How to Fertilize Hydrangeas?

I’ve long-wondered how to fertilize hydrangeas, & this has something I’ve pondered for some time.  Because they’re such a fickle flower, I’ve been afraid to fertilize them at all ~ even with my trusty Vitamin B solution (that I’ve given to hundreds of plants with great success).  But I was afraid to mess with my hydrangeas, for fear of ruining them.  Then, just the other day, I was listening to a gardening podcast by Joe Lamp’l, on his “Joe Gardener Show.”  He was interviewing Lorraine Ballato, a renowned hydrangea expert, & he asked her this very question: “How do you fertilize hydrangeas?” 

Her very short & to-the-point answer can be found below….

How to Fertilize Hydrangeas? Girl Who Gardens

Shopping for hydrangeas at my local nursery…

Best Fertilizer for Hydrangeas

This may be the shortest article I ever write….hallelujah!!  I love when you get an answer to something that is so straight-forward & simple, there’s not much need for discussion.  Hydrangea expert Lorraine Ballato tells us that, the best way to fertilize hydrangeas is either with: 1) Rose Fertilizer, such as Miracle Gro’s Rose Plant Food, or 2) Organic Holly-Tone, a 4-3-4 Plant Food that’s meant for acidic evergreens, azaleas, & rhododendrons ~ but its ratio also works for hydrangeas. 

How to Fertilize Hydrangeas? Good Companion Plants for Hydrangeas, Girl Who Travels the World

The hydrangeas in this cottage garden have most definitely been fertilized to achieve such height, lushness, & numerous blooms.

Why This Type of Fertilizer?

Traditional fertilizers tend to come in a 10-10-10 formulation.  This means that it’s equal parts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, & Potassium (10%, 10%, & 10%).  The reason this may not work well for hydrangeas is because, too much nitrogen will give you big green leaves ~ but very few blooms.  Nitrogen, for instance, is one of the main ingredients in grass fertilizers, helping to keep it super-green.  The rose fertilizer & Holly-Tone have different ratios, with more Phosphorus, & even Calcium & Magnesium added, which results in a better balance for these acid-loving plants, & importantly: more blooms on your hydrangea.

Miracle-Gro for Roses

Panicle Hydrangeas

Holly-Tone for Hydrangeas

How to Fertilize Hydrangeas

I will be adding “Before & After” photos of my own hydrangeas as I experiment with this new information!  Feel free to send me some of your own…or tell me about your experience fertilizing hydrangeas in the comments below…

xoxo Noelia

Read Next: Good Companion Plants for Hydrangeas

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