drippy(7bAL)July 13, 2014

I am moving to Austin at the end of the month. I have a memorial hydrangea, don't know the cultivar, that I would like to bring with me (it's small enough to be in a pot). Some sites I've seen say hydrangeas are hardy for zones 3-7; others say 3-8. Do hydrangeas grow in Austin?

Thanks in advance,

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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Hydrangeas do best in acidic soil. You'll be hard pressed to find that in Austin, which is sitting on top of a lot of limestone. Now, what makes it especially hard is that the tap water is slightly alkaline. So you can acidify the soil chemically, but every time you water (unless you're using rainwater, maybe), which you have to do a LOT, you're defeating that acidification.

I have a couple of hydrangeas, and although the plants are very healthy, the blooms have never been impressive.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Just east of Austin, we have acidic soil in the Bastrop area "lost pines," but we are an exception soil-wise. We are not exception moisture-wise and Hydrangeas are not drought tolerant. Like Dan said, it can be done, but you'll have to commit to babying the plant and it'll never be what you are accustomed to.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:26AM
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MKull(8 SATX)

ooh best of luck. My motto for hydrangeas here: "Never Again." I simply don't have what it takes to keep them thriving here. My mother brought a 'limelight' with them from their move from VA to TX last year. It's more drought tolerant but even then it's having a rough time of it just S. of Austin.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:49PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Yes, sienna, I was going to note that there ARE pockets of acidic soil around here. But not in Austin itself. I am greatly envious of the Lost Pines soil, where you can even grow berries with some confidence.

I think there is one hydrangea variety that can tolerate our native soil. See attached link. I presume that means it blooms well.

Now, again, I'll point out that my hydrangeas do fine as plants, with decent but untreated soil, and tap water. They just have pretty insipid flowers. They are, BTW, the thirstiest of all my plants (well, except my catnip ...).

Here is a link that might be useful: Oak Leaf Hydrangea

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:02PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

I don't believe that the hydrangea would thrive (maybe survive?) in alkaline, dry soil. You can probably grow one in a large container where you can control the soil ph and moisture.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:15PM
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The acidic soil out here is nice, but without the moisture, I've learned that it's still a trial to grow some of the plants that I would like (in theory, azaleas should do okay especially under my pines, but I've managed to kill a few; yet every so often, I have to try again, lol). However, the roses (mostly antiques/Earthkind) do just fine with the acid soil and low rainfall.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:32AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

At least as important as the soil is the sun/shade condition. Hydrangeas in the far south cannot tolerate full sun except early morning. However, they do fine in shifting/dappled sunlight/shade underneath trees, or full shade. I grow hydrangeas in Jacksonville, Florida (zone 9a) in full shade without any problems. I have twelve healthy hydyrangeas, all in full shade.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:04AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

In bloom:

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:05AM
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Your hydrangeas are gorgeous! Wish I could get 'em to do that here, but even in the shade, you won't see blooms like that.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:03PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

The soil around the house is quite alkaline due to leaching from the foundation (thus pink blooms rather than blue). I periodically apply aluminum sulfate and still - - pink blooms. In my experience, acidic soil is not essential for growing healthy hydrangeas.

Drippy, if you can find a spot with morning/early day sun only, or dappled sun all day, your hydrangea has a good chance. Water it frequently and deeply during the first year.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:38PM
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