Whether you’re looking to plant a hydrangea in your landscape or want to propagate hydrangea plants from cuttings, spring is the perfect time to do it. But, like any other spring planting, hydrangea propagation requires a bit of planning ahead to ensure your efforts are successful.
1. Pick out the right hydrangea seeds for your region, garden, and soil pH 2. Find the best hydrangea variety to match your needs (like white-flowered hydrangeas for shade or alkaline-loving hydrangeas for acidic soil) 3. Plan a supplemental winter mulch layer 4. Mulch protects roots from cold weather and introduces nutrients as it breaks down into the ground.
2. Select a good-quality nursery pot that’s at least 2 inches bigger than your desired hydrangea size.
A good nursery will have a potting mix with a moisture-retentive additive. You’ll need to water the potting mix before and after putting it in your garden to keep it moist and warm. You’ll also need to bury the cut end of your hydrangea seeds in a hormone rooting powder (available online) to stimulate new roots.
3. Take cuttings of the hydrangea plant you want to propagate in late March or early April when it’s dormant and the stems are less sensitive to heat stress.
4. Choose a non-flowering stem that is about six inches long and has multiple nodes on it (the area where it connects to other plants). 5. Dip the end of your cutting into hormone rooting powder, burying it in 2 to 3 inches deep beneath a pot of soil.
6. Set the hydrangea seedlings in a sunny spot for the first week or two until they get established. This is a good time to water deeply and regularly to encourage a healthy root system that will help the hydrangea survive through hot, dry summers.
7. Plant hydrangeas in spring or fall depending on your area’s climate, and be sure to follow the specific instructions for the hydrangea you choose.
8. Make sure the hydrangeas are positioned in a sunny spot with plenty of air circulation to help them bloom successfully.
A well-draining potting mix will ensure that your hydrangeas thrive in the ground. The potting mix should be a blend of organic matter such as peat moss, perlite, or sand mixed with a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
9. Water the hydrangea seeds and potting mix weekly or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
Until the hydrangea roots grow large enough to support their own weight, it’s important to keep the potting mix moist. You can water the hydrangea seeds with a spray bottle filled with cool water or with a watering can, but the best thing is to water them from the bottom up to maximize their nutrient intake.
10. Cover the hydrangea seeds with a thin layer of paper towel to keep them from drying out.
You can also try a seed-saving technique known as “pricking.” Simply remove a small section of the leaf tissue from a stem that has browned and dies, then place it in a paper bag for a few days until it dries out.