can I divide a hydrangea?

fbot(Z5b-Central MA)March 31, 2006

Hi all,

I have a hydrangea that has grown out of its alotted space. It was a gift, so I am not sure what type it is. The root ball is about 2 and a half feet wide and the thing is only 2 years old. Is it possible to divide a hydrangea? If so, how and when?



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It sure is possible to divide your hydrangea. Do it now while it is still dormant. Water it well before you start. A slow trickle over several hours is best if you can manage it. Dig around the perimeter with sharp deep cuts and remove the root ball. Divide the rootball into the number of sections that you want, again, by making sharp cuts. Replant the sections, mulch well and give them a big drink.

Don't worry if they are droopy at first. They prefer to be moved when it's overcast but the first time I did this was at the height of the noonday sun on a hot day and they rebounded with mulch and watering. Good luck, you should have no problem. I love hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 10:19AM
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Brilliant - I'd *never* have thought of doing this, but it makes perfect sense.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:35PM
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sheeshrn(MA z5)

So thankful to have read this thread! Two foot root ball, I think mine will need to be moved. How about pruning? I have new growth at the base of one I planted last year, do I snip back the dead looking branches? I thought they grew off last year's growth but am not sure.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 6:28AM
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Hydrangeas should be pruned after they bloom. Pruning now will remove the upcoming blossoms that you will be happy to see in mid-late summer.

You can prune dead or broken branches now, but I would wait until you can clearly see green buds that have emerged along the length of the branchs. Otherwise, you end up taking off healthy growth because if you've noticed, at this time of year the whole shrub tends to look dead as a doornail.

Some hydrangeas, like the popular 'Nikko Blue' grow by leaps and bounds so replant sections in spots where they have room to grow.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 9:05AM
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fbot(Z5b-Central MA)

Thanks for the advice. Since it's cloudy today, I will try to move and divide them now.

Yes, you can prune it, but only the old, old wood. It blooms off of last year's wood - so any wood from 2 seasons ago can go. You can tell which one's which - the old, old wood looks obviously dead. The wood from last year will have very small buds on it (at least mine does).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 9:17AM
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I just successfully divided two lacecaps today. They were only four years old and I had to literally saw through them with muscle! It was hard work, but so far so good.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 8:02PM
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Tell me about!!!
Moved yesterday 4 years old 'King George' and two of us, me and my son were unable to lift that 3'+ wide rootball.
We had no choice, but drag it on a tarp.
On another side, Annabelle simply fall apart into 4-5 pieces when I was moving it last week. That was easy :-)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:31AM
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