I have a 3-foot hydrangea bush and would like to transplant it. What is the best time of year to do this, spring or fall? It is also one that blooms on the old wood and does not come back from the ground up. Should I cut it back or not? Does it matter if I plant it in the sun or shade?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi Louise: Macrophylla (bigleaf) and Quercifolia (oakleaf) hydrangeas bloom on old wood, or last season’s growth. They do not require annual pruning except to shape and remove dead wood. The best time to transplant these shrubs is while they are dormant, during the late fall or early spring. If you need to prune to make it more manageable to transplant you will should do so now, but even now you may be removing next season’s flowers. Before you dig up your hydrangea it is a good idea to prepare the new home. You may need to adjust the size of the hole depending on the size of the root ball, but prepping beforehand will reduce transplant stress. The new home should be twice as wide and just as deep as where it is growing now. After it is moved, you will want to treat it like any new addition to the garden. These shrubs can grow in either the sun or the shade, morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.