Hydrangea in need of TLC

I've agreed to take a rather sad looking Hydrangea from my mum's garden to see if I can revive it.  I'll keep it in my garden if I can so it doesn't need to return.  However, my Mum has confessed to putting ericaceous compost in the container.  I already have 2 healthy hydrangeas growing happily in my garden so I can only assume our soil is fine for hydrangeas. 

The plant does have new growth on it but not very much compared to mine.  It's standing about 18-24" high.  But what do I do?  I guess I need to give the roots a gentle shake before planting to get rid of the ericaceous compost and add bone meal when I replant it.  But, will I prune it right down and hope that it will like it's new home and grow happily or will I leave it well alone? All and any advice gratefully received.

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  • I'd definitely add bonemeal and compost to the planting hole and then keep it well watered (well once the rain stops that is) all year.  I'd cut down to a couple of buds on each stem and then feed as the year goes on.  In my experience the only hydrangea to not do well is the one planted in full sun which does well at the start of the year but then fails to bloom as the ground gets drier (I don't water my garden much).

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,640

    If you want to achieve a good blue from a mop-head hydrangea and your garden soil is alkaline then it should be grown in a container in ericaceous compost, and then watered occasionally with hydrangea colourant (ammonium sulphate).  This is what I've done for years and have had beautiful deep blue blooms - they were wonderful additions to the church flowers for my daughter's wedding in 2012. 

    image

     This one was just fading to mauve in autumn, but you can see the depth of the blue. 

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,640

    Sorry, I meant to add that I follow the RHS pruning advice here

     http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=516

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,143

    Thanks for the link Dove.  I was going to ask when I should chop the old flowers off my hydrangeas but that link tells me image

  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,255

    Sorry to intrude on your thread, but does anybody know about hydranga vanilla fraise?  Mine looks pretty dead at the moment (i bought it last year) is it too early for new shoots on this type? My other hydrangas have all got new shoots on them.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,640
    Verdun wrote (see)

    Whether a hydrangea produces a good blue.....or red or pink for that matter.....depends too on the variety. ....

    Absolutely Verdun, I rather muddled that bit of it image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • CharleyDCharleyD Posts: 440

    Ok, thanks for all your replies.  I've got no problem with the colours, mine are a lovely deep blue and pink respectively so ok there (but by accident rather than design ha ha).

    Edd, thanks for the reminder about possible frost, which I hadn't taken into account.  I think I had assumed that this windy and rainy weather would stay forever!!!  I will indeed wash off the old compost.  Thanks.

    Gardenning Granny - thanks, I think actually if I prune it down as you suggest, it will be roughly a third so that sounds like a good plan and yes, I agree with you about the sun.  I think that has been the problem with my mum's location - well apart from putting the wrong compost around it!!!

  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,255

    Dove, Verdun do you know anything about my hydranga?  image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,640

    Charley, the ericaceous compost is right for blue hydrangeas. image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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