Fertilizing Hydrangeas: Hydrangea Care & Feeding

Hydrangeas are a fixture in many gardens because of their long bloom time, shrub-like look, lush foliage, and supersized flower heads.

For this reason, hydrangea nutrition is a common question.

Hydrangea Fertilizer for Proper Hydrangea Care and Feeding

Once you know a few easy guidelines, hydrangeas will thrive with minimal effort on your part.

Fertilizers made specifically for hydrangeas are on the market, but they aren’t required for healthy growth.

Hydrangeas only require a general-purpose fertiliser with a mix of 12-4-8 or 10-10-10.

You can get the job done with either a chemical or an organic source.

The easiest way to care for and feed hydrangeas is to use a slow-release pesticide designed for shrubs and trees once a year.

You can get the same results with a cheaper fast-acting substance.

Sulfur, compost, and peat moss are a winning mix that works well as a natural hydrangea fertiliser.

When and How to Feed Hydrangeas

It’s just as vital to know how to fertilise hydrangeas as it is to use the right kind of fertiliser.

If too much fertiliser is used, the soil may become burned.

Over-fertilization manifests visually in scorched leaves. Fast-release fertiliser applied in March, May, and July will help your hydrangeas bloom all summer long.

Spread it around the drip line of the branches, not at the base.

It’s a water source of good quality. Remember to lightly cover slow-release fertiliser with soil to start the fertilisation process.

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The leaves can be kept at a vibrant green with a modest dosage of liquid iron twice a year.

If you want to alter the colour of your hydrangeas through fertilisation, a tiny amount of sulfur or lime should be added to the mix.

Sulfur treatment of hydrangeas will either preserve their current colour or cause them to change to blue.

It takes some time for the pink to appear after using lime, and the same goes for the reverse.

White hydrangeas, as a word of caution, won’t turn any other colour.

Gardeners who give their hydrangeas the attention and nutrients they need will be rewarded with lush, beautiful plants.

Types of Fertilizer for Hydrangeas

Most hydrangea fertilisers are not chemical-free. Nonetheless, there are a few that use all-natural components.

Both improve the plant’s overall health and stimulate the growth of massive, showy flowers.

  • The nutrients in inorganic fertiliser are chemically and synthetically created in a lab, and the fertiliser is used to achieve very particular growing conditions. The acidity level can be raised to satisfy hydrangeas’ taste, and the flowers can be made larger or more numerous. Time-released chemicals in inorganic fertilisers may break down slowly and, depending on the brand, provide the hydrangea plant with a steady supply of nutrients for several weeks or months.
  • Fertilizers can be organic, but it’s up to the grower to make that decision. Unlike inorganic fertilisers, organic ones won’t pollute the soil with chemicals, but they might not be as effective. If you want to improve soil health and add extra nutrients, you should think about utilizing organic fertiliser. Castings from earthworms, manure from chickens, compost, and other organic materials could be included. Hydrangeas thrive when planted in an organic mixture that includes sulfur, compost, and peat moss.
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Which Inorganic Fertilizer to Choose

Check the labels for the percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) before purchasing fertiliser (K).

The best fertiliser for hydrangeas is a balanced one, such as 10-10-10 N-P-K or 12-4-8 N-P-K.

Applying a fertiliser higher in phosphorus to your hydrangea plants can result in larger, more numerous flowers.

A fertiliser with a phosphorus content of 10-20-10 is suitable.

If you’re looking into slow-release granular fertiliser, one with the label “bloom boost” may have a higher phosphorus content. 1

How to Fertilize

Choosing the right kind of fertiliser for your hydrangea shrubs is essential, but so is learning how to fertilise them.

A once-yearly application of a slow-release pesticide to trees and shrubs is recommended.

Depending on the type, a balanced time-release fertiliser can be administered a few times a year, in spring and early fall.

Careful application of fertiliser is required, since using too much could cause leaf burn.

Too much nitrogen could induce more leaf growth, longer stems, and less blossom growth.

In March, May, and July, lightly apply a fast-release fertiliser, sprinkling it along the drip line of the branches—not the base.

It’s a water source of good quality. Lightly covering slow-release fertiliser with soil is recommended for best results.

Sometimes fertiliser might not be necessary for the summer, since most hydrangeas bloom best when they are a little hungry for nutrition.

If the leaves on your plants start to turn yellow and seem unhealthy, try applying a light dosage of liquid iron twice a year or another fast-acting fertilizer.1

When to Fertilize

Midway through the growing season the spring is ideal for fertilising hydrangeas, and you should continue doing so at the intervals suggested by the fertilizer’s manufacturer.

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Apply the same slow-release fertiliser used in the spring once the early blooms are beginning to fade.

It is recommended to apply time-release fertilisers every three months.

Most other kinds require reapplication every few weeks.

Feed the hydrangeas again with an all-purpose fertiliser in late winter, before they emerge from their slumber. 2

How to Change the Color of Bigleaf Hydrangeas

Endless Bigleaf hydrangeas have blue or pink flowers in the summer. The soil pH affects the color of the plant.

Subtle additions of sulfur or lime to the fertilizer will provide the desired blossom color.

To keep or induce blue blooms in hydrangeas, apply sulfur, a soil acidifier, to reduce the pH.

If the fertilizer is deficient in phosphate, the flowers will be a deeper shade of purple or blue, but the plant may be unable to absorb as much aluminum.

Bigleaf hydrangeas can change from blue to pink by having their soil pH raised with lime.

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