Sarah Raven shares how to plant hydrangeas to avoid ‘damage’

Alan Titchmarsh shows off his hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are ornamental plants that can be found in gardens across the UK. The plants are easy to grow and can look beautiful even in the autumn months when the leaves of some varieties turn an attractive reddy-brown colour.

Hydrangeas can be planted in borders and containers and like part-shade. The flowers can be harvested from July through to October which means gardeners can add some colour to their homes as well as their gardens.

For those looking to plant their own hydrangeas for some mid to late-summer colour, gardening expert and author Sarah Raven has shared her advice on how and where to plant them.

Where to plant hydrangeas

While the plants are easy to look after, the gardening pro said there are some areas gardeners should “avoid” planting hydrangeas.

Sarah said: “Grow hydrangeas in moist, fertile soil. They are also happy in clay.

“Plant hydrangeas in a cool, semi-shady part of the garden, avoiding exposed east-facing sites where cold winds can damage young spring growth.

“Hydrangeas can be planted year-round but for best results plant them in autumn or spring when the ground is moist and not frozen.”

How to plant hydrangeas

Sarah said gardeners need to allow space for hydrangeas to reach their full width so they need plenty of space around them.

She suggested planting them 60cm to four metres apart depending on the variety.

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They will also need lots of organic matter mixed into the soil before they are planted.

Climbing hydrangeas need to be planted against the foot of a wall or a fence so they can eventually produce aerial roots to climb and cling to the wall.

However, it’s important the plant is not placed right against the wall but 60cm away from it.

Otherwise, the plant’s roots may not receive as much rainwater.

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Smaller climbing varieties can be grown in pots but they need soil-based compost and regular watering to stop them drying out.

Potted hydrangeas also need to be fed occasionally in the summer months. One of the best fertilisers for hydrangeas is an organic, slow-release fertiliser which is usually used for roses.

How to care for hydrangeas

Hydrangeas need regular pruning to maintain their shape and help them produce new shoots and better flowers.

Once hydrangeas have been planted, they need to be kept well-watered especially during spells without rain.

To help conserve moisture, gardeners can mulch the plants in the autumn months.

The longer hydrangeas have been planted, the more established they will become and the deeper their root systems will be.

Well-established plants will be able to find water themselves but they may need to be watered thoroughly once a week in the summer if it’s particularly dry.

Hydrangea shrubs should be pruned in early spring while climbing ones need to be pruned after they’ve flowered in late summer.

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