Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hydrangea Success

My love affair with hydrangeas began nearly ten years ago when Mr. home.made. and I were living in North Carolina, where the gorgeous mopheads of blooms could be found around nearly every corner.  I couldn’t get enough of the big, bountiful blooms.

Years later, once we settled down and bought a house, I put in my first attempt at mirroring those Carolina landscapes when I planted my first hydrangea plant.  My front yard flowerbed received good evening sun and I thought that would be perfect for my new baby.  The tag said it needed 4-6 hours of sun so it had to be the best place!  Boy, was I wrong.  All the evening Texas sun did was scorch the poor thing until I was forced to pull it up and toss it…

I’ve tried again multiple times with this seemingly delicate plant and failed.

What was I doing wrong?  Too much sun?  Not enough sun?  Too much water?  Not enough water?  I researched hydrangea growing tips, to no avail.  Every time I tried to coax the plant to grow and bloom, all it did was wither and die.

I bought two more plants last spring, already in full bloom, figuring that at least they’d be good for some color on my porch until I found yet another way to kill them.  Really.  I’m not kidding. 

The plants actually survived the dreadful Texas summer and drought last year, although a little weather-whipped.  They didn’t look fantastic, but they were alive.  That was a first for me!  When fall rolled around, I moved them from the porch to my flowerbed to make room for my fall mums – they’ve been there ever since.

And you know what?  I sort of left them alone, save for the occasional watering and weeding… and an amazing thing happened.

My hydrangeas grew!

By happy accident, they had just what they needed to thrive, and I, the accidental gardener, discovered that a small dose of morning sun, followed by a lot of shade, and watering just when needed was the perfect recipe for a beautiful hydrangea.

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Isn’t it amazing how, sometimes, all you need to do to get the desired end result is to stop trying so hard to make it happen?


  1. I am so jealous. I've loved hydrangeas forever. I've given up even buying them because I concluded it should be against the law for me to murder them. Congratulations! They are beautiful.

  2. Your hydrangeas are beautiful! I have learned a lot from my mistakes over the years with these flowers. The mopheads definitely only need morning sun especially in the deep south. Do you know about the hydrangeas for the sun? Limelight hydrangeas love the sun and are a beautiful chartreuce color. They seriously are so easy to grow. They are very popular now. You can find them at Lowe's and Home Depot.


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