Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water? Can You Over-Water Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas are a genus of flowering plants native to the United States and Asia. Most grow as small shrubs, but some can grow to be small trees.

Hydrangeas, whose name means water vessel in Greek, can be either evergreen or deciduous. The most common species of hydrangeas are deciduous and grow from early spring to late fall.

If you are new to gardening or to raising hydrangeas, it can be overwhelming to care for your new plants.

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How Often To Water Newly Planted Hydrangeas

  • If you just planted your hydrangeas in hot weather states, like Arizona or New Mexico,  it is crucial to keep them well-watered until their roots have had a chance to establish themselves.
  • When you plant your hydrangeas in the middle of a hot summer or during a drought, you must give them plenty of water.
  • The type of soil you plant your hydrangeas in is essential as well. You want to put your hydrangeas in a moisture-retentive area that is well drained.
  • Do not plant your hydrangeas in water that does not drain. You do not want your hydrangeas in standing water.
  • You want to give your hydrangeas a good soaking at least three times a week. Watering them will allow your newly planted hydrangeas to establish their root system in the ground.
  • The root system of hydrangeas is shallow, so you must provide them with some protection. Adding a layer of mulch helps retain moisture for the hydrangeas. Use 2-3 inches of mulch on your hydrangeas.
  • The mulch will add organic matter to the soil surrounding the hydrangeas. When the mulch starts to break down, it will add essential nutrients to the dirt that will help your hydrangeas thrive in their newly planted area.
  • You can tell if your hydrangeas are not getting enough water. If their leaves are looking wilted, they need more water.

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How To Water Established Hydrangeas

  • After your hydrangeas have established themselves, a great way to keep them watered is soaker hoses or drip waterers.
  • Soaker hoses and drip waterers are easy ways to keep your hydrangeas watered. They put water on the roots, which is essential in keeping them healthy.
  • Remember to water your newly planted hydrangeas at least three times a week until their root systems are in place.
  • If you are in a droughty state, like Nevada, or in the middle of a hot summer, consider watering them more than three times a week.
  • Planting your new hydrangeas in a pot instead of the ground requires similar care.
  • Light-colored pots are preferred to dark-colored pots for your outdoor hydrangeas because dark-colored pots absorb heat faster.
  • Make sure your like-colored pot has a drainage hole, which is essential in allowing good drainage and not drowning your hydrangea.
  • Like in the ground, hydrangeas in a flower pot should be watered thoroughly at least three times a week.
  • Soak the entire pot until water comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the flower pot. The flower pot must drain. If it does not, the roots can rot away inside the flower pot.
  • If you are keeping your potted hydrangeas indoors, keep them near sunny windows in a cool room. Hydrangeas need six hours of sunlight per day.
  • Indoor hydrangeas will not need as much protection as outdoor plants.

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Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water?

  • Hydrangea shrubs need consistent moisture to thrive. Hydrangeas need to be watered at a rate of one inch per week during the growing season.
  • One inch per week is an average among all hydrangea species. Because there are multiple different varieties of hydrangeas, the recommended watering amount does differ.
  • Some species double the amount of water needed per week, up to two inches.
  • A Mophead Hydrangea only needs to be watered one to two times per week, while the Panicle Hydrangea needs water at least three times per week.
  • Water your hydrangeas on a consistent schedule. You want to keep them moist, especially in their first year after being planted. Once they are well established in the ground, they can survive drier conditions.
  • Consistent watering without drowning your hydrangeas is essential. You do not want your hydrangea roots sitting in standing water.
  • Standing water can cause your newly planted hydrangea roots to rot and not take root.
  • When you are watering your hydrangeas, you must water them thoroughly. Do not just sprinkle them with water, but soak the whole pot or ground.
  • If your hydrangeas are in a flower pot, make sure it has an adequate drainage hole to let extra water out.
  • If your hydrangeas are in the ground, be sure the soil is arid enough to drain extra water. You want the dirt to be adequately wet but not so wet that your hydrangea is drowning.

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Can You Over-Water Hydrangeas?

  • Do not let their name fool you; the “hydra” in “hydrangea” is referring to their seed capsules, not water.
  • When you buy a hydrangea, do not drown it in water. Drowning them has rotted so many hydrangeas!
  • The most common concern with overwatering your hydrangea is your plant baby experiencing root rot.
  • Excessive moisture without the change to dry out allows bacteria to attack the roots, causing them to rot.
  • Without a strong root system, your hydrangea will not survive. It will slowly die if it is constantly in standing water.
  • Another concern with overwatering your hydrangeas is stunting growth. Overwatering does not always lead to root rot and death, but it can also stunt your hydrangea’s growth.
  • Be sure you are getting the most out of your plant!
  • The last concern with overwatering your hydrangea shrub is slowing down the production of blooms.
  • While the greenery of the shrub is beautiful, everyone wants to see blooms, If you are overwatering your hydrangea the blooms may not grow like they’re supposed to.
  • With stunted growth and not adequate bloom production, your hydrangea will struggle to survive. Overwatering will lead to the death of your hydrangea shrub.
  • Overwatering hydrangeas happens for two reasons. The first reason is poor soil quality that does not allow the water to drain.
  • The water pools at the base of the plant with nowhere to go. Hydrangeas do best in sandy soil than in clay soil.
  • The second reason is simply you are overwatering your hydrangea. Even with adequate drainage, if too much water is being poured on the hydrangea, they can experience overwatering.
  • Do not be alarmed if your hydrangea looks wilted during the heat of the day. If you are watering them thoroughly three times per week, they are adequately hydrated.
  • When the temperature cools, they will perk back up.
  • If your hydrangeas are not perking back up when the temperature drops, that is an indication that you can go ahead and water your hydrangeas more often.
  • If you water your hydrangeas thoroughly three times per week and they have well-drained soil, they should thrive!

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Hydrangea owners around the world have questions just like you! Check out some of the most frequently asked questions about watering hydrangeas.

How often should a hydrangea be watered?

-> You should water your hydrangea thoroughly three times per week. This gives them an adequate amount of water without being overwatered.
-> Watering encourages root growth and gives your hydrangea the best chance of thriving.

How do I know if my hydrangea needs water?

-> The best indicator a hydrangea gives when it needs water is its leaves. If the leaves are drooping, it usually needs water.
-> If they are only drooping during the hottest parts of the day, they may be well hydrated. If they continue to droop after the temperature drops, give them a drink!

Do hydrangeas need watering daily?

-> Hydrangeas do not thrive with watering every day. It is best to thoroughly water your hydrangeas three times per week instead of giving them little sips every day.
-> Watering three times per week allows their root systems to dry out enough to not rot.

Should I water hydrangeas morning or night?

-> Your hydrangea shrub can be watered early morning or late at night. It is best to not water during the heat of the day.
-> When your hydrangea is watered during the hottest parts of the day, it can release the moisture it has, causing the hot sun to evaporate.

Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water
Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water

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If you are new to gardening, do not fear! Hydrangeas are a great plant to start with.
Always give your newly planted hydrangeas adequate water to establish their root system. Plant them in well-drained soil that allows for the water to escape and not damage the roots.

If you plant them in a pot, be sure it has a drainage hole. Hydrangeas need to be watered thoroughly three times per week, at a rate of 1 inch per week during the growing season.

Hydrangeas can be overwatered, so do not drown your new plant. If the leaves look a little droopy during the heat of the day, do not worry! They should perk back up during the cool of the night.

Do not drown your plant or allow its roots to sit in standing water.

Enjoy your next gardening adventure with a beautiful hydrangea bush!