Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her YouTube channel.
The Best Way to Plant Hydrangeas Outside
This hydrangea above is called the Limelight hydrangea, and it's about 15 years old. There's another Limelight hydrangea right next to it, as you can see below—that one's a little pinker, and it's probably about five or six years old. I used the same planting technique to get both of these guys in the ground, and I use this same planting technique for most of my other hydrangeas.
For the example in this article, I'm putting in another Limelight hydrangea, but I've used the same technique for Endless Summer, Annabelle, and Incrediball hydrangeas.
How to Plant Hydrangeas in 6 Easy Steps
- Check Your Plant's Variety for Sun Requirements
- Prepare the Ground by Digging the Proper Hole
- Water and Massage the Roots
- Plant in the Hole
- Add Mulch (Carefully, for Moisture and Aeration)
- Deep Soak Your Plant's Root System
Continue scrolling for a more detailed, step-by-step guide to the process.
Step 1: Check Your Plant's Variety for Sun Requirements
Take a look at the tag that comes with your hydrangea plant. That's always most important because different varieties may have different sun requirements.
Step 2: Prepare the Ground by Digging the Proper Hole
Basically, I follow the same instructions that are on the tag. It says to dig a hole that's wider than the pot and just as deep.
Why Does the Hole Need to Be Wider Than the Pot?
We need a hole that's wider than the pot because what you want is for those roots to be able to spread out and not have to break through all that really, really heavy dirt.
How Deep Should the Hole Be?
You don't want to plant your hydrangea too deep! You want to make sure that when it's in the ground it sits either level with the soil or slightly higher. This is the same rule of thumb for most of your perennials.
Note: Once again, consult those tags that come with your plants so that you know exactly how to plant them.
Step 3: Water and Massage the Roots
I gave this hydrangea a nice shot of water before I came outside because it was pretty dry—I wound up giving it a little bit of a soaking. I know those roots and that root ball are already kind of watered in now, so I'm going to loosen up some of these roots.
Why Do the Roots Need to Be Loosened Up?
Sometimes plants get a little root-bound when they're in pots in the store, or when they're sitting on the shelf too long. I like to give the plant a bit of a massage, breaking up some of those roots that got tangled—it might have been sitting there for too long, and we've had some super, super hot days here. A root massage is going to help the water to break through to the plant a little easier.
Step 4: Plant in the Hole
Now, it's time! I'm basically just going to plant it in the hole. But I'm going to make sure that—once again—it's not sitting too low, so I'm just going to backfill it. We're also going to pat it down to make sure we don't have any air pockets.
Step 5: Add Mulch (Carefully, for Moisture and Aeration)
I'm going to add a little bit of mulch around the base, because I want to keep that moisture trapped in once I water my plant.
However, I want to make sure that I don't put mulch right on top of the base of the plant because hydrangeas—and most plants—like to have a lot of aeration around their base. You want to make sure that you don't have that mulch piled up really high, so you're going to add it just around the perimeter.
Step 6: Deep Soak Your Plant's Root System
Then, I'm going to water the plant in. It's a good idea to give this a deep root soaking. You can even use a hose to make sure that you get down to those roots. It's important to keep your hydrangeas moist, especially in the beginning while they're trying to establish their root systems.
Do Hydrangeas Like Their Feet Wet?
No, you don't want to have them sitting in water and getting soggy feet—hydrangeas don't like to have soggy feet! Just make sure that there's moisture, and a deep root watering is always best. This will encourage your root system to grow stronger.
Enjoy Caring for Your Beautiful Flowers!
I hope you enjoyed learning how to plant your hydrangeas. Thank you so much for joining me.
More Gardening Tips for Hydrangea Lovers
- Why Aren't My Hydrangeas Blooming? (7 Reasons and Solutions)
From overwatering to "winter zap," here are seven different reasons you might be struggling to get your hydrangeas to bloom and what you can do to change that!
- Why Isn't My Limelight Hydrangea Blooming?
Learn why your limelight hydrangea may not be blooming and what you can do about it.
- How to Keep Your Hydrangeas Upright (and Fix the Ones That Flop!)
Don't flip if your hydrangeas have flopped. There are a few super easy ways to fix this problem (and prevent it in the first place).