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Dividing and Transplanting Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

Need help dividing and transplanting hydrangeas? Read this comprehensive guide to help you get the most out of your beautiful blooms.

How to transplant hydrangeas

Hello and welcome to Hydrangea Love!

If you can’t already tell, we’re obsessed with these beautiful blooms and want to scream their wonders from the rooftops.

Hydrangeas are beloved flowering shrubs known for their stunning clusters of colorful blooms and lush foliage.

However, over time, these plants can become overcrowded, leading to reduced flowering and overall health.

Dividing and transplanting hydrangeas is a beneficial process that promotes better growth, enhances the plant’s vitality, and allows you to propagate new hydrangeas for your garden or share them with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the reasons behind dividing hydrangeas, the ideal time to perform the procedure, and step-by-step instructions to ensure a successful transplant.

Why Divide Hydrangeas?

Dividing hydrangeas serves several purposes.

Firstly, it helps rejuvenate an overcrowded plant by giving it more space to grow, resulting in healthier foliage and increased flower production.

Giving these plants a new home can be a really simple way to promote a healthy plant.

Additionally, the division offers an opportunity to propagate new hydrangeas, allowing you to expand your garden or share these beautiful plants with others.

New divisions are just an easy way to share the Hydrangea Love!

Lastly, division can help control the size of a hydrangea and prevent it from outgrowing its designated space.

Hydrangea bushes can grow quite large, and dividing them can be a good idea if they seem to be taking over.

Related Reading: The Main Types of Hydrangeas – Hydrangea Varieties 101

Dividing and Transplanting Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

When to Divide Hydrangeas

Timing plays a crucial role in dividing and transplanting hydrangeas.

It is best to undertake this process during the plant’s dormant season, which typically falls in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

You want to avoid replanting in the hot summer months for best results.

Dividing hydrangeas during this period minimizes stress on the plant and maximizes its chances of thriving after transplantation.

However, it’s worth noting that some hydrangea varieties, such as the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), can tolerate division during early fall.

All of that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of dividing and transplanting hydrangeas.

Dividing and Transplanting Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

Step-by-Step Guide to Dividing and Transplanting Hydrangeas:

1. Prepare the Tools and Materials

Gather the necessary tools, including a sharp garden spade or shovel, pruning shears, a tarp or a large piece of burlap, a watering can or hose, and a suitable transplanting location.

If your hydrangeas are smaller, a nice trowel will be helpful, too.

2. Water the Hydrangea

A day before dividing, water the hydrangea thoroughly to ensure the plant is well-hydrated.

Moist soil also makes it easier to lift the plant and reduces the stress on its root system.

3. Choose the Dividing Method

Hydrangeas can be divided using two primary methods: by division or by layering.

The division method involves digging up the entire plant, dividing it into smaller sections, and replanting each section.

Layering, on the other hand, entails bending a low branch to the ground, partially burying it, and allowing it to develop roots before severing it from the parent plant.

4. Digging up the Hydrangea

Using the garden spade or shovel, carefully dig around the plant, creating a wide circle that encompasses the entire root ball.

Take caution not to damage the roots during this process. Once the plant is loosened, lift it out of the ground, placing it on the tarp or burlap.

5. Dividing the Root Ball

Examine the root ball and identify natural divisions or areas where the plant can be separated. Gently tease the roots apart or use the pruning shears to divide the root ball into smaller sections.

Each division should have a healthy portion of roots and an adequate number of stems or shoots.

6. Transplanting the Divisions

Choose a suitable location for each divided section, ensuring it receives the appropriate amount of sunlight for the specific hydrangea variety.

Dig a hole that is wider and slightly deeper than the root ball of each division.

Place the division in the hole, making sure it is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole, gently firming the soil around the roots. Optionally, add some compost or fertilizer to the soil before backfilling.

7. Water and Mulch

After transplanting, water the newly divided hydrangeas thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets around the roots.

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of each plant, which helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.

If you don’t add something (compost, straw, bark dust, or other mulch) to the base of the plant after transplanting, you’re simply not giving new plants the best chance.

Transplant shock can occur if the ground level is not properly insulated.

Related Reading: 15 Best Books On Composting For The Complete Beginner

8. Post-Transplant Care

Monitor the newly transplanted hydrangeas closely, providing adequate water as needed.

Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

Additionally, protect the plants from harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or frost, by providing temporary shade or covering them when necessary.

The best way to ensure success here is simply to monitor your new hydrangea plants for droopiness and pest infestations and adjust watering or shade temporarily if needed.

There you have it!

How does it feel to be an expert on dividing and transplanting hydrangeas?


Dividing and transplanting hydrangeas can revitalize overcrowded plants, promote better growth, and offer the opportunity to propagate new specimens.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and performing the procedure during the plant’s dormant season, you can successfully divide and transplant your hydrangeas.

Remember to provide proper post-transplant care, and soon you will witness your hydrangeas thriving in their new locations, rewarding you with a bountiful display of magnificent blooms for years to come.

Happy gardening!

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