If you’re wondering when to plant hydrangeas in Alabama, you should know that it’s best done during the fall season, specifically from September to November. You want to give these vibrant shrubs enough time to grow a new root system.
While you can still plant hydrangeas during the seasons of spring or summer, there are more factors you need to take into account which we’ll go into detail in the succeeding paragraphs along with tips on growing different hydrangea cultivars.
Table of Contents
- Best Time for Planting Hydrangeas in Alabama
- Hydrangeas Planting Guide for Alabama
Best Time for Planting Hydrangeas in Alabama
Just like with every plant, there is an ideal time of year to plant hydrangeas which can differ based on the hardiness zone.
- Generally, the five most common hydrangea varieties in the US thrive in zone 6 and zone 7 which are known for their relatively temperate climates.
- If we take into account all 23 hydrangea varieties, their hardiness suitability ranges from zones 3 to 9.
- Thankfully, Alabama is situated throughout zones 7a until 9a. For the specific varieties best for Alabaman conditions, they will be discussed in a later section.
According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the perfect conditions for growing hydrangeas typically happen in the months of autumn.
Planting from September to November gives your shrubs time to establish roots deep in the ground and settle in for winter to give way to hydrangea blooming time more or less a year later depending on where you plant.
Alternatively, the second best time for planting hydrangeas in Alabama is during the springtime months of March to May just before the heat of summer kicks in.
- Frost date
If you’re in Alabama’s Zones 7 and 8, it’s best to start planting 8 weeks before the first frost or around the middle of September. If you’re in Alabama’s Zone 9, the whole month of October is ideal.
Check out the last spring and first fall frost dates in your region detailed in the table below:
|Region||Last Frost Dates||First Frost Dates|
|Northern Alabama (Zones 7a to 7b)||April 1 to 15||October 16 to 31|
|Central Alabama (Zones 7b to 8b )||Middle of February (14-1)||End of November (30)|
|Southern Alabama (Zones 8a to 9a)||January 1 to February 28||November 1 to 15; November 16 to 30|
How late can I plant hydrangeas in Alabama?
Is it too late to plant hydrangeas outside the seasons of fall and spring?
The summer months in Alabama from June to August can be manageable but not recommended due to needing more water. Winter from December to February is also not ideal. In general, extreme temperatures are not good for hydrangeas.
Hydrangeas Planting Guide for Alabama
1. When to plant?
Planting a hydrangea bush is also reliant on the time of the day. It’s best to plant these shrubs either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
2. Where to plant?
The best place is somewhere that receives enough morning sun but is shaded when afternoon rolls in and it’s typically the northern or southern part of your house.
3. What type of soil is best?
Hydrangeas prefer loamy or sandy loam types with a soil pH level between 5.5-8.0.
Make sure your soil drains well. Otherwise, root rot will eventually kill off your hydrangeas. It’s also a good idea to mix in some compost rich in organic materials of up to 15%.
4. Planting hydrangeas
- Your hydrangeas should be spaced at least 3-10 feet apart to accommodate their size once they mature.
- Before planting the root ball in the ground, make sure to check for any rot. Remove dead parts you find and ease out the roots if the plant is still root bound.
- The hole your root ball will go in should be at least twice and up to thrice as wide. For the hole’s depth, keep it so that the root ball lies level or slightly elevated from the ground.
- For the final step, place the root ball in the hole. Take turns pouring generous amounts of water after filling it halfway and once more when the hole is all filled out.
- No matter the variety, hydrangeas enjoy plenty of moisture (1 inch per week) but be careful of overwatering or underwatering.
- It’s ideal to establish a watering routine of thrice a week so the roots can develop sufficiently.
You can put organic mulch under your shrubs but be careful that you don’t overdo it since an already rich soil doesn’t need too much fertilizer which can result in overgrown leaves over blooms.
7. Pruning Hydrangeas
It’s important to prune hydrangeas so they don’t end up as a jumbled mess of stalks that drastically decrease the aesthetic appeal of the blooms, not to mention their sizes. When to prune them depends on the cultivar which we’ll break down below:
- Bigleaf, oakleaf, mountain, and climbing cultivars should be pruned during summer after flowers appear on old wood.
- Smooth and mountain hydrangeas should be pruned towards the end of winter before spring growth appears on the new wood.
Best Hydrangeas Varieties for Alabama Climate
Whether you’re living in Alabama’s hardiness zone 7 or zone 8, all five common varieties are suited for the state, with a hardiness zone of 7 to 9.
Let’s start with the two varieties native to Alabama:
1. Smooth hydrangeas (zones 3 to 8): Annabelle, Grandiflora
- Needs moist soil that drains well
- Thrives in either shade or minimal sunlight
- Pruning after flowering growth will make it rebloom
2. Oakleaf hydrangeas (zones 5 to 9): Alice, SnowFlake, Snow Queen
- Soil enriched with fertilizer and well-draining
- Best suited for deeply shaded areas
- Thrives in drier conditions
- Prefers afternoon shade
Next is the most common variety, bigleaf hydrangeas, which are categorized into two types:
3. Mopheads (zones 6 to 9): All Summer Beauty, Color Fantasy, Nikko Blue
4. Lacecaps (zones 5 to 9): Blue Wave
- Needs amended soil that drains well and stays moist and cool during summer
- Can survive beach landscapes
- Prefers afternoon shade
Other varieties you might want to consider are the following:
5. Panicle hydrangeas (zones 3 to 8): Grandiflora, Limelight, Strawberry Sundae, Vanilla Fraise
- Thrives in full sun exposure, provided there is adequate moisture
- Can survive a whole day under the sun but prefers the temperatures of the morning sun and afternoon shade
6. Mountain hydrangeas (zones 5 to 9): Bluebird, Diadem, Preziosa
- Can survive drought seasons
- Thrives in both full sun coverage or areas with partial shade
Tips for Successful Hydrangeas Planting in Alabama
To successfully grow hydrangeas, take note of these tips:
- Do not plant besides well-developed trees that can steal the nutrients.
- The recommended amount of water weekly is just 1 inch, either by irrigation or natural rainfall.
- Bigleaf hydrangeas can change color depending on the soil pH levels. Add aluminum sulfate to achieve blue flowers and ground limestone to produce reds and pinks.
The best time as when to plant hydrangeas in Alabama is generally in the fall months of September until November because of the moderate temperatures that these perennial shrubs prefer. Just remember to avoid both extreme ends of the spectrum.
Whatever hydrangea cultivar you want to grow in your garden, the five most common varieties in Alabama: smooth, oakleaf, bigleaf, panicle, and mountain, are sure to thrive with their colorful and enchanting blooms.
Best time to plant hydrangeas in other states:
Hello, my name is Dorian Goodwin and I have worked as a gardener and groundskeeper for the past 12 years. You can count on me for expert guidance on how to care for your garden. Creating a lush lawn for your front yard or growing an array of colorful flowers for your garden is a labor of love that I fully appreciate. And I am here to help.