Macrophylla Hydrangea I Hyndrangea Planting, Growth, and Care

Macrophylla Hydrangea, sometimes known as French or Hortensia hydrangea, is an excellent shrub selection for shade areas in your garden. The large, round flower heads can change color from pink to blue based on the pH of your soil.

Macrophylla Hydrangea In Your Garden

Variety: Hydrangea Hortensia/French Hydrangea Macrophylla
Zones: 5 to 9
Soil Type: Organically rich soil
Soil pH: 5.0 to 8.0
Sunlight: sun to shade, depending on zone
Availability: Sold as nursery grown starter plants. When buying plants, look for plants in bloom if possible. A blooming plant allows for no confusion about its type or quality. If this isn't possible, make sure plants have vigorous growth and aren't damaged or diseased.
When to plant: Nursery grown macrophylla hydrangea can be planted most any time of the year after the danger of frost has passed. Your plants will get the best start if planted in early summer or early fall. If your macrophylla hydrangea plants are placed in mid summer, they must be monitored carefully and not allowed to dry out.
Planting Method: Position your macrophylla hydrangea in a well drained area where it has plenty of room to grow. While these plants prefer some shade during the day, they have more tolerance for sun in cooler climate zones.
To plant, dig a hole three times wider than the container your macrophylla hydrangea came in, but no smaller than 3' in diameter. The planting hole should be as deep as you plant's container. Remove your plant from its container and place it in the hole. Replace the dirt so that the soil reaches the same level as that of the plant.
Watering: Macrophylla hydrangeas require a consistent moisture level of 1" per week. Supplement rainwater to maintain this level and be particularly diligent during periods of drought.

Fertilizing: Feed your macrophylla hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the late spring and mid summer. Avoid feeding after August, as your hydrangeas will be entering their dormant period as fall progresses.
Changing the pH level of your plant's soil in the early spring, before blooms form, will modify hydrangea bloom color. For blue flowers, mix one tablespoon of aluminum sulfate in a gallon of water and apply to the soil twice in the early spring. For pink flowers, sprinkle palletized lime over the soil and water in during the early spring.
Diseases
Root Rot: Plant will yellow and wither from this condition. Root rot is caused by over watering or poor drainage. Make sure plants are placed in well-drained soil and understand the watering needs of specific plants.
Pests
Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck moisture from plants. Ladybugs are a great way to control aphids. Consider insecticidal soaps as an alternative to pesticides.
Spider Mites: Tiny cousins of spider and scorpions, spider mites may appear red to brown or yellow to green. Spider mites damage leaf cells as they suck moisture from them. Plants infested by spider mites may have brown or tan speckled leaves. Ladybugs are a natural predator of spider mites. Sharp blasts of water from a hose can dislodge spider mites and insecticidal soaps can be effective as well.
Propagation: Macrophylla hydrangeas are propagated from cuttings. For best results, begin cutting in the early summer. To create new plants from your hydrangea, take a cutting with three leaf nodes from a stem that didn't produce blooms this year. Remove the leaves from the lower two leaf nodes. Dip cutting in rooting hormone and pot in a mixture of vermiculite and sand. Water well and cover with clear plastic, making sure the plastic doesn't come in contact with the cutting's leaves. Water when top of soil becomes dry. Cuttings should begin to root in two to three weeks.

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