Replanting Hydrangeas: This is how you do it

Moving Hydrangeas to a new location requires good preparation. If you follow these tips, replanting the flowering shrubs will become very easy.

Oct 15, 2020 08:13 pm
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A Hydrangea in full bloom

If Hydrangeas have become too dense over the years, older specimens can also be replanted easily

Once planted in the garden, Hydrangeas should ideally remain in the same place. But sometimes, replanting the flowering shrubs is unavoidable. It is possible that the Hydrangeas do not thrive in their current location in the garden, this could be because the place is too sunny or the soil too compact. But even if the shrubs spread more than expected and start to grow on house walls or into neighboring plants, replanting may be necessary. The replanting must be planned well so that the shrub can withstand the change of location. With their flat, densely branched roots in the topsoil, the Hydrangeas usually grow well at the new location.

How to replant Hydrangeas?

The best time to replant the frost-sensitive Hydrangeas such as Mophead Hydrangea and Tea of Heaven is during spring, when the ground is no longer frozen. Smooth Hydrangeas and panicle Hydrangeas, that only form their buds during spring, are best replanted in fall. It is advisable to move Hydrangeas during a cloudy, overcast weather, as the trees evaporate less water and the plant can cope better with the move.

Where should Hydrangeas ideally be planted?

Most Hydrangea species grow in damp deciduous forests — they love a place in our garden in partial shade or very light shade, similar to their natural habitat. Mophead Hydrangea and Tea of Heaven would also prefer the location to be protected from strong winds. A loose, humus-rich and a uniformly moist soil is very important for all Hydrangeas. The pH value should ideally be between 5 and 6 — that is, a slightly acidic range.

Planting a Hydrangea
Hydrangeas develop best in light shade without direct noon sun. The soil should be permeable and humus-rich

Proper soil preparation at the new location is crucial in order to ensure that the flowering shrubs can be replanted. In loamy, compacted soils, dig a fairly large planting pit and first mix equal parts of the excavated earth leaves and bark humus. Compost is not recommended, since it has a higher concentration of lime and salt. The soil becomes more permeable if you also add coarse-grained sand. If the soil is already quite sandy, a dose of leaf humus or well-deposited cattle manureis sufficient.

Step-by-step replanting of Hydrangeas

First dig a sufficiently large planting pit at the new location. A rule of thumb: The diameter of the pit should be about double the root ball. Loosen the bottom and the walls of the planting pit with the digging fork and mix the excavated soil, mentioned above, with leaves and bark humus. A thin layer of sand at the bottom also improves drainage. Now pour a watering can full of water, preferably rainwater, into the pit and let it percolate.

When replanting the Hydrangeas, you must ensure that the shrubs have very shallow roots and that they develop a large number of fine roots over the years. Therefore, be very careful when digging out the root ball. Water the soil first and then prick out the shrub with a spade generously around the root ball. Try and retain as much soil on the roots as possible when you dig out the plant from the soil. Larger plants can be transported from the old to the new location wrapped in a plastic film.

Watering the Hydrangeas after replanting
Water the Hydrangea well after replanting

Place the removed Hydrangea in the hole - it should not be placed deeper than it was before - and fill the sides with soil. Pack the soil by carefully tramping on it, so that there are no hollow spaces between the root ball and the soil. Water the Hydrangea well with rain water. Add a layer of mulch made of leaves and bark humus around the plant so that the soil does not lose its humidity quickly. In the coming weeks, thoroughly water the plants on a regular basis, this way the Hydrangea will grow well.

Replanting Hydrangeas: Everything you need to know at a glance

  • Mopheads and Tea of Heaven are best replanted in early spring and replant Smooth Hydrangea and Panicle Hydrangea preferably during fall.
  • The new location should be partially shaded, the soil should be airy, humus-rich, low in lime content and slightly acidic.
  • Dig a large planting pit, thoroughly water it and mix the excavated soil with leaves and bark humus.
  • Immediately after excavating, place the Hydrangea in the prepared pit, fill soil in the gaps and water the shrub thoroughly.