Hydrangeas, also known as Christmas roses, scream summer and come in amazing hues of blues, pinks and greens. Our handy care guide will ensure your hydrangeas are happy and healthy – all season long…

“The light delicate blush of the petals reminds me of a beating heart, while the size could only match the heart of the sender!” – Florist Tan Jun Yong.

Hydrangeas, also known as Christmas roses because they bloom over the festive season in South Africa, scream summer and come in amazing hues of blues, pinks and greens. Our handy care guide will ensure your hydrangeas are happy and healthy – all season long.

Planting hydrangeas

Hydrangeas should ideally be planted in early spring or autumn. Good drainage is essential and keep size in mind – you need to leave enough space between plants so they’re not over crowded when fully grown. Hydrangeas prefer dappled sunlight and moist soil and should be watered deeply at least once a week. If you plant them in full sun, you risk scorched leaves and flowers and you’ll have to water more frquently, so rather pick a partly shaded spot.

Read more: How to grow veggies when you don’t have a garden

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Changing their colour

It really is possible to change the colour of hydrangea blooms as it mostly depends on the type of soil the shrub lives in. Remember, alkaline soil has a pH above 7, while acidic soil has a pH below 6. Changing the pH of the soil will ultimately change the colours of the flowers. Want bluer blooms? Amp up the acidity in soil by using acid mulch (like pine needles and bark) or apply a foliar spray of aluminium sulphate. Looking for pink? Add wood ash or limestone to the soil (but not too much as it can burn plants’ roots). Easy!

Top tip: Remember to check the pH of the tap water you use to water the plants.

Pruning hydrangeas

Hydrangeas don’t necessarily need intense pruning, deadhead the plants regularly and leave new buds intact. When winter comes around you can prune off any dead wood. The rule of thumb is that younger plants need less rigorous pruning than their older counterparts. If cutting for the vase, soak the flowers for a few hours in the tub – they absorb water through their petals and will wilt fairly fast if not properly hydrated.

Yellowing leaves?

Chlorosis (when leaves turn yellow) can be treated by feeding hydrangeas with Epsom salts and a healthy helping of iron chelate.

Now read: How to grow bougainvilleas