I have spent the past 2 days fertilizing my hydrangeas. Which ones, you ask. Well, read on about Fertilizing Hydrangeas In Early Summer.
My experience is that all hydrangeas grow better when they are fertilized, even the native ones. It’s one of the lessons I learned from our Covid lockdown. I actually had the time to do this and, WOW! did it pay off.
WHY FEED YOUR PLANTS IN EARLY SUMMER
If you missed feeding your plants early in the season when you did your spring clean up, you can make up for that now. BTW, “now” in the northern hemisphere means before August 1. That’s because fertilizing will stimulate your plant and you don’t want to do that too late in the season.
The plants that respond best to fertilizer this time of year are the rebloomers: big leaf (macrophylla), mountain (serrata) and woodland/smooth (arborescens) varieties. You want to help them produce those reblooming flowers to carry your garden through to the end of the season.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE A REBLOOMER
If you don’t know if your mountain or big leaf hydrangea is a rebloomer, look to see where the flowers are positioned. If they are coming from along the sides of the stems, you have rebloomer. It’s that simple.
FEEDING YOUR PLANTS
There are differing opinions on fertilizing your hydrangeas. I am firmly in the camp of helping hydrangeas thrive and have learned it is especially beneficial if your soil needs improvement. A soil test will help you figure that out. The results of fertilizing are more than encouraging and I am convinced this is a worthwhile practice.
THE REASONS TO FERTILIZE HYDRANGEAS IN EARLY SUMMER
Remember that on rebloomers, the more you cut the tips, the more flowers you will get along the stem for later season color. So your rebloomers will appreciate the extra nutrients to continue to put out new flowers. Deadheading and/or cutting flowers for bouquets also stimulate the plant to grow new stems for future flowers. So don’t be reluctant to do that and add beauty to your indoor spaces (office, kitchen, etc.).
Even if your plant is not a rebloomer, the mid-season fertilizer will help it set buds for next year later this season. It’s not rocket science.
FEEDING OTHER KINDS OF HYDRANGEAS
Feeding your other hydrangeas, although helpful, isn’t necessary. The old wood bloomers are all pretty self sufficient, unless you have an issue that needs to be remedied. Or you missed feeding them earlier this season.
THE BEST FERTILIZER FOR HYDRANGEAS
Rose food is ideal as is any granulated shrub fertilizer, either organic or a time release product. I don’t recommend products like 10-10-10. No plant uses nutrients in equal amounts so when you use 10-10-10, what you are doing is contributing to run-off and local pollution issues.
WATCH OUT FOR TICKS
Fertilizing hydrangeas forces you to get down at the ground level, sometimes crawling beneath your plant. That action may disturb ticks that then light on you. Whenever I do this early summer fertilizing, I always pick up several ticks. So do be aware and do a tick check regularly, especially after fertilizing.
PINCH PRUNING COMES NEXT
I’ll be back in a few days to discuss mid-season pinch-pruning, maybe topping your plant, and using those cuttings to propagate new plants. The fun is just beginning!
Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival
We are just a few days away from the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival. It’s a fabulous event on the Cape that highlights their signature plant. Go HERE for more info. I’ll be speaking on “Hydrangea Game Changers” at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. This garden is the site of the North American Hydrangea Test Garden where you can see a superb collection of all manner of hydrangeas in a garden setting.
Later that same day, I’ll be at Highfield Hall and Gardens on the Cape, this time in Falmouth. Although the topic is again hydrangeas, this time it will be “Success With Hydrangeas.” There are details about this on their site HERE.
For both Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival talks, I will have signed copies of my internationally best selling book available for purchase.
Hope to see you there – tell/bring your friends.
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