Hydrangea, known for its prolific pink, white, purple, or blue flowers, is a popular shrub in the modern landscape. Hydrangea can be propagated through several ways, and this article will look at how to propagate your hydrangea bushes.
First, check your bush to make sure it is not a patented variety of hydrangea. Many new cultivars, including the popular ‘Endless Summer,’ are protected with a plant patent and cannot be propagated. Make sure that the plant is unpatented or in the public domain. Many old cultivars of hydrangea are fair game. Once you know that the hydrangea is fair game, you can consider the following means of propagation.
Division: If the bush has put forth a lot of shoots from the ground, it can be divided. Dig up the bush while it is dormant, preferably in early spring. Split the bush with a shovel, making sure each division has sufficient roots and stems. A good division will have several stems and a good root system. Replant and water regularly until established.
From shoots: Sometimes, a hydrangea will send up a shoot from the root, about a foot out from the bush. These shoots can be dug up and nurtured. In a couple years, if given good care, they should be the size of a normal bush.
Stem cuttings: Hydrangea sometimes roots from stem cuttings. Cuttings can be taken in the early spring from last year’s wood and rooted, or taken in early summer from current wood. Cut the stem right below a leaf, strip low foliage, and insert in potting soil. Keep in shade and moist until the cuttings start growing new wood. At that point, you can plant them in the ground or in a pot to nurture them until they are ready to plant.
Layering: Hydrangea can be propagated by layering. Take a lower branch and bend it to the soil. Put some soil over about six inches of the branch and place a brick or a rock over that. Keep the soil moist and allow it to remain in place throughout the season. The plant should root where the branch is in contact with the soil. Leave overwinter and plant the layered division in early spring, to allow for optimal chance for the plant to survive the winter.
These are four proven methods for propagating Hydrangea bushes. In each case, with a little care and nurturing, you will end up with beautiful Hydrangea bushes for no additional cost.