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With their ball-like blooms and vibrant colors, hydrangeas are stunners, easily recognizable and highly coveted.

But growing them isn’t always simple.

The most important factor in growing healthy hydrangeas in Southern California is climate and placement of the plant. Most hydrangeas thrive in morning sun though the closer to the Southern California coast you are, the more sun a hydrangea plant can handle. But let’s say your home is inland, or even in the temperate City of San Diego; a north-facing or an east-facing spot is best to protect them from too much sunlight.

Tip: Try your hydrangea in a pot – then you can easily move it around to find the best sun exposure placement.

Potted Hydrangea in a greenhouse in Escondido, CA
(June 2020)


We’re big advocates for fertilization at Landscape Assistance and we feel that hydrangeas are one of those shrubs that REQUIRE fertilizer to truly reach their potential. If planting your hydrangea in the correct location is critical, it is equally as important to fertilize them correctly. As with many plants, fertilizer burn can occur when too much is applied resulting in charred looking leaves. This will be the first sign of too much fertilizing. 

Hydrangeas should receive their fast-release fertilizer in March, May, and July but make sure to apply it several inches AWAY from the base of the plant and then water the plant. Try Miracle-Gro® Performance Organic® Blooms Plant Nutrition Granules or A good all purpose 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 composition will provide all the fertilizing hydrangeas need. Include a light bi-annual dose of liquid iron to keep the leaves a healthy green.

Playing with Color

Ever heard how you can turn a hydrangea flower blue? It’s true! Though it won’t work on white hydrangeas, try it on other colors – like pink. When fertilizing your shrubs, add sulfur to the soil and look out for blue blooms. Healthy hydrangeas bloom six months out of the year and we’re currently in the blooming season. Pictured here are some thriving hydrangeas in Oceanside – an ideal San Diego County location for the shrub. 

See more of Landscape Assistance’s horticulture installations: https://landscapeassistance.com/gallery/gallery-horticulture/

Beautiful color variation spotted in Oceanside, CA
(July 2020)

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