Summer Hydrangea Care

Hydrangeas are a hardy flower favourite that add colour, texture and vibrancy to the garden and provide a stunning show over summer.  Follow our tips to get the most from your hydrangeas this summer.

Hydrangeas like a well-worked, fertile soil with plenty of compost. They prefer a shady area of the garden but will cope with sun too. Hydrangeas are also great options for pots and containers. Plant smaller varieties or use a medium to large sized pot so that the roots have plenty of room. Hydrangeas are vigorous, quick to establish and will reward you with an array of flowers with wonderful shades of lime, rose, mauve or blue.

Watering
Intensely hot days can cause hydrangeas to wilt and go brown so they will benefit from regular watering throughout the summer. Water your hydrangeas in the morning to help prevent them wilting during the day. To help conserve soil moisture mulch around your hydrangeas with Tui Mulch & Feed.

Changing the colour of your blooms 
The colour of your hydrangeas can depend on your soil fertility and can easily change if the soil fertility changes. Flower colour can be altered by adding either Tui Lime, which will enhance red or pink flowers, or Tui Hydrangea Blue which will deepen blue tones. Changes should appear within a few weeks.

Feeding
Although hydrangeas don't need feeding in summer, regular applications of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic will give them a healthy boost and help them cope with the long, hot days.

Pruning

You can prune your hydrangeas in autumn or early spring/late winter. Around August/September the fat flower buds will start developing so it is easy to know where to prune to get maximum flowering. Vegetative buds (leaves) will be long and skinny. Our advice would be to deadhead in autumn and then in August/September prune back to a fat bud after the threat of frosts have passed, to maximise flowering. 

How to dry hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are perfect for picking and drying as they hold their colour well when dried. They're widely used for bouquets and are stunning on their own in a vase. Hydrangeas are best picked in late summer to autumn, once they have hardened off. Hang your picked hydrangeas upside down in a dark room (this will help their colour last longer). Make sure there is air circulating around them and the stems are straight. After 2-4 weeks you'll have beautiful dried hydrangeas to enjoy.

follow our 3 steps to growing hydrangeas

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Summer Hydrangea Care Comments

  • My hydrangeas were eye catching but the hot dry conditions and water restrictions has caused them to brown - I dead headed today hoping to get a second blooming.

    Sheryl Day

  • I live in Nelson & have always been told (by experienced gardeners), not to prune hydrangeas until Aug/Sept but you say autumn so that's March/ May. Now I'm confused. What month are you suggesting please?

    Marianne Palmer

    • Hi Marianne, in August/September the fat flower buds will start developing so it is easy to know where to prune to get maximum flowering. Vegetative buds (leaves) will be long and skinny. Our advice would be to deadhead in autumn and then in August/September prune back to a fat bud after the threat of frosts have passed, to maximise flowering. Some people prune in autumn and still get lots of flowers.

      Tui Team

  • Could you please tell me what to feed white hydrangeas to keep getting white flowers? Thanks.

    Francie

    • Hi Francie, it doesn’t matter what white hydrangeas are fed, they won’t change colour. Only the aged flowers will get flecks of pink. Avoid lime around them as this could change the colour but white hydrangeas are bred to stay stable in colour.

      Tui Team

    • Hi Francie, I had a white Hydrangea around which I tipped coffee grounds diluted with water and it turned a beautiful purple/red colour. Shirley.

      Shirley

  • Yes please

    Jeni

  • My hydrangeas leaves are very rusty and the flowers are small compared to what I had last year. Is there any particular reason for that please?

    Margaret

    • Hi Margaret, it sounds like the leaves may have rust. Are there small orange spots on the underside of the leaf? Warm humid weather often brings rust on and it is spread by wind or water. Prune out infected shoots, remove infected leaves and ask your local garden centre for a suitable spray. It has been a pretty hot and dry season for hydrangeas, were the plants pruned in winter? Sometimes if left unpruned the flowers can be small. When pruning in winter when the plant has lost its leaves try and prune back to a fat bud (flowering) rather than slender buds which are foliage buds. 

      Tui Team

  • Would hydrangeas grow alright on the south side of a 2m high wooden fence? They would get late afternoon sun.

    Rosemary

    • Hi Rosemary, that is the perfect place to grow hydrangeas, they tolerate late afternoon sun. 

      The Tui Team

  • This year I want to plant hydrangeas in a rock garden? Will they survive there?

    James

    • Hi James, although hydrangeas will grow in full sun they do so much better in shade or part shade. They like a soil that is moisture retentive and rich in organic matter. In a rockery garden soils are usually very light, gravelly and well drained, in full sun and suggested plantings would be Raphiolepsis 'Indian Hawthorne', Callistemon 'Bottle Brush', Ceanothus 'Californian lilac', and Rosemary are a couple of suggestions for hot dry areas of the garden.

      The Tui Team

    • 'Indian Hawthorne' is a menace. The birds eat the berries and spread them "ready fertilised" all over the place. They are only good if you prune them after flowering and before the berries ripen.

      Chris Ball

    • Hi Chris, I think you may be confusing Raphiolepsis 'Indian Hawthorn' which is not considered invasive, with the Hawthorn berry which is considered invasive.

      The Tui Team

  • Just wanted to give you a shout out and say thank you!!! My garden has gone from average to the most glorious fairy garden thanks to you peeps in the Tui team!! We're the envy of our street and neighbours! :) It's full of hydrangeas, hibiscus, gladiolus, dahlias, begonias, Rothschildiana Gloriosa, succulents and more! Thank you for all your incredibly helpful tips and tricks- they really do work a treat!! Best regards and take care :)

    Nicole

    • Hi Nicole, thank you for the feedback, it is great to hear you are getting so much joy from your garden. Thank you.

      The Tui Team

  • I have had a number of potted hydrangeas for several years and wonder if they would benefit from a complete change of soil in autumn or winter, rather than just feeding them in spring?

    Joy

    • Hi Joy, your plants would benefit from being repotted if they have been in the same pot for several years. Winter is the best time to do this. When they are dormant, take the plant out of the pot and knock off the existing potting mix from the root ball and repot back into the same pot using a quality potting mix such as Tui Pot Power. The reason Pot Power would be the best option is that it has a wetting agent and water crystals for extra water retention, hydrangeas will flower for longer if the soil is kept moist. If you don't want to repot now, you could also get a few more seasons out of the existing potting mix by adding organic matter such as Tui Mulch and Feed around the top of the pot along with a controlled release fertiliser such as Tui Enrich Pots and Containers and some Debco Saturaid to help with water retention.

      The Tui Team

  • I live in Cambridge and my Bridal Bouquet (white) hydrangeas start off white, but seem to change to light blue. How can I keep them white?

    Cathryn

    • Hi Cathryn, in the first couple of years while plants are establishing, the colours are often not so intense, but they develop. White hydrangeas are stable in colour, they do not change, but as the flowers age, they can change colour with tinges of blue or red. Flowers will last longer if the plants are in dappled shade, not direct sunlight and the soil is cool and moist and plants get frequent watering. 

      The Tui Team

  • Hi Cathryn, in the first couple of years while plants are establishing, the colours are often not so intense, but they develop. White hydrangeas are stable in colour, they do not change, but as the flowers age, they can change colour with tinges of blue or red. Flowers will last longer if the plants are in dappled shade, not direct sunlight and the soil is cool and moist and plants get frequent watering. 

    The Tui Team