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Your hydrangea masterclass: how to grow and nurture these magnificent blooms

Everything you need to know to grow hydrangeas in your garden this year

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By Edwain Steenkamp | September 13, 2023 | Gardens

Where to start

Firstly, your hydrangea will want rich, well-drained soil. So you’ll need water, compost and space in order for them to flourish (not only this year, but for seasons to come). If you’re looking to plant more than one, be sure to space them at least 60cm apart, so that they have enough room to grow into their magnificent selves. Remember, they can grow to well over two metres, and over one metre wide (don’t worry about the width too much, as hydrangeas look beautiful once they start growing into one another).


Now that we have the basics covered, it’s time to choose the perfect spot for planting. Hydrangeas enjoy morning sun, and softer, dappled light later in the day. Avoid harsh sun, and complete shade. Hydrangeas can be fickle beauties!

To transplant a hydrangea: place the plant in a hole that is wider than it is deep. For a small plant, around 45 cm deep, and 60cm wide. This should give you an idea of the type of dimensions that are required. Once you’ve planted and tucked the plant in, drench the soil in water, and add mulch. Water generously around three times a week, early in the morning. Keep the water to the base of the plant, and avoid splashing the leaves as this can encourage mildew.


Pruning is absolutely necessary! Skipping this crucial step will result in the hydrangea blooming many flowers – but they will be inconsistent, rather small, and the stems will eventually become very woody, and as a result become unruly. On the other hand, when young stems hold too many flowers, they can bend, and eventually droop down to the ground. Learn how to prune hydrangeas in the video below.

Plant food

If you feel your hydrangea needs a little more love, most all-purpose fertilizers should do the trick. To ensure especially beautiful blooms opt for options that are higher in phosphorous.

The drawbacks of hydrangeas

As we’ve mentioned before, hydrangeas can be fickle beauties. While they are quite resistant to pests and infections, they are extremely sensitive to their environments. Drastic changes in light, water and soil acidity can, for instance, bring about sudden changes in the plant, and cause it to suffer.

Gardeners often struggle with wilting or scorched leaves, discoloured flowers, and stark and bare woody stems. Most of these problems can be fixed through adjusted watering, plant food and pruning.