Easter Hydrangeas – Indoor or Outdoor?

(Question)

Hello,
I am wondering if the typical hydrangea you get at the local flower shop for Easter is specifically designed to last for a short period of time indoors – or if it would be worthwhile to plant it outside in hopes it will last for more of the season.

If so – is it okay to leave it indoors for a few weeks until it gets warmer and then plant it outside or will that just cause it to die?
Thanks!

(Answer)

As you can probably guess, these flowering shrubs, like potted daffodils and tulips have been forced into bloom in time for Easter, and later on for Mother’s Day. The most typical hydrangea for these events, with the big pink or blue flowers, are Bigleaf Hydrangea ( Hydrangea macrophylla). In the spring during nursery season, these are available for planting in your garden, or sprucing up your urns and planters.

These hydrangeas will bloom from June to September, and should be planted in a more sheltered location than the larger shrub hydrangeas. They will likely bloom pink, as our soils are limestone based in Southern Ontario and therefore have a higher pH. To encourage blue flowers, they must be fertilized with acidic fertilizer, which lowers the pH.

Can these flowers be planted in the garden? Yes, I have had some success with this. When the flowers are spent, cut them off, so nutrients go back to the roots of the plant. Water sparingly while indoors. When the weather warms up, put the pot out during the day to acclimate the plant. Take it in at night. When there is no risk of frost, put it outside. When you are ready to plant, find a sheltered location and pop it in the soil with some compost and water well. Hydrangeas are greedy for water, so don’ t let it dry out. It won’t bloom again this year, but you’re putting it on the right track for next year.

I always feel it’s worth a shot – good luck!