky flower petal contributes to the overall smooth look of these shrubs. The Versatility for Many Purposes  When these shrubs adorn landscapes, they add unique beauty. Homeowners use them to create luxurious tranquility. Event venues use them to design magical-looking spaces for outdoor weddings or other special occasions. The stunning off-white petals complement nearly every hue and shade. With their bright and clean appearance, they can improve the look of any landscape. Today, these shrubs are also popular for moon gardens because of their captivating beauty and pleasant aroma. Shop TN Nursery Today  As the blooms appear, they emit a subtle scent that is comparable to that of sweet alyssum or jasmine. On a warm summer day, the scent is especially pleasant. Also, the blooms blend well with the sweet and woody scents of other flowers, shrubs, and trees. Overall, this type of shrub is a versatile choice that appeals to all the senses and adds a distinct touch of sophistication.

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Snow Hill Hydrangea - TN Nursery

Snow Hill Hydrangea

Snow Hill Hydrangea is a compact deciduous shrub with large rounded clusters of white, snowball-like flowers, making it a popular choice for garden borders and as a foundation plant. They bring various benefits to landscaping projects, contributing to outdoor spaces' visual aesthetics, versatility, and overall charm. This hydrangea cultivar offers unique features that make it a valuable choice for various landscape designs. One of the primary benefits of landscaping is its stunning floral display. The Snow Hill Hydrangea is the perfect choice for people who fantasize about winter wonderlands. With snowball-like blooms, these gorgeous shrubs bring the beauty and magic of them to your garden without the chill of a real snowfall. What Can I Expect From the Foliage of Snow Hill Hydrangea Formally referred to as arborescens, this deciduous shrub is a compact plant, with most specimens topping out around five feet in height. In terms of width, they typically span three feet to five feet. Stems are tan with a velvety texture. The simple leaves are serrated with fine hair. Either rounded or oval, they're broad and measure three inches to six inches across. Most will be no more than six inches in length. This native shrub has two-tone leaves in the spring. Their tops are a deep green, but their undersides are a paler green. Of course, these leaves change with the seasons. In the fall, they turn yellow. How to Do These Shrubs Bloom They produce amazing ball-shaped clusters of flowers that measure between eight inches and 12 inches. These clusters are formed by incredibly dense groupings of smaller flowers. Each individual bloom features four or five petals and measures less than one inch across. They have a lengthy bloom period. It starts in May or June. Flowers will generally remain white until September. Does The Bloom Change Color While many can react to soil changes by changing the color of their flowers, it won't disappoint fans of the winter season. They consistently deliver white or cream flowers at the start of the summer season. It is a deciduous plant, so it does reflect the seasons. If the ball-shaped blooms are allowed to dry in place, they will shift briefly to pink before turning brown. It's a different look, but these dried flowerheads can still add visual interest to a fall garden. TN Nursery Favors This Plant For Its Timeless Beauty  They are striking plants that can fulfill a wide range of purposes with ease. They can serve as a focal point or provide concealment. They grow beautifully along slopes and in borders, and they would be happy in rain gardens, shade gardens, and pollinator gardens.

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Hydrangea Arborescence Live Stakes - TN Nursery

Hydrangea Arborescence Live Stakes

Hydrangea Arborescence Live Stakes offer a range of benefits when incorporated into landscaping designs, making it a popular choice among landscape designers and enthusiasts. Its distinctive characteristics, versatility, and aesthetic appeal contribute to its value in creating beautiful outdoor spaces.   Hydrangea Arborescence Live Stakes Have Large Flowerheads The massive blossoms of a Hydrangea Arborescence Live Stakes are a sight to see. Their circular or dome-shaped flower heads are actually collections of numerous tiny flowers packed closely together. Delicate and papery in texture, the individual blossoms range from pink to green and even creamy white, depending on the cultivar. The flowers can extend up to 12 inches in diameter, creating a striking and verdant overall impression. Enhance Your Garden with a Variety of Textures Of The Live Stakes The texture of them is rougher than that of mophead variants. Their leaves are glossy, narrow, and shaped like hearts. To keep the leaf apart from the main stem, the leaves have lengthy stalks. When planted close together, these stakes create dramatic, textured backdrops. And when shaped into more upright shrubs, their sturdy and woody stems add a structural element to garden areas and other outdoor spaces. Leaving the wasted flowerheads on the bushes all winter gives the garden a one-of-a-kind visual and textural surprise, as the dried flowers add a touch of rustic beauty. Enjoy Long Blooming and Color-Changing Flowers With TN Nursery These plants produce white blossoms starting in the middle of summer. These blooms open up into enormous snowballs, many of which are nearly as big as a basketball. As the temperatures get cooler, the flowers develop a jade green hue, which persists even after the first frost. This jade green tone transitions to shades of yellow, gold, and bronze before the leaves fall off in the winter. Their dried flowerheads can be any shade of tan or brown. Newly planted arborescence plants don't normally bloom during their first year of growth. Complete Walkways and Gardens Them Plants with this compact and rounded growth habit are great for lining borders and defining walkways. Their coarsely textured, dark green foliage gives gardens the illusion of more life and vitality. A lot of people use them to frame entryways to their gardens. To make varied and beautiful border plantings along walkways, you can even mix them with other plants like decorative grasses or perennials.

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