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Can Hydrangeas Grow in Shade? (Growing Tips)

Hydrangea is known to be a pure beauty with various colorful flower shades that blossom during summer and fall. 

To keep the hydrangea shrub happy and healthy, a deep soaking every few days, mulching to keep the soil moist, and fertilizing in the spring are what the plant asks for.

However, these beauties won’t grow themselves even though you have treated them like a queen. Just one summer of beautiful blossom is all the hydrangea needs.

Fun Fact: Hydrangea symbolizes appreciation, grace, and pure beauty and the flower colors symbolize love, harmony, and peacefulness. 

Can Hydrangeas Grow in Shade?

For hydrangea shrubs to bloom, they need partial shade. Plus, they will most likely fail if they are exposed to too many shady locations.

Let’s switch up the question a little and ask how many hours of sunlight is needed for hydrangea. The answer will be at least 6 hours of sunlight. No worries, the plant will grow in 3 hours of sun exposure as well. 

If the hydrangea gets a little bit of morning sunshine (but not direct) or afternoon sunlight, yes this will be what the hydrangea is yearning for in the light aspect.

Let’s explain a little bit what the heck is this light shade, partial shade, and full shade.

Light shade is when the area gets 5 hours of sun exposure. Partial shade is when the planted area gets less than 5 hours of sun exposure. Deep shade is the area where no sun rays enter the ground.

Hydrangeas Types that Grow in Shade?

I get it, even though your location isn’t ideal for planting and growing hydrangea, I can’t blame you, the beauty of flowers and colors attract the most. Thankfully, we can grow hydrangea in pots, containers, and in-ground.

Hydrangeas require well-drainage, moisturized soil, and partial shade. So growing in the full shade would be hard, even though you have managed to grow it, you cannot expect bountiful flowering. 

For shaded areas like north-facing walls, grow the climbing type of hydrangea known as Hydrangea anomala or Oakleaf hydrangea. For vice versa, when your area gets too much light try Annabelle hydrangea. 

Important Note: Deep shade is trouble for most hydrangeas and the chances of failure are high. For that reason, I would recommend getting artificial lighting and planting in pots. This way, you can move back and forth and avoid the shady topic. 

A Little Bit About Shady Hydrangeas Types

Oakleaf Hydrangeas

As I mentioned before, oakleaf types of hydrangeas are ideal to grow in shady areas. They got the name for being extraordinarily shaped leaves. You will get a decent blooming during summer and pretty fall leaves.

They are known to be more tolerant to shade but remember they grow best in full sun. If the opportunity presents itself expose to sunlight

Climbing Hydrangea

As you can from the name, climbing hydrangea can climb walls, fences, and doors by giving the place attractive-looking characteristics. They have fragrance plus tolerate every situation.

You can grow climbing hydrangea in full sun, partial sun, and occasionally in deep shade.

Rose Sensation False Hydrangea Vine

Rose Sensation False Hydrangea Vine can turn your garden into a beautiful place by climbing on different locations. This flower has more potential to withstand shade because it’s growing on large trees and does not always catch the partial sun.

Signs that Hydrangea doesn’t get Enough Shade 

  • If the stems swing or move loosely.
  • Slow growth or no growth at all.
  • Not blooming flowers, leaves are more present than flowers.
  • If the soil is always wet and doesn’t dry out completely even though you have a watering schedule.

How to Fix Hydrangea that doesn’t Get Enough Sunlight Exposure

Transplanting is moving the hydrangea plant from one place to the place where it gets partial sun at least. You can even plant them in pots and take them indoors.

The ideal time for a hydrangea transplant is after the leaves have fallen off completely. It is preferable to prune the root a couple of days before the transplant. This way you will create less stress on flowers. 

How to Transplant Hydrangea

Use a shovel to dig as much of the rootball as you can. The roots are in the shape of a ball. However, the roots are pretty heavy and you may need a hand. The roots are 6 inches deep.   

Down below, you can find the visual representation of how to transplant any type of hydrangea.

Can You Change the Color of Hydrangea

Yes, you absolutely can and you will be surprised with what. Coffee grounds impact the color of the hydrangea by excessing the acidity in the soil. 

If the plant is exposed to more acidity, then it makes way easier for the hydrangea to absorb natural aluminum in the dirt. 

The pH level should be above 6.0-7.0 levels, the hydrangea flower will turn to some kind of blue-pink color. Vice versa, if you want to decrease the pH level, then add sulfur or aluminum sulfate ingredients to the soil.

Rumor has it that Epsom salt can make a slight change in the soil. That’s not entirely true because the neutral reaction doesn’t have an impact on the pH level of the soil.

When is the Best Time to Trim Hydrangeas Back?

Trimming is a must and if you postpone it can create a huge mess and the flower size will get smaller.

The best time to trim hydrangeas after the stop of flower production. The final postponing can be 1st August. No pruning in fall or winter because the chances of cutting newborns are high.  

A Brief Recap

Hydrangeas, the symbol of beauty, grace, and harmony better grows in partial shade. However, their many types can withstand shade, but nothing is promising. 

The fact that I love the most about hydrangea is the color change, it’s such a unique thing to appreciate. By using the coffee grounds around the soil, you can play around with the color. The rumors that Epsom salt will change the color aren’t true. 

In case you spot slow growth or stems swing or move loosely or leaves are more present than flowering, probably the plant suffers from the lack of sunlight. Try to transplant after all the leaves have fallen off.

Plus, do not postpone trimming, you may end up with tiny little flowers and full leaves and they really create a huge mess, to be honest.

Further Reading

I have other beautiful flowers to offer. Check out how to fix the brown leaves in English ivy or what causes Japanese maple leaves to turn brown.

If the undesired grasses are getting into your nerves, check out how to get rid of crabgrass and how to easily kill blackberry bushes.

Meet me in the next article.




Aurora Hansen

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