How to grow hydrangeas in Perth

Growing hydrangeas in Perth

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are a fantastic addition to any West Australian garden. These deciduous perennial plants are versatile and can be grown in garden beds or pots, or used as a loose hedge in a semi-shaded area of the garden. The unique ability of the Hydrangea is that the colour of the flower can change from Blue, White to Pink depending on the pH of the soil. This means you can adjust the colour of your plant by adjusting the pH level of the soil.

If you have ever wondered how to grow hydrangeas in Perth then look no further. Hydrangeas are a relatively easy flower to grow, and there are a few tricks to successfully growing hydrangeas in Perth, Western Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant hydrangeas in Perth:
February is one of the best times to plant hydrangeas as you’ll be able to make the most of their colours while they are still in bloom.

Where do hydrangeas grow best?
This is because hydrangeas love the warm morning sun, but they dislike the roasting WA afternoon heat. The best place to plant hydrangeas is in a sheltered location with sunny mornings and shady afternoons.

How much water do hydrangeas need?
Hydrangeas require regular watering, especially when they are planted in pots. They may also need extra watering during summer. Keeping the soil moist will help retain those big blooms. I recommend watering around three times a week in the summer months.

Types of hydrangeas in Perth, WA:
There are around 100 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, small trees and climbers in this genus, which is the type genus for the family Hydrangeaceae. Below is a list of some of the more popular varieties;

  • Hydrangea Blueberries and Cream – A great centre piece plant that looks lovely in a pot or in the garden, it can grow to 1.2m tall and 1.2m wide. It has lovely deep blue flowers throughout spring with attractive large green leaves. They grow best in a relatively protected position, in well draining soils and would benefit from an application of mulch around their roots in summer.
  • Hydrangea Red Purple Romance – A lovely hydrangea with deep purple or red flowers that has large green leaves and grows to 60cm tall. It can handle some full sun but does better in a partially shaded position either in the garden or in a large pot. Acidic soils will result in the deep purple colour whilst alkaline soils will result in a red coloured flower.
  • Hydrangea Endless Summer – Hydrangea Endless Summer isa unique hydrangea with the ability to flower on both old and new growth meaning it will be covered in abundant blooms throughout the summer months. It grows to 1.2m tall and 1.2m wide. To encourage more flowers remove some blooms to display in a vase and remove spent flowers.
  • Hydrangea Magical Ruby Red – Hydrangea Magical Ruby Red is exactly as the name suggests. It is the most red Hydrangea to date and dazzles you with the glistening-red gemstone-like colour. To contrast nicely, the foliage is an almost black-green when the leaves emerge and are the perfect backdrop for the durable, repeat-flowering blooms. As the flowers age they turn a deep red-wine colour.
  • Hydrangea Magical Pearl – Hydrangea Magical Pearl is perfect for the classic designer garden or in your informal cottage garden. The rich green foliage contrasts beautifully with the pure white flowers which are long-lived and age to a chartreuse green and these can be dried and kept indefinitely.
  • Hydrangea Perfection – Hydrangea Perfection is a beautiful double-flowered hydrangea. The clusters of unusual double star-shaped blooms in pink-rose to blue colours borne against the dark green foliage are a real standout in the garden. The colour of the flowers is dependent on soil type – blue flowers in acidic soils, pink in alkaline soils. Hydrangea Perfection is also reputed to be remonstrant, meaning it can flower twice in the same season.
  • Hydrangea Hortensia – Hydrangea hortensia is the most common form grown in pots. It is a low growing shrub, usually with height and spread of no more than 30-60 cm. Each plant has a short, woody stem and from four to eight branches, which carry opposite pairs of shiny, pointed oval leaves. Flowers of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hortensia’ have greenish buds that open white, pink, red, purple or blue.

How to grow hydrangeas at home:
Growing hydrangeas at home in the garden is pretty straightforward.

  1. Choose a spot in the garden that attracts morning sun with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with a Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver and Plant Fertiliser.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and back fill with soil, gently firming down.
  4. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant’s root zone. This helps keep water where it’s needed. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  6. Feed every week through Spring and Summer with a Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

Growing hydrangeas in a pot:
You don’t need a large space to have your very own hydrangeas. Growing hydrangeas in pots is easy, fun and rewarding! In general growing hydrangeas in pots is a great idea. Below are the steps on how to how to grow hydrangeas in a pot;

  1. Choose a pot at least 50 cm wide. Position in full sun and fill with quality potting mix.
  2. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and back fill with soil, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Feed every week through Spring and Summer with a Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

How to grow hydrangeas from cuttings:
Hydrangeas are easy to grow from cuttings taken during the spring or summer months.

  1. Take tip cuttings about 15 cm long, making the cut just below a pair of leaves.
  2. Remove this bottom pair of leaves, then cut the remaining leaves in half, to reduce water loss.
  3. Plant the cuttings into pots filled with a high quality propagating mix and place in a shady but bright spot. Keeping the soil just damp but not waterlogged.

When do hydrangeas bloom in Perth:
Typically hydrangea florets emerge in spring and summer.

Best fertiliser for hydrangeas:
A good all purpose 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 composition will provide all the nutrients hydrangeas need. I recommend something like Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

When to prune hydrangeas in Perth, Western Australia:
This is the part of growing hydrangeas that often frightens beginners but if you follow these tips on when to prune your hydrangeas and you’ll be fine:

Hydrangeas can be pruned in March or April. Don’t cut back into old grey wood. Cut back the green, current season’s growth to two plump eyes or leaf buds. Leave stems that have not flowered as these will flower the following season. Picking the flowers for indoor arrangements is good for the plants, so don’t be afraid to pick some for your house . Some of the modern varieties are naturally compact and need less pruning.

Companion plants for hydrangeas:
Looking for what to plant with hydrangeas in Australia. Choose companion plants that have similar needs to make your garden easier to maintain and to create an attractive display of contrasting colours and textures. I like things like boxwood shrubs, hosta and dogwood trees.

Where to buy hydrangeas in Perth:
Hydrangeas are sold in flower at nurseries at the start of summer (December and January). You can even find Bunnings hydrangeas at this time.

Hydrangeas care and common problems:
There are only a few pests to monitor. White-coated hydrangea scale may appear and can be picked off, but if the infestation is serious, treat with a product such as Eco-oil.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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