Hydrangeas are some of the most commonly used plants in gardening all around the world, and it comes as no surprise why!
From Japan to the Americas, this shrub plant is used in gardening and landscaping due to the beautiful flowers it grows.
Whether you prefer pink, blue, purple, white – hydrangeas’ flowers bloom in all kinds of colors and blossom in either full sun or partial shade, making it one of the easiest to grow plants for gardeners everywhere.
But despite this, you may find that you are still struggling to get your hydrangeas to grow. Perhaps you are finding it difficult to maintain and keep those beau for longer.
The last thing you want is to put so much money and time into growing your own hydrangea shrugs only for them to look limp and sad.
It kinda brings down the atmosphere of the whole garden, don’t you agree?
So to get your hydrangea shrubs looking perky and healthy, you are going to want to give them the right fertilizer. Using just any kind of fertilizer won’t do – your hydrangea shrubs deserve the best out there!
But with the market so flooded with different kinds and brands of fertilizers, which one is best suited for your hydrangeas?
Well, all of your prayers have been answered! Here are 6 of the best hydrangea fertilizers accompanied with how to use guides so you can keep your hydrangeas in full bloom for longer.[wptb id="508172" not found ]
Fertilizers And Why You Should Use Them
When it comes to maintaining and caring for your plants, it is not as simple as watering them everyday and making sure they have enough sunlight.
To get the most out of your plants, you need to feed them a lot of different nutrients to encourage them to grow fully.
A lot of first-time gardeners may make this mistake, and end up unhappy with the appearance of their plants but there is a very easy solution to this problem: fertilizer.
Fertilizers work by providing your plants with the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop flowers.
They may also improve the way your soil works by helping it retain water and allow air to flow more freely, but most gardeners use fertilizer to supply their plants with the nutrients that they usually would not receive naturally.
Such ingredients in fertilizer that help this are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, and all three can be beneficial to your hydrangeas.
Nitrogen works by increasing your hydrangeas’ capacity to produce new flowers and stems.
It also encourages your shrubs to grow more quickly and improves its overall appearance, making them look more full and larger.
Avoid adding too much nitrogen because this can cause plants to grow spindly and frail, reducing their ability to flower.
Phosphorus can help your hydrangea produce organic oils and starches which allows it to form strong root systems and aids with the process of photosynthesis.
Add this with Potassium, which helps fight off diseases that may damage your shrubs, and your hydrangeas will grow healthily and flower in abundance.
Many fertilizers also provide additional ingredients like zinc or calcium, but it is the three main ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that many gardeners go by when looking for the best fertilizer for their plants.
On the packing of every fertilizer, you will see a ratio of numbers which tells you how much of each main ingredient there.
For example, a balanced fertilizer will have 10-10-10 on its packaging as it contains the same amount of all three ingredients.
The best fertilizer ratio for your hydrangeas are balanced fertilizers or a fertilizer that is high in Phosphorus (this will appear on the packaging as 5-10-5).
These are ratios you should look for on any fertilizer you are considering to use on hydrangea shrubs.
Any fertilizer ratio with a higher first number should be avoided, as this means that this fertilizer is high in nitrogen. While a lot of nitrogen may be beneficial to some plants, it’s not to hydrangeas.
So, when you are looking for the best fertilizer for your hydrangeas, stick to a balanced fertilizer or a highly Phosphorus fertilizer.
Chemical Versus Organic
Fertilizers can commonly be split into two categories: chemical, and organic.
Both are easy to find and can be used as a food source for your hydrangeas, but each has its own drawbacks and benefits.
Organic fertilizers are usually made up of organic products such as manure and bone meal.
While they are excellent sources of food, the disadvantages of organic fertilizers is that you often need to blend and customize them to include the exact ingredients and nutrients your plant needs.
This means that using organic fertilizers can sometimes mean a lot of guesswork and surprising results, so they are not very consistent.
On the other hand, chemical fertilizers are man made and contain exactly what the manufacturer wanted to include. This means that their ratio is exact and you know precisely what you are adding to your shrubs.
They can also be designed to be fast-release or slow-release, so you know the exact time frame your fertilizer will release the nutrients.
The reason some gardeners may drawback from using chemical fertilizer is simply because it is not organic, and there is often a stigma about using man-made chemicals on your plants.
However, chemical fertilizers undergo a lot of research and tests before they are sold publicly.
This means that a lot of scientists have tried this formula of fertilizer on a lot of plants and have decided this is what gives the best results – so you know that chemical fertilizers will not damage or harm your plants purely because they are man-made and not natural.
Plus, most organic fertilizers come with a strong smell that attracts wildlife, meaning that you may end up with a few pests running around your backyard.
So which should you use when it comes to your hydrangeas?
We would recommend you use a slow-releasing chemical fertilizer. This is so you know exactly what nutrient ratio your shrubs are getting and have a clearer idea of what the results should be.
Using chemical fertilizers means less guesswork and less stress when it comes to figuring out how much fertilizer to add to your hydrangeas.
Also, using a slow release fertilizer is a great choice because it means that your hydrangeas will get those nutrients for longer.
Liquid Versus Granular
Most fertilizers and plant foods are available in two forms: granular, or liquid. Both do the same job, but just have to be applied to your plants in different ways.
Granular fertilizers, or powder fertilizers, are the most popular form because they are so easy to use. Usually, all you need to do is sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of the plant and rake it into the soil.
When you water your plants, the granules dissolve and release their nutrients. This requires next to no equipment and can be done in seconds.
Liquid fertilizers are a little more tricky. They need to be dissolved into water before you apply it to your plants as this allows you to have control over the nutrients concentration per application.
Once you dilute your liquid fertilizer, you just need to water it around the base of your plant. This form of fertilizer requires you to have a measuring jug or watering can available so you can accurately measure out your water and fertilizer.
Despite this, both are really simple to use although some may say liquid fertilizer is a bit more complicated as you will need to use a watering can, but they are both generally easy ways to feed your plants.
Both kinds are beneficial to hydrangeas, so we recommend both liquid and granular fertilizers for your shrubs – it all depends on which one you personally prefer.
So – what should you look for in a fertilizer for hydrangeas?
We’d recommend a balanced nutrient ratio from a chemical make (although organic is fine too, it’s a little more inconsistent with the results) and from either liquid or granular form.
Here are some of the best fertilizers out there that meet most of our standards. Although no one is perfect, we would really recommend you try these out to get your hydrangeas looking healthy and happy.
This plant food from Miracle-Gro is a fast-acting granular feed that works amazingly well for acid-loving plants like hydrangeas.
It helps keep your blue hydrangeas vibrant in color, and boots its growth with its nutrient ratio of 30-30-10. This fertilizer is great for feeding your plant and acidifying it.
Although this fertilizer has a high nitrogen and phosphorus concentration, it is not very high in potassium. However, nitrogen and phosphorus are the main two ingredients to look for in a fertilizer as they are the ones that promote growth.
The lack of potassium can be made up with other products to help protect your hydrangeas from diseases. It also contains bonus nutrients like iron to promote a healthy plant.
To use this fertilizer, all you have to do is apply it once weekly or every two weeks, depending on how quickly you want to see your hydrangeas improve.
There are also multiple ways you can apply Miracle-Gro’s fertilizer – either by the sprinkle and rake method that we mentioned above, or you can mix 1 tablespoon of the fertilizer in a gallon of water then water your hydrangeas using this formula.
For indoor plants, you should reduce the mix to about half a teaspoon per one gallon of water.
What makes this fertilizer so great is that you get fast and clear results, plus the ability to use it in its granular form or dilute it to become a liquid.
Miracle-Gro’s fertilizer also helps improve the bloom on your hydrangeas, bringing out their blue color and making them more vibrant.
Therefore, this fertilizer is a great choice to go with if you want fuller looking hydrangeas in no time at all.
- Quick acting fertilizer means that you will see clear results in no time at all.
- It is specialized to help acid-loving plants, like hydrangeas, to bring out their color.
- You have the ability to use it in its granular form or add it to water to turn it into a liquid fertilizer, so you have the best of both worlds.
- The lower potassium level means that you will have to look elsewhere for another product to help protect your hydrangeas from diseases, costing you even more money.
Epsoma’s Holly Tone fertilizer is a great choice to use on hydrangeas as it is specifically designed for this kind of plant.
The Holly Tone fertilizer is made to work effectively on acid-loving plants like camellias and azaleas, and of course – hydrangeas.
This fertilizer helps promote your hydrangeas’ healthy growth and is fast reacting so you can see a visible difference in your plants in a very short period of time.
Despite this, it lasts a long time as you only have to apply it once a month – meaning that one bag goes a long way.
This makes up for the Holly Tone fertilizer’s hefty price tag as one bag is more likely to last than some other fertilizers.
It is also very easy to apply to your shrubs. If you have rather young hydrangeas, then you should apply two cups of this granular fertilizer with one cubic foot of soil.
This will help your shrubs grow faster and stronger. Older and more established hydrangeas only need about 1 teaspoon sprinkled into 3 inches of soil, as this will be enough to perk and liven them up.
Another bonus of this fertilizer is that despite it being an organic fertilizer, it has a nutrient ratio of 4-3-4.
Unlike most other organic fertilizers, the Holly Toner has a nutrient ratio which means you can keep better track of what is going into your hydrangeas.
It is also a very balanced fertilizer, only lacking a little on the phosphorus. However, this difference is very small.
All in all, Espoma’s Holly Tone fertilizer is a great choice for an organic fertilizer when it comes to boosting your hydrangeas.
You are sure to see quick results and it allows you to feed your shrubs without most of the fuss and effort.
- Espoma’s Holly Tone fertilizer is an organic fertilizer that comes with a nutrient ratio, meaning that you have a clearer idea of what to expect and can keep better track of what you are giving your hydrangeas.
- It is a very balanced fertilizer, meaning that you can promote your shrub’s growth along with protecting it from disease thanks to the potassium included as an ingredient.
- It is very easy to use and only has to be applied to your hydrangeas once a month, meaning that you spend less time maintaining your shrubs while still reaping the same effect.
- It is quite expensive for a fertilizer, but this is balanced out by its recommended once a month usage. However, if you are on impressed with this fertilizer after a few uses, then you will have wasted a lot of money on a product you don’t like.
Another organic fertilizer, Dr Earth’s Organic Acid Fertilizer is perfect for those who feel cautious about using chemical fertilizers on their beloved hydrangeas.
Dr Earth have been making organic fertilizers for over 30 years now and they have put a lot of time and research into making an effective fertilizer for acid-loving plants.
This premium fertilizer is designed specifically to feed plants and boost the acidity of soil, meaning that your hydrangeas turn from a washed out suggestion of a shade of blue, to a bright and vibrant color that you cannot miss.
This is thanks to its balanced nutrition ratio of 3-4-3, so you know exactly what you are adding to your plants. It contains just enough nitrogen to encourage your hydrangeas’ growth without burning them or making their stems weak.
Dr Earth’s organic fertilizer is available in a generous sized bag, and is made using natural ingredients and sources.
It is also pet safe so it is perfect to use in your backyard without worrying about your pets sticking their noses in.
For application, you can start to apply this fertilizer at any time midseason and continue to feed your hydrangeas every 6 weeks.
For new shrubs, you should mix 1-⅓ cups per 10 square feet during soil preparation, or sprinkle one cup every ten feet around your already established hydrangea shrub.
This will help your shrub bloom and grow way bigger and healthier than before.
The only downside to Dr Earth’s organic fertilizer is that it unfortunately comes with a rather strong smell.
Once this fertilizer is in the ground and around your shrubs, don’t be surprised if you see small creatures and wildlife often digging around your shrubs.
Squirrels, skunks – you name it, the smell attracts them. There are ways to deter this but it is unfortunate that such a good fertilizer comes with such an annoying disadvantage.
- This fertilizer is made by Dr Earth, a company that has been making fertilizers for decades and is a recommended brand by many gardeners across the States.
- It features a balanced nutrient ratio so you know that you are not weakening your hydrangeas with too much nitrogen.
- It is pet safe, meaning that you can confidently use this fertilizer in your backyard without having to worry about your furry friend’s health.
- This fertilizer features a very strong smell that many users have complained that attracts wildlife and pests.
For a fertilizer that is specifically designed for hydrangea shrubs, you should try JR Peters’ ‘Jack’s Classic’ fertilizer.
It features a nutrition ratio of 7-3-3 which, despite being not very balanced, is what they claim to be the optimal ratio for hydrangeas.
However, some gardeners who have used this fertilizer have mentioned slightly burning and this could be due to the higher level of nitrogen in this fertilizer.
On the other hand, this fertilizer is praised for making hydrangeas grow with strong and healthy leaves, vibrant blue flowers and abundant blossoms.
For a beautiful looking hydrangea shrub, this is the fertilizer to use.
Although it won’t really help with turning your pink hydrangeas blue, it will definitely increase the brightness of blue hydrangeas already growing on your shrub.
As for usage, this fertilizer is supplied as a granular fertilizer but works best when diluted with water and applied as a liquid.
For newly growing shrubs, you should dilute one tablespoon per gallon of water and apply this to your hydrangea shrub every 10 to 14 days for the first month.
This will help keep your shrubs in good condition while they grow but make sure you do not pour the mixture directly onto the leaves – this will burn your plant.
After the first month of growth, only feed your hydrangea every month.
This fertilizer helps acidify alkaline soil to maintain a strong blue color in your hydrangea’s flowers, and will also give your plant lush leaves that grow strong.
This fertilizer is a great choice for gardeners made by gardeners as the owners behind this fertilizer, the Peters family, have been dedicated to horticulture for decades.
This makes the J R Peters ‘Jack’s Classic’ fertilizer a good choice for you to use to help improve your hydrangea’s growth and appearance.
- This fertilizer is the product of many years of experience and research so you know that it is effective and works to improve your hydrangeas.
- It is praised for helping hydrangea shrubs grow with vibrant flowers and lush green leaves.
- Turns alkaline soil into acidic soil which is the optimal kind for hydrangeas to grow in.
- The nutrition ratio of this fertilizer is unbalanced and contains more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium, meaning that there is a chance you could end up burning your hydrangeas.
Osmocote’s Smart-Release plant food was made to work for both flowers and vegetables.
Even though it was not designed for hydrangeas or acidic plants specifically, it still works great when it comes to making your shrubs happy and healthy.
This plant food features a completely balanced nutrition ratio of 14-14-14, meaning that your hydrangeas will get everything they need to promote strong stems and beautiful blooms.
This fertilizer also has the added benefit of being a slow release fertilizer, meaning that it can feed your hydrangea shrubs for up to four months!
This slow release feature is a must have for gardeners who like less effort and minimal fuss when it comes to maintaining your plants.
When it comes to application, it is very easy to add this fertilizer to your hydrangea shrubs. The bag comes with a useful scoop for you to measure out one scoop of plant food per 4 square feet of soil.
However, if you do lose the scoop, then it is equal to three tablespoons. Simply mix the fertilizer into the top 3 inches of soil and water.
You can also add this to water and dilute it with 2 gallons to make a liquid fertilizer instead.
Unfortunately, this great plant food comes at a rather hefty price but its bonus qualities and balanced nutrition ratio makes it worth it in a lot of gardner’s eyes.
- Features a perfectly balanced nutrition ratio, meaning that you are not overfeeding your hydrangeas with too much nitrogen or underfeeding it on other important ingredients like phosphorus and potassium.
- It is a slow releasing plant food, meaning that it can feed your hydrangeas for up to four months.
- This plant food can be used as either a granular fertilizer or transformed into a liquid fertilizer, making it easy to use and you have full control over which method you prefer.
- It has an expensive price tag that may make it not an option for a lot of gardeners, especially when there are other options available for a more affordable price.
Finally, we have Burpee’s Organic Bone-Meal Fertilizer. Although we find chemical and man-made fertilizers more consistent, Burpee’s fertilizer is a great alternative for those wishing to use an organic fertilizer.
Originally designed for all kinds of use, Burpee have become a popular choice for vegetable growers as it is proven to help keep rabbits away from growing produce.
Despite this, a lot of gardeners who have used this fertilizer on their hydrangeas have reported that it helped their shrubs flower even after years of not a single bloom.
This means that for those who have had flowerless hydrangeas for a long time, this fertilizer is a good choice to try and bring your shrub back to life.
As it is an organic bone meal fertilizer, there is no clear nutrient ratio on the packaging so it is unclear exactly how much of each nutrient is packed into this fertilizer.
For that reason, you should be cautious when using it and keep a sharp eye on your hydrangeas for any signs of burning or fragility in the stems.
It is a granular form fertilizer, so all you need to do is spread ½ – 1 cup underneath your shrub and water. Rake into the soil for a better effect, and watch as this fertilizer releases its nutrients throughout the season.
Not only does this fertilizer help promote vibrant flowers and healthy hydrangea growth, it also contains calcium to help the roots of your shrub grow strong and healthy.
Despite being an organic fertilizer, Burpee’s Bone Meal fertilizer packs in a lot of benefits that will boost your hydrangeas – just be careful to keep an eye on your plants to avoid over usage.
- One of the more effective organic fertilizers that help hydrangeas that haven’t flowered in years bloom once again.
- Contains calcium to help the roots of your hydrangea grow strong.
- Deters pests like rabbits from roaming around your property and snacking on your plants.
- No clear nutrient ratio, so improper use can lead to high nitrogen levels in your hydrangeas soil and potentially lead to weaker shrubs and signs of plant burning.
And there you have it!
Those are our best 6 fertilizers for hydrangea shrubs and how to use them. It’s pretty easy to see why fertilizers can be confusing at first glance – they are available with so many variances when it comes to nutrient ratios and forms.
When it comes to feeding your hydrangeas, remember to try and stick with a balanced nutrient ratio.
This means that your shrubs will be getting a nice balanced amount of nutrients instead of overfeeding on one type, so they will be blooming and brimming with life in no time.
We would also recommend you use chemical fertilizers for ease of use but if you feel more comfortable using organic fertilizers, then you can expect some good results but they can be a little inconsistent.
As for granular or liquid fertilizers – the choice is completely up to you. Both are easy to use, and it really comes down to if you have a watering can or a trowel more easily available.
But whichever fertilizer you chose from our picks above, then you are sure to see your hydrangeas improve and bloom over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can My Hydrangeas Change Color?
Yes! Pink or blue hydrangeas can change color and richness depending on the pH level of the soil.
However, you cannot turn white hydrangeas into any color – they will remain white no matter the pH level of your soil.
To change the color of your hydrangeas, there are amendments available that either increase or decrease the soil’s acidity. This influences the color of your hydrangeas’ flowers in turn.
To make your hydrangeas pink, your soil will need to have a pH level of 6.5 or higher. To make your hydrangeas blue, your soil will need to have a pH level between 4.5 or 5.5.
Remember to follow the instructions on your amendment’s packaging so you can achieve the desired effect.
Can I Use Fertilizer Spikes On My Hydrangea Bushes?
Fertilizer spikes are an easy to use way to fertilize your plants. All you have to do is stick the spike into the ground, and the nutrients will slowly release over the growing season.
However, we cannot find any fertilizer spikes that contain the best nutrient ratio for hydrangeas, so we have not included any in our list of best fertilizer for hydrangeas.
Therefore, we do not recommend their usage when it comes to fertilizing hydrangea shrubs.