Happy Earth Day! In honor of one of my favorite planets (okay maybe the only one I know) I thought it would be fun to get a little dirty on the blog and share some tips on how to grow hydrangeas in pots! After I posted about our patio garden over on Instagram, a lot of you wanted to know more about container gardening which is great, and even though I am recently new to this “green thumb” thing, I do have some advice in this realm, especially when it comes to planting plants for the first time.
How to Grow Hydrangeas in Pots
One: Start with good soil
After the failed basil undertaking of 2017, I’ve switched my soil to Miracle Grow Moisture Control Soil. You can find this at most of your major home improvement stores but some specialty stores may not carry it. I really urge you to use a moisture control potting soil to prevent overly damp or dry roots. This is a beginning gardener’s “Ace up your sleeve” for successful first-year growth.
Two: Have the right light
Yes, on the tag your hydrangeas might request 4-6 hours of sun but be mindful that they like soft morning sun and they need about 4 hours of it. Our hydrangeas are placed perfectly so that they receive sun from 9-1pm and are shaded the rest of the day. Because hydrangeas take a lot of water to keep their leaves and petals fresh and vibrant, the harsh afternoon sun in the summer will cause wilting. If you have mostly indirect sun all day long, that works as well.
Key takeaway: No full sun, indirect sun OK, morning sun preferred.
Three: Water, Water, Water
Hydrangeas are thirsty plants. They like a lot of water and if you’ve ever cut a hydrangea stem up the stalk, you’ll notice it’s made up of a hundred little “straws” soaking up water to keep the plant hydrated. If you have a plant in the ideal sun, expect to water it with 2-3 gallons every other day in late Spring and every day in Summer. To test if your hydrangea needs water, stick your index finger about 1 inch below the surface of the soil if the soil is mostly dry, it’s time for water.
Four: Find a pot base that is about 3x the size of the root ball it came with
Hydrangeas have roots that will eventually break away from the main root system to create new hydrangea plants, called rhizome roots. Because of their rhizome root system, you don’t want a pot that is big enough to encourage new hydrangea growth through their root system.
When planting your hydrangea in its pot, loosen the root ball by gently gripping it and jerking your hand back and forth. Then place into your pot that has been filled with enough soil to allow the sides and one inch of the roots to be completely covered.
Five: Don’t be afraid to move your plant around to find the right sun
As you move through the seasons, you will need to make sure that your plant is getting adequate sun. Put your planter on wheels so that you can easily drag it across the patio without hurting your back.
I’ve had my hydrangeas in a pot for about a month now. The true test will be how they make it through summer. I expect I will have to move them as the sun starts to linger more directly overhead but I look forward to getting some blooms from them all summer long.