This beloved heirloom shrub is always a show-stopper in the garden. Grow hydrangeas in ways you never thought possible with these cool tricks.

By Risa Quade
Updated July 10, 2019

These big, blowsy blooms have definite star appeal in the garden. Hydrangeas create showy foundation plantings, borders with impact, and color boosts for shadier spots in the yard. These simple tricks will help you squeeze even more value from your hydrangea shrubs.


1. Turn it Blue

If your pink hydrangea lacks the heavenly blue color you desire, then your soil lacks acidity. To check the acid levels in your soil, use a pH meter (find them in garden centers). Dip the meter prong into the soil and look for a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5—the acidity level necessary to keep blue hues flowing on your hydrangea. To add acidity, work iron sulfate or a soil acidifier into the soil near the base of the plant. According to folklore, you can also bury rusty iron nails near the base of the shrub to achieve celestial tones.

Credit: Marty Baldwin

2. Dry It

Hydrangea flowers are a cinch to air-dry. Cut the blooms at any stage, remove all leaves, and hang the stems upside down in a warm, well-ventilated spot until they are completely dry. Or wait for the flowers to dry naturally on the bush before cutting. The papery flowers will last for ages and even longer if spray-painted or dyed for more intense color. Use the dried blooms in floral arrangements or attach to wreaths with floral wire.

Credit: Bob Stefko

3. Contain It

Most hydrangeas grow from 3 to over 10 feet tall. If you lack the space for a large shrub, grow one of the dwarf cultivars in a container. Mophead hydrangeas such as 'Endless Summer Blushing Bride' or 'BloomStruck' take well to containers. Whether you pair the hydrangea or let it stand solo, make sure to plant it in a pot with drainage holes, water well, and prune as necessary so it doesn't outgrow the container.

Comments (1)

July 11, 2019
Hydrangeas are beautiful, thank you for these tips!