Growing Hydrangeas in Pots

Transform your patio or balcony into a stunning oasis with potted hydrangeas! Our step-by-step guide will show you how to grow and care for these gorgeous blooms in containers. Get ready to impress your guests with your green thumb skills!

If you’re looking to add some color and beauty to your outdoor space, growing hydrangeas in pots can be a great option. Not only are they stunning to look at, but they are also relatively easy to care for and can thrive in containers. Whether you have a small balcony or a large patio, hydrangeas can add a touch of elegance to any space.

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Choosing the Right Hydrangeas for Pots


When it comes to growing hydrangeas in pots, selecting the right variety is essential for success. Not all hydrangeas are suitable for container gardening, so it’s important to choose a variety that is well-suited for pot culture.


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No garden? No problem! You can still enjoy the beauty of hydrangeas with our easy guide to growing them in pots. From choosing the right container to providing the perfect growing conditions, we've got you covered. Follow our tips and create your own mini hydrangea garden today!


The most popular hydrangeas for containers are the mophead varieties, also known as Hydrangea macrophylla. These are the classic hydrangeas with large, round flower heads that come in shades of pink, blue, and white. However, other types of hydrangeas can also thrive in pots.


Panicle hydrangeas, also known as Hydrangea paniculata, are another great option for container gardening. These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that start out white and turn pink or red as they mature. They are also more tolerant of sun and heat than other types of hydrangeas.


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Smooth hydrangea, or Hydrangea arborescens, is another variety that can do well in pots. These hydrangeas have round flower heads that come in shades of white and pink. They are also more tolerant of shade than other types of hydrangeas.


Bigleaf hydrangeas, or Hydrangea macrophylla, can be grown in pots, but it’s important to choose a dwarf variety, such as Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mini Penny’. These hydrangeas have smaller flower heads and are more compact, making them better suited for container gardening.


Lacecap hydrangeas, or Hydrangea serrata, are another option for container gardening. These hydrangeas have flat flower heads with a ring of larger flowers around the outside and smaller flowers in the center. They come in shades of pink, blue, and white.


Finally, oakleaf hydrangeas, or Hydrangea quercifolia, can also be grown in pots. These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that start out white and turn pink or red as they mature. They are also more tolerant of sun and heat than other types of hydrangeas.


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Selecting the Ideal Pot


Growing hydrangeas in containers is a great way to enjoy these beautiful flowers, even if you don’t have a garden. However, choosing the right pot is essential for the success of your hydrangeas. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the ideal pot for your hydrangeas.


Size Matters


Hydrangeas have a large root system, so it’s important to choose a pot that is at least 18 to 24 inches deep and wide. A large pot will give your hydrangeas plenty of room to grow and thrive. Small pots can cause the soil to dry out too quickly, which can lead to root damage and wilting.


Drainage is Key


Hydrangeas in pots need good drainage to thrive. Make sure your container has at least one drainage hole, and more than one is even better. Inadequate drainage can cause the roots to rot and kill your hydrangea. If your container doesn’t have holes for drainage, drill some into the bottom.


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Material Matters


When it comes to choosing the material for your pot, terracotta pots are a popular choice. They are porous, which allows the soil to breathe and prevents water from accumulating around the roots. However, they can be heavy and breakable. Plastic containers are lightweight and durable, but they don’t allow the soil to breathe as well as terracotta pots.


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Style and Design


The style and design of your container can add to the overall look of your garden. Choose a container that complements your outdoor space. You can even mix and match containers to create a unique look. Just make sure they are all the same size and have good drainage.


Preparing the Potting Mix


When growing hydrangeas in pots, preparing the right potting mix is crucial to their success. Here are some tips on how to create the perfect potting mix for your hydrangeas:


1. Choose the Right Potting Mix


Choose a lightweight, high-quality potting mix that is specifically designed for container gardening. Avoid using soilless seed starting mix as it may not have the necessary nutrients and structure to support your hydrangeas. Instead, opt for a mix that contains peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. These ingredients will help to improve drainage, aeration, and water retention.


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2. Adjust Soil Acidity


The soil acidity of some hydrangeas can be changed, but it’s a tricky thing to do with potted plants. You need to know the actual pH of the soil in order to amend it. If you’re unsure about the acidity of your potting mix, use an inexpensive soil pH test kit to check. Hydrangeas prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. If your potting mix is too alkaline, you can add sulfur or aluminum sulfate to lower the pH. If it’s too acidic, you can add lime to raise the pH.


3. Combine Potting Mix with Compost


To give your hydrangeas an extra boost of nutrients, combine four parts potting mix with one part compost. Compost is rich in organic matter and beneficial microorganisms that will help to improve soil structure and fertility. Mix the potting mix and compost thoroughly before filling your container.


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4. Use Ericaceous Compost


If you’re growing blue or pink hydrangeas, you may want to consider using ericaceous compost. This type of compost is specifically designed for acid-loving plants like hydrangeas and contains extra iron and other micronutrients that will help to enhance flower color. However, if you’re growing white hydrangeas, you can use regular potting mix.


Planting Hydrangeas in Pots


Preparing the Pot

Before planting your hydrangea, it’s important to prepare the pot. Start by adding a layer of gravel or broken pottery to the bottom of the pot. This will improve drainage and prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. Then, fill the pot with a lightweight, high-quality potting mix. Avoid using soilless seed starting mix as it won’t provide the necessary nutrients for the plant.


Planting the Hydrangea


When planting your hydrangea, make sure the rootball is level with the soil surface. Fill the pot with soil up to the base of the plant, making sure to gently firm the soil around the roots. Water the plant thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil.


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Caring for Your Hydrangea


To keep your hydrangea healthy, make sure it gets enough sunlight. Most hydrangeas prefer partial shade, but some varieties can tolerate full sun. Water the plant regularly, making sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Prune the plant in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged wood.


Care and Maintenance


Growing hydrangeas in pots requires regular care and maintenance to ensure healthy growth and beautiful blooms. Here are some tips to keep your potted hydrangeas thriving:


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Hydrangeas in pots need regular watering to prevent the soil from drying out. Check the soil moisture level frequently and water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Provide enough water to soak the soil thoroughly, but make sure the pot has adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging.


Light Requirements


Hydrangeas prefer dappled shade or morning sun and afternoon shade. They can also tolerate partial sun or partial shade. Be sure to place your potted hydrangea in a protected and shady position, especially during hot summer months.


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Fertilize your hydrangeas in pots with slow-release fertilizer in the spring and summer months to provide the necessary nutrients for new growth and beautiful blooms. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth and fewer blooms.




Prune your potted hydrangeas in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged wood and promote new growth. Avoid pruning too much, as this can reduce the number of blooms. Prune only the tips of the stems, as this will encourage the plant to grow more blooms.


Winter Protection


Protect your potted hydrangeas during the winter months by moving them to a sheltered spot or covering them with burlap or other protective material. This will help prevent damage from frost and cold temperatures. Make sure to water the plant thoroughly before winterizing it.


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Dealing with Common Issues


Growing hydrangeas in pots can be a delightful experience, but there are some common issues that you may face. Here are some tips to help you deal with them:

1. Transplanting

If you notice that your hydrangea is outgrowing its pot, it may be time to transplant it into a larger container. Make sure you choose a pot that is at least two inches wider than the current pot. Use a well-draining potting mix, and water the plant thoroughly after transplanting.


2. Flowering Shrubs

Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs, and they need proper care to produce beautiful blooms. Make sure you prune the plants regularly to encourage new growth and remove dead or damaged branches. Deadheading spent blooms can also help promote new growth and keep the plant looking tidy.


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3. Compact Varieties

If you have limited space, consider growing compact varieties of hydrangeas in pots. These plants are smaller in size and can be grown in smaller containers. They also require less pruning and maintenance than larger varieties.


4. Buds

If your hydrangea is not producing buds, it may be due to improper care or pruning. Make sure you are providing the plant with enough water, sunlight, and nutrients. Avoid pruning the plant during the fall or winter, as this can remove the buds that will produce blooms in the spring.


5. Blue Hydrangeas

If you want your hydrangeas to produce blue blooms, you need to make sure the soil is acidic. You can do this by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil or using a soil mix specifically designed for blue hydrangeas. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to avoid over-acidifying the soil.


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6. Drying Winds

If your hydrangea is exposed to drying winds, it may cause the leaves to wilt and the blooms to dry out. To prevent this, make sure you place the plant in a sheltered location, away from strong winds. You can also use a windbreak to protect the plant.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can you leave hydrangeas in pots over winter?

Yes, you can leave hydrangeas in pots over winter, but it’s important to protect them from freezing temperatures. Move your pots to a sheltered location and cover them with burlap or frost cloth to insulate them from the cold.


How long can hydrangeas live in pots?

Hydrangeas can live in pots for several years as long as they are properly cared for. Regular watering, fertilizing, and repotting as needed will help your hydrangea thrive.


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Can potted hydrangeas stay outside?

Yes, potted hydrangeas can stay outside as long as they are protected from extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Move your pots to a sheltered location during high winds, heavy rain, or intense heat to avoid damage.


What is the best hydrangea variety for pots?

Compact hydrangea varieties, such as ‘Little Lime,’ ‘Bobo,’ and ‘Cityline Paris,’ are ideal for growing in pots. These varieties have a smaller mature size, making them perfect for container gardens.


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