Transplanting hydrangeas

gardennnn(SE, Pa)September 5, 2005

I just transplanted five hydrangeas. The leaves have gone limp. Should I cut the plants back or wait a few more days?

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If your summer has been similar to other parts of the east coast, then recent transplanting will present challenges - just not the best time of year and weather conditions for this activity. Your hydrangeas are suffering from transplant shock. Just keep them well watered until fall rains arrive and don't do any cutting back until spring and you can determine accurately what parts have survived and what has died back.

FWIW, if you could plan your transplanting chores for later into fall or early spring when the plant is not in active growth you will have much less risk of transplant shock.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 10:55AM
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Pam is correct, October is much better than September (after such dry July-August as we had this year).
That said, I just transplanted 6 hydrangeas over the weekend cause I have an itchy fingers and have to free up certain spots for rhododendrons, which I prefer not to plant past September here.
Anyway, you already transplanted them and leaves drooping, right?
Don't panic!
First, if they are mature or relatively large to have multiple stems with a lot of leaves, you have to reduce water transpiration via leaves surface.
Threre are two ways of doing that:
a) strip out about half of the leaves on each stem satrting from the bottom. You'll have a funny looking bare sticks with whorl of leaves just on a top.
b) cut in a half each leaf on a lower 2/3 portion of the stem. Leave top leaves untouched. Look less funny, but much more work.

Second, remove all flowers, spent or not and prune all small twiggy growth.

Third, water daily root zone and MIST, not water, remaining leaves every other day.

Of course, mulch well and if possible provide shade during the sunny part of the day.

Your transplants will be wilty/droopy looking for about 2-3 weeks, but I could make a bet that if you'll follow above procedure they'll recover from transplant shock before the end of September.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 2:30PM
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Just have to say, I was looking for this EXACT information, and here it is. Awesome. I'm transplanting 2 older hydrangeas since I'm puttng in a hedge screen, and this helps me take good care of them.

An additional question -- should I feed them now (hollytone, etc.) or wait till spring?


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 8:45PM
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Soji(z7 Nor. Va)

I want to transplant a climbing hydrangea. Do you have any additional tips for my climbing hydrangea? It climbed all the way up the chimney (2 stories) and 2 years ago I cut it back very hard. It's an old hydrangea w/ a very strong woody core. I'd like to move it climb up against a tree. What do you all think? Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 8:51PM
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mogal(5b MO)

I'm a newbie here and also new to growing hydrangeas. I bought a plant at Lowes this past summer and I don't know the exact name of it. I put it in a LARGE plastic planter and have had it on the patio all summer. I did this because I really didin't know where to plant it. =)
It has done well and bloomed this summer also. It is fuller now and full of green leaves although they have some brown spots on them. There are no blooms, and the stems are still green also.

My question is what should I do to take care of this hydrangea plant? Should I bring it indoors and store?
Should I go ahead and transplant it, and if so what area is best? Should I cover it up or cut it back if I am transplanting in yard?? I live in zone 5B.
I look forward to hearing your answers. Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 2:03PM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

If this is a paniculata or an arborescens then you could plant it now and mulch it and water it well into the winter.

Same with H. Macrophylla 'Endless Summer' and at least some of the Hydrangea Serratas.

If this is some other Macrophylla then you can plant it now but most likely you'd see few flowers on it ever again. It'd die back to the ground most likely each winter and give you nice foliage in the next summer, but no flowers.

In general the hydrangeas need moisture and not full, hot sun. Dont' cut it back.

I wouldn't bring it inside for the winter unless you have a very cold spot to let it go dormant. You could overwinter it ourside with some protection. The thread "overwintering hydrangea macrophylla..." will give you some ideas if you wanted to pursue it.

Good luck. Hay.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 4:07PM
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Hi! I am having a large addition built within the next 2 weeks. Sadly, the bulk of it is going where I have 2 HUGE hydrangea bushes that I just LOVE. I am guessing they are at least 40 to 60 years old. I am sick at the thought of losing them. I have asked the contractor about moving them. He is going to use the back hoe to try. Any suggestions or experience with something similar? I would really hate to see them die or no longer have them in my yard.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 4:56PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

A tree spade, used to plant larger trees and their roots, might be a better way to move old, large bushes. Backhoes are rather limited for use around plants.

I would call a Nursery with Landscaping as part of their services for help. They would know where to find the tree spade and how to best move those bushes for you.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:47AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

You may want to propagate it before transplanting it, just in case. See the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating hydrangeas

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:00PM
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I'll be transplanting two year-old hyrdrangeas soon because they are not doing well due to them being in too much shade. I want to do this before the spring when I'm afraid the root ball will be too big for me to move alone.

I was reading elsewhere to put bone meal in the soil to help the roots grow and the plant get established. We soak the plants well every few days and mist them for a while every day (it is really hot around here!). Is there anything else I should do to ensure the plants continue to grow well and get established before the colder months arrive?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:05PM
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How soon is "soon"? In a zone 8 location, transplanting would best be accomplished when the plant is entering dormancy or dormant - mid fall into winter. There is minimal chance of transplant shock at that time and root growth tends to be most active in fall, hastening establishment. Cooler temperatures and the prevalence of fall and winter rains are also beneficial to re-establishment. I'd not worry too much about the need to re-establish before winter cold weather, either. In zone 8, one seldom encounters winters cold enough to cause concern for hydrangeas and during the dormant period is a recommended planting time for any deciduous shrub or tree. Two year old plants will not have huge rootballs and should be relatively easily moved - I've moved 10 year old plants myself and I'm well on my way to becoming a "little old lady" :-)

If your soils have adequate levels of phosphorus - and most non-agricultural soils do - adding bone meal at the time of transplanting is unnecessary. Contrary to common belief, it is not a "root stimulator" but merely provides phosphorus, which does encourage root development (but doesn't "stimulate" development). If the phosphorus is already present, there is no need to add more and excessive amounts can be detrimental. Test your soil first. And water well if rainfall is sparse.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:07AM
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G'morning, Pam, George, Hay & Luis - I second dhana ... very timely ??? ... I was just about to ask!

About my old Nikko (never) Blue ... to rehash: for SECURITY ... in early June, did 4 cuttings (1 died, the rest, doing great & have grown 4 tiers of leaves ... did 2 ground-layered stems (in split pots) as well ... are now giants ... thick canes, have even grown a few, very good, axillary-leaf-buds (so exciting!!!) now my ???

1. How can I tell if ground layered stems, have good enough roots now, to safely wean from old Nik? Do I split pots all the way open, to check roots?

2. Should I sever one, ahead of the other & leave it where it is, to see how it behaves?

3. Realizing the difficulty of digging up old Nik ... better in Sept or should wait 'til Spring (over-wintering with 2 ground layered pots would be more tedious ... Nik's future home has been readied - huge empty pot - sitting in hole!)

4. If big excavation, to be done this Fall ... where best to over-winter ground-layered pots - garage or go ahead & sink in ground/over-winter as required?

Sorry, very long (in deference to nursery friend ... they're in selling business) ... TIA very much, for your expert thoughts!!! Â;)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:58AM
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Hi George - I've been searching in this forum for more info regarding rooted cuttings as well as rooted ground layered ones ... "when to plant?" ... & found your response to ?? on this topic, dated 7/25/05

"IMO, in z4-5 first year rooted cuttings have no chance to survive winter in ground.
Even here, in 6b I prefer to overwinter rooted cuttings in pots in garage. Ground layered cuttings would have a better chance in that respect if planted now."

In reference to one of my ??? (ground layered stems) posted yesterday, would it be too late planting them in Sept, in my zone?


    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:05PM
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