How fast do hydrangeas grow/how to propegate

karri25(7)April 11, 2006

I really want huge, beautiful hydrangeas lining the side of my house! I have one so far :) How fast do they grow and how can I propegate so that I am don't have to get so deep in my pocket? The nurseries around here sell them for $15.00 a piece or up. I will need around 8-10 to fill in the side of my house. I am new to hydrangeas, even though they are my favorite flower, and want to learn how to help them be beautiful and healthy! Any help is appreciated!

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Creech444(z7 Atl GA)

Probably the way to get the most plants the quickest would be taking cuttings off your mother plant. See a site like for info on propogation.

If you have a friend who's Hydrangea you particular like, you could even get some cuttings for free.

This takes some time though to give you a big full mature bed, remember Hyrangeas bloom on old wood. So the first year the cuttings pretty much are getting established, then the next one it's growing, but there's not really any old wood yet to bloom on, it may be 3-4 years for the plant to get established enough to really have an impact with blooms (huge beautiful hydrangeas).

Branch cuttings, where you take low hanging branches and fasten them to the ground and let them root, those seem to get going faster and stronger. (You just don't get as many.)

In the end you have to sort of strike a balance between how long you're willing to wait and how much money you want to save on big plants.

I'd recommend buying a number of plants and stretching them out throughout the area. Then filling in between with cuttings, then maybe again after that.

I really understand your concern though on cost. I've currently gotten over 30 different varieties of hydrangeas, with multiples of my favorites. If I'd paid full price for full grown 3-year plants, I could have easliy paid thousands of dollars.

Instead, I'd buy a couple of mature plants every year for immediatel impact, but mostly would buy the much cheaper rooted nursery cuttings, or I'd swap cuttings with friends. Before you know it, time flies, and your yard is covered in hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 1:34AM
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Thank-you for your help! I hadn't thought about buying a few and mixing it up with some cuttings. I can't wait till my house is covered in big beautiful blooms!!!! Do you have any suggestions for accompaniement (sp) plants?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 7:05PM
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Creech444(z7 Atl GA)

I've had luck mixing my Hydrangeas with:

Everygreen Azaleas and Rhododendron.
Deciduous Azaleas (They get tall so you can plant Hydrangeas under them)
LOTS of Ferns (Decid & Evergreen)
Bottlebrush Buckeye
Japanese Pines
Shade toleant Cryptomerias and Cypress
Hydrageas also mix well with early spring woodland flowers that are up and finished flowering by the time the Hydrangeas fill in like Trillium, May Apples, Woodland Phlox.

Even with Hydrangeas you can do a lot of mixing, if you're doing a big long side bed. You can shop around for different sizes. I have the big tall ones like Veitchi and Tokyo Delight in the back, then lots of the 4-5' tall ones in the middle, then smaller dwarfs (Melinda, Hornli, Halisan, Pia) up front.

It just depends if you want one big splash of the same color, or want to mix it u and stretch out the variety and blooming times on your bed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Good advice, creech444. Just one thing about the May Apples: we have some and I find they spread vigorously and rapidly, and (like many of our favorite plants) are toxic if ingested.

I started with one hydrangea, Nikko Blue, and found it to be very easy to propagate. One of the flowering stems in a vase sent out roots, so I potted it up and it spent the winter in the greenhouse. There's still just one stalk, not more than 6" high yet, but I see two shoots on the side and a flower bud on top already! Sweet little thing. I also find secondary plants growing under the "mother" plant and last autumn divided one off and planted it across the yard ... so far, it looks nice and healthy. I can't wait to try propagating 'Lady in Red' (new last season) and this year's addition, a variegated hydrangea, for other spots in the yard.

As for companion plants, I'd like to add Japanese Andromeda (Pieris Japonica) to the list of shrubs - nice clusters of small creamy flowers in early spring, new foliage is sometimes reddish in color. Beneath my original Nikko is a swath of snowdrops - they start blooming here in February (sometimes even late January) and stay through March. Nice winter contrast of the leaves and delicate white blossoms against the exfoliating bark of the hydrangea. The foliage will have ripened and died off by the time the hydrangeas are blooming. Fernleaf bleeding heart (dicentra) also thrives in the same environment as hydrangea; the lacy foliage is a nice contrast to the hydrangea leaves and they will be taking a rest during summer's heat while the hydrangea is in peak bloom, to return as soon as weather cools down a bit.

It sounds like you're going to have a lovely border along the side of your house! If you can manage it, I like creech's advice to buy a few (same or different varieties, as you like) then fill the gaps with propagations. In the meantime, there are many annual and perennial plants that will fill those gaps nicely (daylilies are very adaptable, fill out quickly and come in a mind-boggling array of colors and forms). I think daisies would be pretty, too, especially with the blue hydrangeas, if there's enough sun.

Good luck and have fun!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 8:51PM
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I make cuttings in early fall by snipping long branches into 2-3 pices with a few sets of leaves on each. I stick each of them in a pot of their own and place these together in a small rubbermaid container. I then enclose this container in a large clear plastic (leaf) bag. a few slits in the plastic, and the container goes in the shade for 30-45 days. I check every 2-3 weeks to make sure the soil is damp.

In late fall, the hydrangeas should be rooted. If you plant them outdoors immediately, plance them sheltered place covered with straw for example. you can also put the pots in an attached garage (make sure the soil is just barely damp through winter). You can also bring them in and grow as green houseplants (requires light).

If you can not see the below pictures in your email, you might have to go to the gardenweb forums and read the post in the forum directly.

Each cutting has one set of leaves on top. The bottom leaves are stripped and each has their own pot

The cutting does not have to be from the tip of the branch. This one was taken from the middle of a branch. see the small dead brown stick above the green growth ? that was the original stem which died back a bit

Blooming indoors after cuttings taken in fall. Here are some in small planters, and some which have been repotted into larger pots

Got Pink ?

These cuttings where just taken. Notice how I cut some of the leaves in half to reduce the amount of water being transpired from the cuttings while no roots. In the very top right corner of the picture, you can see the rubbermaid container enclosed in plastic. I simply gather 8-10 pots together in the container and leave them. They are very easy to root and do so best if you do not look at them (same with water which wont boil if you stare at the pot).

-- Kenneth

1 Like    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 11:48PM
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you can eat the "apple" part (fruit) of the mayapple plant.
other parts of the plant are not safe to eat.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 9:43AM
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I am SOOO sorry it has taken me so long to reply, I've been away:(
Thank-you so much for the advise, I'm going this weekend to buy a few new hydra. and some plants to begin mixing with them. Y'all have inspired me, I've been putting this one off since it'll be such a large undertaking.
Those pictures are beautiful and I appreciate how detailed your advise has been. I feel like I actually know what i'm doing now!!
I will keep y'all posted as to what I buy and how it's all coming along.

ps do you think Lamb's ear will be pretty in front of it all?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:03PM
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