I bought a Merritt's Supreme Hydrangea from Home Depot. After checking with you web site, I found out that my Pink Hydrangea should have a PH reading of around 6 or so. I bought a test and the soil that the plant came in has a PH reading of 2. Should I try to bring the PH up, or just leave it? Also, there are 3 separate plants in the one pot. Can I separate them and plant them outside in the spring? I live in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area. I think my planting zone is 4. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Andy
Care of a Store Bought Hudrangea ( Merritt\\\’s Supreme )
Store purchased plants are very often rootbound and need repotting soon. If you truly have 3 plants, what a bonus for you! And yes, separate these now or when the blooms are starting to fade. Your plants were forced into blooming at a very early age so they will be exhausted. In other words, you'll need to pamper your plants this entire year. This is a new hydrangea macrophylla cultivar and is not pH sensitive like the older mopheads. Ultimate size is 4x4' and afternoon shade or frequent watering is necessary. Of particular note is that it blooms on old wood. If you haven't grown hydrangea before, it is easy to think that the plant died over winter. The shrub looks like a bunch of dead sticks. Resist the temptation to prune these dead-looking stems or you won't have blossoms that year. From my reading, you are at the northern most part of its hardiness zone, if not just a bit north of it. Provide the shrub with a thick winter mulch and protect from winter winds by placement in a protected area or by wrapping in burlap. Use a long-acting fertilizer in spring for acid-loving plants like azalea. I would not worry about pH at this point as it mostly affects bloom color of older cultivars, not plant vigor. Many store bought pH testers are unreliable. See if you can find some testing for accuracy on the one you have.