How Often Should You Water Hydrangeas?
06 Oct 2022
By Michael Jacobson
Hardy shrubs with beautiful flowers that bloom throughout spring and summer, hydrangeas are a popular choice with horticulturalists everywhere. If given the right conditions they are quick to establish themselves and can grow rapidly, rewarding you with bright, long-lasting blooms that are great for floral arrangements. We love using hydrangeas in our bouquets; they come in a wide variety of colors and never fail to impress.
The key to ensuring the success of your hydrangeas is making sure that they receive the right amount of water. Luckily, these plants do not need precise, rigorous attention in order to thrive. These simple instructions will give you all that you need to know about how often to water hydrangeas. For more on how to care for hydrangeas, take a look at our Guide to Hydrangea Care!
How much water do hydrangeas need?
Hydrangeas are happiest in soil that is moist, well-drained, and rich in nutrients. Because they are plants that are quite sensitive to heat, they will appreciate moist soil to draw on when the summer temperatures get high. This means regular watering - ideally every 2-3 days. Obviously, if you’re experiencing a period of heavy rainfall, this can be taken into consideration and you can adjust your schedule accordingly
What are the signs it’s time to water your hydrangeas?
When hydrangeas are running low on moisture their leaves will noticeably droop. Watering them well can reverse this appearance, even as quickly as a few hours later. Hydrangea leaves may also curl to protect themselves in high temperatures, so it’s worth waiting until the evening when it’s cooler to see if the leaves have unfurled before watering.
How to water your hydrangea bushes
Double-check to make sure they definitely need watering. As well as paying attention to the conditions of the flowers and leaves, you can test the soil with your finger - if it feels dry at around four inches in, your plant could definitely benefit from watering.
It is better to thoroughly soak your hydrangeas every 2-3 days as opposed to a light daily shower, which may not seep far enough down to impact the roots. Water in the morning to give your plant the moisture it needs to hydrate throughout the day, and apply the water directly to the base and soil. Try to avoid getting the leaves and flowers damp, as this can cause mold.
Check the area in which your hydrangeas are planted to ensure there is nothing that could be affecting the drainage of the soil. Clay-based soils are more likely to face drainage issues than sand-based soils.
Can hydrangeas be overwatered?
While they thrive in moist conditions, it is possible to overwater hydrangeas. This is usually caused by insufficient drainage. This can lead to issues such as root rot, and potentially cause your plant to die.
How can you tell if your hydrangeas are overwatered?
Overwatered hydrangea leaves will begin to turn brown - however, this can also be the result of underwatering, so it’s important to check the soil and the texture of the leaves to confirm which is the case. Underwatering causes brittle, dry leaves, whereas overwatering will produce the opposite - oversaturated, pulpy leaves. The roots of an overwatered hydrangea will also turn brown and will feel slimy to the touch.
What to do for an overwatered hydrangea
If overwatered and not already victim to root rot, it is important to give the roots the opportunity to dry out. This may even involve replanting the hydrangea in fresh soil. However, if root rot has already developed, the chances of this saving your plant are slim.
Are hydrangeas drought tolerant?
With their appetite for damp soil and a tendency to wilt in prolonged strong sunlight, hydrangeas are not as drought tolerant as some of their garden companions. You can improve your hydrangea's chances of surviving drought by planting them somewhere with sunlight in the morning but shade in the afternoon and watering them regularly during dry times. As previously mentioned, a wilted hydrangea can spring back to life within the space of a day if given the right amount of water, so if your plant looks droopy in the height of summer there’s no need for immediate alarm.
How to help your hydrangeas recover from drought
If you have hydrangeas and live in an area that’s prone to droughts and periods of intense heat, there are added steps you can take to give them the best chance of survival. Building temporary shade and adding a layer of compost to the soil around your plant will help to retain moisture lost through evaporation.
Should you water hydrangeas differently if they’re potted?
Potted plants are more likely to suffer from overwatering issues due to improper drainage. Make sure that any container they are planted in has appropriate drainage holes, and use a sandier substrate to help water filter through more easily.
Should you treat newly planted hydrangeas differently to established plants?
Newly planted hydrangeas need extra help to properly establish themselves - it’s important to give them the right conditions for their root systems to develop. Water regularly and deeply, even more so than fully settled hydrangeas, especially when the weather is warm. Ideally, hydrangeas should be planted in spring or fall, giving them time to establish themselves before the extreme temperatures of summer and winter hit. You can use fertilizer, but be prudent with which kind you use and how often you use it. Over-fertilized plants may be very leafy and green, but flowers may be fewer and far between.
Where can I find more tips on hydrangea care?
Experienced hydrangea enthusiasts may have strong opinions on their upkeep, developed through years of trial and error. While there is a wealth of information regarding hydrangeas to be found online, it is also worth looking for experts local to you, as they will be familiar with the type of soil in your area and how to manage your garden accordingly.
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Want to bring some beautiful blooming hydrangeas into your home or the home of someone you love? At French Florist, our local team of expert florists has decades of experience creating incredible arrangements. Order hydrangeas now for delivery nationwide, or same-day local delivery.