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Hydrangea season has arrived

The centerpiece of many of our summertime gardens is the hydrangea. These wonderful shrubs with their elegant flowers and their old-fashioned charm are often the main event of the garden. The hydrangea is low maintenance, comfortable in almost any kind of soil and produces large and colorful blooms.

The many types of hydrangeas make them suitable for many different garden sites. There are types for group plantings, shrub borders and even containers in colors that range from white to pink to blue.

Plant your hydrangea in the spring after the last frost or in the fall before the first frost. They need fertile, well drained soil, plenty of moisture and they prefer partial shade with morning sun.

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and two or three times as wide.

Set the plant in the hole and fill it half full of soil and then water. After the water is absorbed fill the rest of the hole with soil and water thoroughly.

For the first two of three years after planting and during a drought be sure the hydrangeas get plenty of water. Always water new plants deeply three times a week. An organic mulch beneath your plant will keep the soil moist and over time, add nutrients.

Fertilize your hydrangeas in March, May and June. Too much fertilizer can encourage leafy growth rather than the big blooms you want. Follow the directions on a good all-purpose fertilizer for your hydrangeas.

I love my hydrangeas even the one that never blooms. Every spring I fertilize, and I mulch. Three varieties bloom with abandon, only one breaks my heart. Hope springs eternal.

Rebecca Norton Ryan is a Penn State Extension Master Gardener and member of Warren Garden Club.

Rebecca Ryan Pic.JPG

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