Feb 10, 2015

How to Grow Hydrangeas

With these easy steps you can grow your own hydrangeas | How to Grow Hydrangeas | LaBelle's General Store

If you want to know How to Grow Hydrangeas you've come to the right place.  Hydrangeas are Cape Cod's unofficial flower.  In fact, Cape Cod is hosting its inaugural Hydrangea Festival this year.  So it's no wonder, when people buy a home on Cape Cod one of the first things they do is buy a Hydrangea bush.  I'd imagine there's probably an unspoken list of things you need to buy for your new Cape house...

"Everything You Need for Your Cape Cod Cottage:"

1.  Hydrangeas

Provided we don't have any global cooling events, Hydrangeas grow with vigor and verve on Cape Cod.  Hydrangeas love our soil and temperature conditions and we can't complain when they keep us well supplied with an abundance of blooms for floral arrangements almost all summer long.

You'll always have flowers on hand for your vases! | Hydrangeas Grow with Vigor on Cape Cod | LaBelle's General Store
Cape Cod Hydrangea Foundation Planting

2.  Starfish

In addition to hydrangea bouquets cut right from your own garden, every Cape Cod cottage needs a selection of starfish to sit upon the window panes.  You can stand them on the window ledges of the front facing rooms or add them to a stunning view from a coastal kitchen.  Place them in a glass jar or scatter them across a table.  Starfish also look coastal chic in the sidelights of front entry doors.

Cape Cod Home: Hydrangeas & Starfish | LaBelle's General Store
Cape Cod Kitchen: Hydrangeas & Starfish

3.  Signs

Houses on Cape Cod often feature traditional quarterboards with distinctive names.  That has lead to the popularity of signs that show how much you love your Cape House.  (You wouldn't have moved here if you didn't, but a little reinforcement never hurt anyone.)  This great Cape Cod Enjoy! Sign has a handy peg in the back that lets you stand it on a shelf, or you can hang it on the wall.  Take it with you when you leave for the winter and you can be reminded of Cape Cod all year long...

Growing Your Own Hydrangeas

Now that you have everything you need for your Cape Cod cottage, you can start playing with and multiplying your hydrangeas.  The first thing you need to do is take cuttings from a Hydrangea Bush.  I would heartily recommend you use cuttings from a bush on your own property, a hydrangea that shows a propensity for the soil in your yard.  It is also not recommended that you take cuttings from someone else's hydrangeas unless you don't mind interacting with the local police.

How to Grow Hydrangeas | All You Need to Grow Hydrangeas | LaBelle's General Store
Grab your hydrangea cuttings and these simple tools.

We actually had some Hydrangea Heisters hit a number of Cape Cod homes and pilfering their hydrangea blossoms to sell to the flower markets for $8 a stem.  Yes, hydrangeas were wholesaling for $8 a stem about 15 years ago!  I'm not sure what they go for now, but back then thieves were cashing in on the blooms of unsuspecting Cape Cod cottage owners.  So, take my advice, only use cuttings from your own hydrangea bushes or ask permission before you clip.

How to Grow Hydrangeas | LaBelle's General Store
I grew some cuttings in my strawberry patch and got strawberry colored blooms...

The Easy Way to Grow Hydrangeas

1. Clip 9"-12" Long Cuttings

  • In July, while my favorite Hulkamania Hydrangeas (not a real variety--mine are just huge) were blooming, I took 5 Stem Top Cuttings.  I looked for stems without flowers, on newer wood. Nice green shoots seem to work the best.
  • Clip 9"- 12" cuttings to allow for at least 4 inches for inserting into the ground. Pull off any lower leaves but be sure to leave at least 2 pairs at the top of the stem.  Cut the bottom leaves in half as seen below.  (Not sure why, but I think I read somewhere that this is helpful to stimulate new growth...)

2. Find a Good Spot to Plant Cuttings

  • I knew I wanted to get these hydrangeas started right into my garden's soil (why mess around with containers?), so I cleared an area around the outer edge of my raised beds.  The method to my madness was such: if someone (Joe) should take the time to water his vegetable garden, my hydrangea babies would (at least) get some of the overflow...
  • I seem to have the best luck with hydrangeas that get full sun in the morning and shade in the the afternoon, something to take into consideration.
  • Use a pencil to make a hole in the ground for each stem envisioning the future shape of your hydrangea bush...  

How to Grow Hydrangeas in Your Garden | LaBelle's General Store
This is how they looked after a month...

3.  Dip Bottom Tips into Rooting Hormone & Plant

  • Take your cuttings and dip the bottoms into a jar of rooting hormone. I purchased rooting hormone at my local garden center, Hart Farm.
  • Gently insert the stems into each pencil hole, then fill in the dirt and press down...
  • I gave them a good drink, and said, "sayonara girls, grow happy"... And that's it!
They survived the Fall and Winter and made it to Spring!
Honestly, I didn't have anything else to do with their upbringing.  I barely have enough time to do laundry, vacuum, or eat anything besides ice cream during the summer months, so no, I really didn't take very good care of my hydrangea babies that summer.  And that's why I am so amazed how easy it is to grow your own hydrangeas!  After several years, look at how they have grown:

For the Visual Learner | How to Grow Hydrangeas | LaBelle's General Store

So what do you think?  Will you take some cuttings and grown your own Hydrangeas?  Have you tried any other ways to grow Hydrangeas?  We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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