Growing hydrangeas in pots is a must if you don't have much space but love their exuberant blooms. These popular, impactful plants are often associated with larger gardens because many people grow them as tall shrubs in borders. And yet, many hydrangeas will do very well in containers for many years, adding color and texture to patios and decks.
Growing potted hydrangeas is similar to learning how to grow hydrangeas in soil –with a few important tweaks. These are the top expert tips for growing hydrangeas in pots successfully.
1. Choose the correct-sized pot
Growing hydrangeas in pots will require regular repotting – easily every year or every other year until the plant reaches maturity. Hydrangeas have very active roots and will become root-bound quite quickly. Ideally, every time you repot, you need to give your hydrangea a new pot a third larger than its current one.
Learn how to repot a plant in our guide.
2. Protect them from frost
Potted hydrangeas are even more sensitive to frost than their garden bed counterparts. Always choose a frost-proof pot and do not prune them until all frosts have passed. Learn how to prune hydrangeas correctly in our guide.
Gardener and presenter Monty Don gives this tips for protecting potted hydrangeas from frost: 'If your hydrangeas are in pots it's a good idea to cover them with horticultural fleece if a late frost is forecast. This will be enough to protect them from the effects of the frost and the even more damaging early morning sunshine that usually follows a cold May night.'
There's advice on how to protect plants from frost in our guide.
3. Keep the soil moist – always
Container plants are more prone to drying out than plants in garden soil. This is potentially bad news for hydrangeas because they hate being dry. Monty says: 'Hydrangeas do best in light or dappled shade and hate becoming too dry, so make sure there's lots of organic matter in the soil before planting and mulch each year with a generous layer of compost or leaf mould. This especially applies to hydrangeas in pots, which need a regular soak.' There's tips on mulching in our expert guide.
If you have neglected your potted hydrangea and it has dried out, you can try to revive it by watering it continuously for at least twenty minutes. It is true that potted hydrangeas are a little fussier than ordinary hydrangeas, but the effort is worth it – they make a stunning patio display.
For more ideas on what plants will grow successfully in pots, head over to our container gardening ideas.
Anna's background is in academic research – she is the author of London Writing of the 1930s, published by Edinburgh University Press. She is a keen urban gardener and has an impressive collection of house plants.
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