will a hydrangea do well in a pot?

kristinacatfishMay 15, 2007

I got a..... "hydrangea macrophylla" is all the tag says.... it is the "lacecap" type and the big flowers are light blue , almost white, the little ones are blue.

Can I keep it in a pot and bring it in in the winter? Or must it be planted in the ground?

It's so pretty and I don't want to plant it and have my dog trample it.

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If you put it in the ground, you probably won't see any blooms next year anyway, as they are usually not bloom hardy in zone 5. However, they don't make good house plants either. I would keep it potted (in a substantial but not too heavy to move, container) until first frost and then overwinter it in a (unheated) garage or basement, shed (dark and damp is good) until next Spring. Do not let it dry out over the winter. Water it once a month or so (?) Then come Spring, bring it out and let it slowly adjust to light and hopefully you will get to enjoy it for another season....yg

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 4:03PM
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thanks. ill have to research overwintering. I was hoping i could keep it as a houseplant in the winter.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 4:15PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

yg is correct, they really are not happy indoors.

Hinkley on growing hydrangeas long term in containers:

"For those gardening in less benign climates and wishing to grow hydrangeas, they do respond well to pot culture. A gallon sized plant should be moved directly into a 15 - 25 gal container using a bark based soilless compost which can be purchased through gardening centers. Move the containers into an unheated porch, garage or cold greenhouse during the winter season, protecting only during the coldest temperatures. Fertilize and water as for those plants grown in the ground - replace the compost (planting medium) every three years or as needed"

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 7:54PM
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Do as Dan Hinkley said and it will not disappoint you next summer.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 2:11AM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I'm curious. Have any of you ever actually put a hydrangea in a 25 gallon pot?

I've got Hydrangeas in 15 gallon containers. I'm pretty strong, and I tell you, they are heavy. How would you expect someone to move a 25 gallon container of wet soil and a big plant? I don't know how much it would weigh, but if it weighed anywhere near what water weighs, we'd be talking about 200 pounds before considering the weight of the plant or the container itself.

I can get an enormous plant in a five gallon container.

After just a few years in a 15 gallon pot, the plant will completely fill the space and I can't see how you could possibly replace the soil. There's little there except for roots at that point. At the same time, I've kept one plant in the same 15 gallon pot for at least five years now. It's still looking good. You ever notice in nature how you can see all kinds of plants growing in just a crevice of a rock or something like that. Or Bonsai. Plants are somewhat adaptable to what you give them.

For most people, I'd stick with 5 gallons or so, grow it for a couple of years at most in that pot and then start over with some smaller plant or take out the one in the pot and divide it.

Unless you're a professional weight lifter in training.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:10AM
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It's all I can do to lift a 5 gal container!! I wouldn't dream of trying to move a 25 gal one...maybe a hand truck would help?....yg

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:29AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

A good point Hay, but...

Plant stands on wheels (locking castor type) are readily available if stairs aren't an issue, and lightweight folding hand truck/dollys are available for very little money - it's surprising how useful they are. I bought one for $30 for my 80 year old mother that will handle 200 lbs and while I wouldn't try to move a refrigerator with it, its served its purpose :) Her city has since changed to 72 gal wheeled garbage and recycle containers, but I know she used the dolly recently to take the components to her 3-piece tiered cement fountain out of winter garage storage and into the back yard

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Hay brought absolutly valid point about the weight of the pots, but I have my own thoughts and experience on this subject and would like to share it.
First, on a pictures above you see a decorative pots that simply used as a shells to hide regular black nursery pots where hydrangeas actually growing.
That gives me ability not to consider the weight of the pot itself when there will be the time to move them in and out of winter shelter. Deco-pot and black-pot moves separately.
Still, 20G pot I'm using for Hobelle (pic#1) is too heavy and bulky (hydrangea itself is about 5' tall) to move it alone, but I'm sure everbody could find another pair of strong hands just twice a year to help with it.
Second, you have to select carefully which cultivars you would like to grow in a pot by given a consideration for eventual size. IMO, it's completely suicidal to grow something like a Nikko in a pot, but something more moderate or even dwarf(Masja, pic#2) is completely suitable for the pots. 2-3 footers in 5 to 7G pots will feel itself very comfortable for a long period of time.
Third, Hay is correct, after 3-4 years there will be nothing but the roots in that container. In early spring, while it is still dormant you may take it out of the pot and repot in a larger container or alternatively, if you decide to stay with the same size pot, you may trim about 1/3 of the root mass and refill container with the same mix as recommended above.
Fourth, as we all know, changing acidity of the soil thus changing color of your hydrangeas is not an easy and momentary project, but in a container culture it could be done easy, fast and on a permanent basis.
For the life of me I can't grow anything but blue in my acidic soil, even naturaly red cultivars like Preziosa and Glowing Embers become purplish-violet after one year in a ground. There is the only way to have a red hydrangeas for me is to keep them in containers. For those who have an alcaline soil this would be the only way to keep them blue.

Conclusion: to grow hydrangeas in containers is not the easiest task in a world, but if you determined to have them bloom for you reliably in z4-5 or need to have a particalar color in particular space of the garden, growing them in containers would be your only choice.
Oh, not to forget crazy fanatics-collectors who desperately wants to grow something that only hardy 2 zone higher than where he actualy lives. Count me in in that group. LOL. :-)))

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Excellent info EGO and beautiful plants as always.

I seem to run across pots (your ordinary run of the mill plastic HD pots) that are only labeled in inches. 16" or 24" (the diameter of the opening from lip to lip). Anyone know how to convert this into gallons? 16" looks like about 5 gals to me but I'm not really good at eyeballing such things. An approximation would be very helpful and much appreciated.....yg

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:25PM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Pots aren't perfect cylinders, but for an approximation, let's assume that they are. The volume of a cylinder is the area of the circle at the top times the height of the pot. It's hard to write "Pi are square" here, but that's how you do the area of the circle.

The other part you need is that a cubic foot is 7.5 gallons. And it's useful to know that "a pint's a pound", so that a gallon of water weighs eight pounds. 22/7 is a good approximation for pi. Useful numbers to know.

Using a 16 inch diameter pot that I'll assume is 18 inches deep just as an example:

16 inches diameter means 8 inches radius. In terms of feet that is 8/12 or 2/3 of a foot. Square that to get 4/9. Multiply that by the approximation of pi to get (22/7)X(4/9)
The area of the top is then 88/63 square feet.

I assumed the height to be 18 inches which is 18/12 feet or 3/2

Multiplying the height by the area gives us (3/2)X (88/63) which is 268/126 which is about 2.13 cubic feet.

There are 7.5 gallons in a cubic foot, so you've got (2.13)X(7.5) or about 16 gallons.

Which is just about the size of (big file: 187 Kb)that had to weigh close to what 16 gallons of water would weigh which would be 16 gallons times 8 pounds per gallon or about 128 pounds. I needed to get 128 pounds into the BACK of the border, over the plants in the front. I was alone and couldn't have used a hand truck in there even if I had one. This is only 16 gallons.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:56AM
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Wow...a mathematician too!!!

I'll have to save this post as I will never remember the calculations.

I can see now why you would have such problems with heavy pots....Perhaps a small CRANE would be a better solution for you than a hand truck!!

Thanks a bunch!!....yg

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:43AM
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My uncovered patio is in full sun. Is there a variety that will take full sun in zone 7? I would like to pot some this summer. Also, I rooted about 6 plants pretty late last summer and kept them in garage all winter. When do I need to put them in ground?

Many thanks for a reply.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 2:55PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Beverly, you can plant some hydrangeas in full sun only if you live in the northernmost states, either bordering Canada or being close to the border. Massachussetts is an example of a location where you can do that. If you are not sure, you can always look around town for hydrangeas or you could experiment with one shrub and place it in a 'test' location. If you notice that the top leaves suffer from sunscald (they yellow out, bleach out and even brown out) then move the shrub to a more protected location. Leaves that suffer from sunscald will completely yellow out or bleach out. That is slightly different from leaves of plants which suffer from iron chlorosis; their leaves turn yellow too but the veins remain dark green.

As far as when to put the rooted plants in the ground, I would determine the average last date of frost for your area and then put them out 1-2 weeks after that. If your are not sure when that is for your state, go to the link below.

Does that help you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Average Canada/U.S. First and Last Frost Dates

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:15PM
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I live in east central Fl. and recently received a hydrangea.
I was wondering if someone (perhaps Yellowgirl) could give me some tips on growing one in this climate - Zone 9.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 6:03PM
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If you just received a hydrangea, I'm going to assume that it is a forced / florist type mophead (usually found in Publix this time of year?) as even down here they are not naturally in bloom yet. I would highly suggest potting it up in a 5 gal container (to start with) with good (Miracle Grow Moisture Retaining Soil; or the like) and keep it outside. Hydrangeas like ample moisture and our continually air conditioned homes do not make a good environment for such plants. Keep it out of midday sun (a covered patio would be great) and most important of all, water, water, water. Soil should always be moist (not wet) so make sure your pot is draining well. These florist plants are a bit 'iffy' as they are grown/forced for instant bloom gratification at the expense of a healthy root system, but with a little extra care I have managed to salvage a few. So if you can't get this one to survive long term, try again with a hydrangea purchased from a nursery. These plants have been given a better head start in life.

Lastly, growing hydrangeas in C.Florida is not as easy as growing in more northern (zones 7 & 8) relatively carefree climates. If you want nice hydrangeas here, year after year, you will have to work for it! I have many in the ground but have come to the conclusion that containerizing is the easiest and (due to our very sandy soil) best way to keep them moist, well fed and happy. Hope this helps. Good luck...yg

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Although I am located in zone 8, it is further north than just about anywhere else in the continental US and many Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto). And it never gets very hot here in summer. It is still not recommended to grow the majority of hydrangeas in full sun - it's much too stressful and daily wilting is generally the primary result, in addition to potential yellowing and/or leaf scorching. There are a couple of exception - H. arborescens (Annabelle) is quite sun tolerant and H. paniculata only slightly less.

Pretty much all hydrangeas are fully hardy in zone 7 - one does not need to wait for last frost dates to plant out hardy woodies (like trees and shrubs) or even hardy perennials. You can plant them any time the soil is workable. If they have been kept in a semi-protected location over winter, it is a good idea to acclimate them to the outdoors before planting. This can be as simple as bringing them outdoors during the day and taking them back in at night for a week or two. Gradually extend the the period of time they remain outdoors until you leave them out overnight. They can be safely planted in a permanent location at that time.

This is the same process followed with acclimating florist's or greenhouse hydrangeas to the outdoors, although I'd tend to be a lot more gradual in the process with these types of hydrangeas. Planting these out in March or even April in zone 7 is pushing it a bit.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:18PM
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I am wanting to plant a hydrangea in a pot and underplant it. Do you know of a plant that will trail, take morning (east) sun and partner with the acidity of the hydrangea? I am in zone 9 (FL Panhandle). Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:46PM
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What kind of pot is best for growing hydrangeas? By that I mean should it be porous or can you use a plastic pot?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 8:32AM
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