How to Grow Tree Hydrangeas Successfully

How to Grow Tree Hydrangeas
13 min reading time

Tree hydrangeas are a beautiful and unique addition to any garden. These plants are known for their large, cone-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of white, pink, and blue. However, growing and caring for tree hydrangeas can be a bit of a challenge. In this article, we will provide you with all the information on how to grow tree hydrangeas successfully.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tree hydrangeas require specific soil conditions and need to be planted in a suitable location.
  • Proper watering and fertilization are essential for healthy growth and abundant blooms.
  • Pruning and shaping tree hydrangeas is necessary to maintain their shape and promote branching.
  • Protecting tree hydrangeas during the winter months is crucial to ensure their survival and growth in the following season.

How to Grow Tree Hydrangeas: Choosing the Right Varieties

When selecting a tree hydrangea for your garden, it’s important to consider the specific soil requirements of each variety to ensure its healthy growth and development. There are several types of tree hydrangeas available, each with its unique characteristics and needs.

The Pink Diamond is a popular variety known for its stunning pink blooms that appear in mid-summer. This cultivar prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and has a slightly acidic pH between 5.0 and 6.5.

Another popular option is the Limelight, which produces large, cone-shaped flowers in a beautiful creamy-white color. This variety does well in full sun to partial shade and prefers soil that is well-drained and moist.

VarietySoil Requirements
Pink DiamondWell-drained, rich in organic matter, slightly acidic pH between 5.0 and 6.5
LimelightWell-drained, moist, full sun to partial shade

The Little Quick Fire is a dwarf variety that produces beautiful pink and white flowers in early summer. This cultivar prefers soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic, with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5.

When selecting a tree hydrangea, be sure to research the specific soil requirements of your chosen variety and ensure that your garden can provide the necessary conditions for their healthy growth and development.

Tree Hydrangeas Planting Guide

Planting tree hydrangeas in your garden can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, proper planting is crucial for ensuring healthy growth and bountiful blooms. Here are some step-by-step instructions to help you get started:

1Choose a suitable location with well-drained soil and partial shade. Tree hydrangeas prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.2 and 6.5. Dig a hole that is about two times wider and slightly deeper than the root ball.
2Remove the tree hydrangea from its container and gently loosen any tangled roots. Place the root ball in the center of the hole, making sure that it sits at the same depth as it was in the container.
3Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots as you go. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and remove any air pockets. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk.

It is important to water tree hydrangeas regularly, especially during the first growing season. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize once a year in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.

By following these planting instructions and providing proper care, you can enjoy the beauty and charm of tree hydrangeas in your garden for years to come.

Watering and Fertilizing Tree Hydrangeas

Tree hydrangeas require consistent watering to ensure healthy growth and abundant blooms. The frequency and amount of water needed will depend on the climate and soil conditions in your area. As a general rule, water deeply once a week rather than frequent shallow watering.

When watering tree hydrangeas, it’s important to avoid getting water on the leaves and flowers, as this can lead to fungal diseases. Instead, water at the base of the plant and use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to ensure the roots are getting sufficient moisture.

In addition to regular watering, tree hydrangeas can benefit from fertilization. Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms.

Some tree hydrangeas, such as the paniculata variety, can tolerate drier soils and may not require as much watering as other types. However, it’s always a good idea to monitor the soil moisture and adjust your watering routine as needed based on the specific needs of your plants.

Tree Hydrangeas Sunlight Requirements

Tree hydrangeas require a sufficient amount of sunlight to thrive. As a general rule of thumb, they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. It’s important to choose a location that receives the right amount of sunlight, as inadequate exposure can result in poor growth and lack of blooms.

When deciding where to plant your tree hydrangeas, it’s essential to consider the amount of sunlight the area receives throughout the day. Avoid planting them in areas that are heavily shaded for most of the day, such as under large trees or in the shadow of a building.

Also, keep in mind that tree hydrangeas can tolerate some shade, but too much can hinder their growth. If you’re planting in a location with partial shade, make sure it gets enough sunlight during the day to promote healthy growth.

One way to ensure your tree hydrangeas are getting adequate sunlight is to observe them throughout the day and see how much sun they are receiving. If you notice that they are not getting enough sunlight, you may need to consider transplanting them to a more suitable location.

Providing adequate sunlight is crucial for the health and growth of your tree hydrangeas. By selecting a location with the right amount of sunlight and monitoring their exposure, you can ensure that they thrive and produce beautiful blooms.

Tree Hydrangeas Pruning Tips

How to Grow Tree Hydrangeas

Tree hydrangeas require regular pruning to maintain their shape, promote branching, and remove dead or damaged branches. Pruning should be done during the dormant season, typically in late winter or early spring before the plant begins to bloom.

Tools Needed for Pruning

To prune your tree hydrangeas, you will need the following tools:

Pruning ShearsFor trimming small branches
LoppersFor cutting thicker branches up to one inch in diameter
Hand SawFor cutting branches thicker than one inch in diameter

Before starting, ensure that your tools are sharp and clean to prevent any damage or disease transmission.

Steps for Pruning Tree Hydrangeas

Follow these steps to prune and shape your tree hydrangeas:

  1. Begin by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Cut them back to the point of healthy growth or to the main stem.
  2. Next, remove any crossing branches or those that are growing towards the center of the plant. This will help to open up the plant and promote better airflow and light penetration.
  3. Now, shape the plant as desired. You can control the size and shape of the plant by cutting back the tips of the branches, or by cutting back the entire branch to the desired length.
  4. Finally, step back and assess the plant’s shape. Make any final cuts as needed to achieve the desired shape and size.

When pruning, be sure to make clean cuts just above a leaf node or lateral branch. Avoid leaving stubs, as they can be an entry point for pests and diseases.

Remember that tree hydrangeas bloom on old wood, so avoid cutting back the plant too severely or you may not get any blooms the following year.

With proper pruning and shaping, your tree hydrangeas will remain healthy and vibrant, producing stunning blooms year after year.

Troubleshooting Common Tree Hydrangea Issues

As with any plant, tree hydrangeas can face a variety of issues that can affect their growth and health. Here are some of the most common issues and how to address them.


Tree hydrangeas can be susceptible to a number of diseases, including powdery mildew and leaf spot. If you notice spots or discoloration on the leaves or flowers, it may indicate a fungal infection. To address this, remove any affected plant material and treat with a fungicide.


Common pests that can affect tree hydrangeas include aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. If you notice small, crawling insects or sticky residue on the leaves, it may indicate a pest infestation. Treat with an insecticide and remove any affected plant material.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Tree hydrangeas may experience nutrient deficiencies, particularly in iron and magnesium. This can lead to yellowing leaves and stunted growth. To address this, apply a fertilizer specifically designed for hydrangeas and make sure the plant is getting enough water.

Environmental Stress

Environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, drought, or excessive sunlight can also affect the health and growth of tree hydrangeas. Make sure the plant is getting enough water and provide shade or protection from extreme weather conditions.

By being aware of these common issues and knowing how to address them, you can ensure that your tree hydrangeas stay healthy and vibrant all season long.

Tree Hydrangeas Care during Winter

Tree hydrangeas are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they do require some extra care during the winter months to ensure their survival and optimal growth in the following season.

One of the most important things you can do to protect tree hydrangeas during winter is to add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing, which can cause serious damage or even kill the plant. Apply a layer of 2-3 inches of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded leaves, around the base of the tree, but be careful not to pile it up too high against the trunk.

If you live in a particularly cold climate, you may also want to consider wrapping the tree in burlap to protect it from harsh winds and freezing temperatures. Be sure to wrap it loosely and leave plenty of room for air to circulate.

During the winter months, it’s also a good idea to reduce watering and fertilizing. Trees go dormant during this time and don’t require as much water or nutrients, so refrain from fertilizing until the spring. However, make sure the soil around the tree hydrangea doesn’t completely dry out during the winter and give it a good watering if there hasn’t been any rainfall for an extended period.

If you notice any signs of damage or stress on your tree hydrangea during the winter, such as wilted leaves or cracked bark, take action immediately. Prune any damaged branches, remove any dead leaves or debris around the base of the plant, and consult a professional if you’re unsure of what to do.

By taking these simple steps to protect your tree hydrangea during the winter months, you can ensure its survival and healthy growth in the coming season.


Growing tree hydrangeas can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By selecting the right variety, providing adequate soil, water, sunlight, and care, you can enjoy abundant blooms and healthy growth for years to come.

Remember to plant in the right location, prune to maintain shape and promote branching, and fertilize and water as needed. If you encounter common issues like pests or disease, don’t worry. With the right knowledge and techniques, you can prevent and address these problems effectively.

When winter arrives, don’t forget to winterize your tree hydrangeas to protect them from the cold. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure that your tree hydrangeas thrive and add beauty to your garden for years to come.


How do I grow tree hydrangeas?

To grow tree hydrangeas, make sure to provide them with well-draining soil and partial shade. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and fertilize them regularly during the growing season. Prune them in late winter or early spring to maintain their shape and remove dead or damaged branches.

What are the different varieties of tree hydrangeas?

There are several varieties of tree hydrangeas, including the PeeGee hydrangea, Annabelle hydrangea, and Limelight hydrangea. Each variety has its own specific soil requirements and unique characteristics. Consider the size, color, and blooming season of each variety when selecting the right one for your garden.

How do I plant tree hydrangeas in my garden?

To plant tree hydrangeas, prepare the soil by adding organic matter to improve drainage. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the plant. Place the tree hydrangea in the hole and backfill with soil, making sure to firm it gently around the roots. Water thoroughly after planting and provide regular watering until the plant establishes.

How often should I water and fertilize tree hydrangeas?

Tree hydrangeas require regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply at least once a week, ensuring the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize them in spring and early summer with a balanced slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.

How much sunlight do tree hydrangeas need?

Tree hydrangeas prefer partial shade or filtered sunlight. They can tolerate some morning sun, but too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and flowers. Find a location in your garden that receives morning sun and afternoon shade for optimal growth and blooming.

How do I prune and shape tree hydrangeas?

Pruning tree hydrangeas is important for maintaining their shape and promoting new growth. Prune them in late winter or early spring, removing any dead or damaged branches. You can also shape the plant by selectively pruning branches to achieve the desired form. Avoid pruning too heavily as it may reduce flower production.

What are some common issues with tree hydrangeas and how do I address them?

Tree hydrangeas can face issues such as diseases, pests, and nutrient deficiencies. Powdery mildew, aphids, and lack of iron are common problems. To address these issues, use appropriate fungicides or insecticides, and ensure your plants receive sufficient nutrients by fertilizing them regularly and maintaining proper soil pH.

How do I care for tree hydrangeas during winter?

To protect tree hydrangeas during winter, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the roots. If the area experiences harsh winters, consider covering the plants with burlap or other protective materials. Prune them lightly in late winter or early spring to remove any winter damage and encourage new growth.

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