Tag Archives: planting pots

What You Need to Know About Caring for Hydrangeas

Caring for Hydrangeas Gothic Arch Greenhouse Mobile ALHydrangeas are prized for their big, colorful blooms, and if cared for properly, they will thrive, and their natural beauty will be enhanced.

Even if you don’t have much space, you can still enjoy these flowers. Hydrangeas are suited to be grown as shrubs, in containers and in gardens. Just make sure they get enough morning sun (afternoon sun is too hot) and shade (but not too much). Base the amount of sun they are exposed to be where your garden is located. For example, hydrangeas that are further north need more light than those in the south.

If you understand the unique needs of hydrangeas, you can help nurture beautiful, healthy flowers that come back year after year.  

General Care for Hydrangeas

Though hydrangeas may appear delicate, they don’t require a lot of specialized care. They need plenty of water, one inch per week during their growing season. Deeply watering the plants is recommended three times a week to help encourage root growth. Be sure not to get moisture on leaves or the blooms. Providing this much water will protect plants from wilting on hot days.

Adding mulch to the base of the plant will also help keep the soil cool and moist. Plus, as the mulch breaks down, it will provide nutrients and boost the soil texture, especially if it is organic mulch. Finding the right fertilizer for your hydrangea variety will also boost growth and promote the health of the plant.

Hydrangeas tend to be pretty resistant to pests, but inspect your plants often. Typically, the best defense against aphids and red spider mites (pests that can infect hydrangeas) is giving them the proper care.

Hydrangea Pruning

Pruning hydrangeas properly can result in a more plentiful plant. Routinely trimming back dead leaves, flowers and branches will allow enough room for new growth. If your hydrangeas have enough room to grow, your only concern is to prune to remove dead wood and spent flowers. If a whole branch is dead, be sure to cut it off at the base of the plant.

With regular dead-heading, a hydrangea plant can be encouraged to produce more and bigger blooms. But pruning is important too. There is a growth-inhibiting chemical released by terminal buds at the tips of stems, so without this maintenance, fewer flowers are produced.

Dead-heading will help your plants bloom into the fall. Avoid pruning past August. By then, any new growth may be cut short by an early fall freeze. Allow any early fall blooms to simply fade away on their own, but feel free to cut your blooms and enjoy them! Hydrangeas make beautiful arrangements in bunches on their own or with other plants and flowers.

Changing the Color of Hydrangeas

You can change the color of your hydrangea blooms, but don’t expect it to happen right away. The process can take weeks or months! It’s recommended to wait at least two years before trying to make any change, so the plant has enough time to recover from the shock of its initial planting.

Please note that not all varieties can change color. The color of the flowers is influenced by the acidity of the soil—acidic soils (less than 5.5 pH) produce blue flowers; soils with a pH above 5.5 produce pink flowers. Changing the color from blue to pink is easier than changing pink to blue. Also white hydrangeas are unaffected by the pH level of the soil.

If your goal is getting pink hydrangeas to turn blue, don’t be discouraged. It can be done! One recommendation is to cover the base in pine straw, which adds a natural acidity. Other options to lower the pH and increase acidity include adding coffee grounds, eggshells and other compostable items, such as citrus peels. The addition of sulfur or peat moss to the soil can also result in blue flowers, whereas ground limestone can bring forth pink blooms.

To accurately determine which direction to go in, conduct a soil pH test. As you make changes to the soil, continue to test it. A pH level above 7.5 can cause damage to the plant. When fall starts to close in, all hydrangeas start to fade, but don’t worry! The plant’s bright, colorful blooms will return in the spring.

Need hydrangea help? We offer containers, nutrients and supplements, benches, carts and more. Please let us know if we can support your gardening efforts! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

Growing for Efficiency: Potting Technology

Potting Technology Soil Mixing Gardening Containers PotsPotting your plants is time-consuming, but manageable if you are a hobby gardener.

But as an operation increases, improving efficiency of labor and controlling costs takes on greater importance.

Depending on the size of your operation, a potting machine may be the answer.

This technology enhances productivity and helps achieve greater uniformity (which also impacts efficiency and quality) of your plants.

Manufacturers of these machines suggest them for operations that grow 100,000 planting flats per year. With that volume, the ROI comes in two to three years.

Potting machines work by holding gardening containers in place, filling it with soil and punching a hole for the plant. Workers may simply replenish the pots and refill potting mix to keep the streamlined operation moving.

Though machines can automatically fill a range of pots, it’s best for consistency to do a large run of the same size pot. This uniformity allows each container to be filled with the same amount of potting soil, compressed to the same level and for the plant to be centered. This not only allows for plants to have the same food and water requirements, but also the fact that they are centered ensures there is ample space between them on growing benches so they can equally thrive.

Machines can typically handle a range of container sizes. Some are easily adapted to accommodate these sizes, while others may need the whole set of of pot holders to be replaced to meet your operation’s needs.

Keep in mind that the potting machine should be able to manage your soil mix. For example, it should be light, moist and free of clumps so it can move through the machine with ease.

Various accessories are available to enhance productivity, such as increasing output or to accommodate different container sizes.

Maintenance typically requires no more than lubricating bearings, tightening belts or cleaning. It’s recommended to keep spare parts on hand so when needed your operation doesn’t suffer from much downtime.

Need supplies for your operation? Whether you pot your plants manually or using automation, we can help outfit you with what you need. Give us a call at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.