How To Grow And Care For 'Felicity' Hydrangeas

Watch the petals on Hydrangea macrophylla, commonly known as 'Felicity' hydrangea, change colors from pink to purple to green throughout the summer.

For a new hydrangea selection that puts on a spectacular season show, we suggest the 'Felicity' hydrangea. It's a part of the popular French hydrangea family. 'Felicity' produces lacecap-like blooms, with smaller flat clusters of flowers are surrounded by larger showier ones.

The wow-factor of this hydrangea? Its flowers change colors as they mature throughout the season. 'Felicity' first produces blooms that open as a rosy pink. As they mature throughout the summer, the flowers will turn into pastel lavenders and seafoam greens.

Expect them to attract bees and other pollinators to your garden. Plant them in mid-to-late spring for mid-summer blooms. At some points during the season, these multi-colored petals show off all three hues at once. The look of your garden will evolve as summer fades into fall. Snip a few stems for long-lasting cut arrangements or bouquets.

Plant Attributes

  • Common Name: Felicity hydrangea
  • Botanical Name: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Family: Hydrangea
  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Mature Size:
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil Type: Grows best in well-drained soil with good organic matter; prefers slightly acidic soil; avoid heavy clay with poor drainage
  • Soil pH: Grows best in slightly acidic soil. As a member of the French hydrangea family, this selection's color can change—blue hues in soil with a lower pH balance and pink to lavender petals in alkaline conditions
  • Bloom Time: Early to mid-summer until frost
  • Flower Color: Open rosy pink and then mature to shades of lavender and green
  • Hardiness Zones: 6-9
  • Native Area: North America
  • Toxicity: Toxic to pets, toxic to people. All parts of the hydrangea contain cyanide.

Felicity Hydrangea Care

Light

They thrive in full sun to part shade, so find a spot that gets great morning sunlight and some afternoon shade.

Soil

Avoid planting in clay-rich soils with poor drainage. 'Felicity' performs best in moist, well-drained that's amended regularly with organic matter. It also grows best in slightly acidic soil.

Water

Water them when they're dry (pay attention to them during the dog days of summer to prevent wilting).

Temperature And Humidity

Keep hydrangeas in average to high humidity. Hydrangeas are appreciated for their ability to thrive in cool, moist shade, but some types are more heat and drought tolerant than others. Felicity performs best in average humidity with cool, moist shade.

Fertilizer

Typically hydrangeas thrive when fed an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer. To increase the size and quantity of hydrangea blooms, consider a fertilizer with more phosphorus.

Other Types of Hydrangeas

When it comes to picking which type of hydrangeas to put in your yard, the choices can be overwhelming. Here are a few that we love.

  • Hydrangea paniculata 'Rensun' - The 'Strawberry Sundae' Hydrangea displays best shrub form if regularly pruned to a height of 6-10' tall. This is one of the most winter hardy of the hydrangeas. It thrives in urban conditions. Bloom occurs on current season's growth, so prune as needed in late winter to early spring.
  • Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' - The 'Limelight' Hydrangea has unique, light-chartreuse blooms in late summer that fade into a rich deep pink. This hardy introduction from Holland has reliable flower heads ranging from 6 to 12 inches in length. Like all hydrangeas, 'Limelight' prefers good loamy soil with modest amounts of soil moisture.
  • Hydrangea quercifolia - The Oakleaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub that may grow to 8 feet. It has 4- to 12-inch oakleaf-shaped leaves that are fuzzy when young. The leaves turn red or purple in the late fall. A pyramidal cluster of white blooms matures in the late spring and summer, turning purple with time.

Pruning

Remove all dead wood in early spring. After 5 years, prune out one third old wood to the ground each year in early spring to revitalize plant. Remove spent blooms to encourage additional blooms.

Propagating

These plants are woody-stemmed shrubs that root differently than non-woody, soft-stemmed plants. Hardwood cuttings are slow and challenging to root. Most professional hydrangea growers use "softwood" cuttings, which root quickly and yield far better results. Time your softwood propagation for late spring or early summer, when new stems first start to harden.

1. What You Need To Propagate

  • A sharp, clean knife or pruners for crisp, clean cuttings
  • A container with shallow, warm water to prevent cuttings from drying out
  • Rooting Hormone and a small dish for dipping
  • A planting tray or small, cup-like containers filled with moistened potting mix
  • A pencil-sized stick or garden dibble to make planting holes
  • Plastic bags to form miniature greenhouses around your cuttings

2. Where To Cut

Plants are most refreshed and hydrated in early morning, before the day's sun and heat set in. Choose a new stem from the current year's growth. It will be lighter in color than older stems. For best results, choose a non-flowering stem with lots of leaves. You can use multiple stems or use one stem for several cuttings.

Cut the stem into 4- to 6-inch lengths with your knife or pruners. Cut each piece right above the node where leaves attach to the stem. These nodes are where new roots will form.

3. Maintaining The Cutting

Remove all the leaves except one set at the top of each cutting. Then place the cuttings in shallow, warm water to keep them hydrated as you work.

Pour a small amount of rooting hormone into the dipping dish. Pour only what you need; you'll discard the excess when you're finished. Never dip cuttings directly in the product container or you may contaminate it all.

Work one cutting at a time. If needed, re-moisten the cutting, then dip the bottom half of the stem in rooting hormone to cover it thoroughly. Pay special attention to the rooting nodes. Gently tap the stem to remove excess hormone, and your cutting is ready to go.

4. When To Plant The Cutting

Use the stick or dibble to make planting holes in your prepared potting mix. Make holes at least 2 to 3 inches deep and big enough to insert a cutting without dislodging the rooting powder. Insert the cutting so the potting mix covers the stem's bottom half and at least two bare nodes. Then gently firm the potting mix around the cutting.

5. Caring For Your Cutting

Place your covered cuttings in a warm area with indirect light. At this tender stage, avoid direct sun. Water the potting mix as needed to keep it moist but not soggy. Mist your cuttings regularly to avoid dehydration and keep the humidity in your mini greenhouses high.

Rooting time varies depending on several factors, including temperature, humidity and the health of your parent plant.1 But most hydrangea softwood cuttings should root in two to four weeks. To test your progress, pull very gently on a cutting. You'll feel a slight resistance from delicate new roots. Soon, you'll see new leaf growth as well.

How to Grow Felicity Hydrangea From Seed

To grow a hydrangea from seeds, fill a pot with soil and place the seeds on top of the dirt—not buried beneath it. Then, put your pot near a sunny window indoors, and keep the soil moist while the seeds germinate. This should take around 14 days. When you see shoots, you can plant your hydrangea outside following the steps below.

  1. Find the right place to plant your new hydrangea. You are looking for morning sun and dappled afternoon shade. The soil must be well-drained and there should be space enough for the hydrangea to spread its branches.
  2. Dig a big enough hole. dig the hole big enough to amend the soil as necessary and deep enough so that when you set the plant in the ground the soil level matches the top of the ground.
  3. Add a little fertilizer. It's okay to add some granular, slow-release fertilizer for an extra kick of energy. Fertilizers that are focused on bloom boosting work best. After your plant has taken root, add fertilizer just twice a year.
  4. Water it well. Your freshly-planted hydrangea will need a little more water than established plants, which prefer well-drained soil. The first time you water it, allow the dam to fill and drain, then water once more. After that, get your hands dirty. Stick your finger in the soil past the first knuckle. If it's dry, give it a good soak. If it's moist or wet, leave it alone.

Potting and Repotting Felicity Hydrangea

Select a container that is about 2 inches larger than the old pot and make sure that it's clean, especially if you previously used the container for a different plant. Disinfect the pot with a 10 percent bleach solution and then rinse it thoroughly to remove all of the bleach. Make sure it has holes in the bottom that will allow excess water to drain out of the soil because consistently wet soil can cause root rot.

Repot your hydrangea in the spring after overwintering it indoors. Before repotting it, water the hydrangea in its current container. Then, remove the plant from the container by tipping the pot and gently removing the root ball. Don't yank on the plant's stems as it can damage your hydrangea.

While you can grow potted hydrangeas indoors, they are more likely to thrive outdoors. They like full sun to partial shade and, ideally, enjoy the morning sun with shade during the hot afternoon hours. Water the plants regularly, keeping in mind that containers will dry out faster than your garden. Apply a complete fertilizer every other week during the growing season.

Overwintering

Potted hydrangea winter care is important, especially if you live outside of the plant's ideal climate zone. Bring the plant inside before temperatures fall and you have a hard freeze. Watch out for some common problems with hydrangeas in pots. Hot, dry air can cause the plant to wilt, so water the plant thoroughly. For indoor plants, consider misting the plant regularly to increase humidity.

Common Pests And Plant Diseases

Cercospora: When it's unusually rainy (or if you're overwatering), hydrangeas' leaves develop unsightly, black spots. This is a pretty harmless leaf fungus with a scary name — Cercospora! Prune away heavily affected areas and spotted leaves to prevent the fungus from spreading.

Hydrangea blooms drooping or wilting: Most likely, your plant is soaking up too much sun and not getting enough water. Check to see if the soil is moist 1-2" deep. If not, water deeply. For best hydrangea care, repeat weekly. Add a bit of mulch to help conserve water, too. If that's not the case, check your soil's nitrogen levels using a soil test. Add necessary amendments.

If your hydrangea blooms are turning brown too soon and quickly petering out, they likely need more water. Ditto if your flowers wilt during the day and don't bounce back at night. To confirm, look for brown spots on leaf edges. To fix, deeply water hydrangeas once a week.

Fruit worms and slugs munch holes through hydrangea leaves. Lift up a holey leave. If you find what looks like a caterpillar, that's a fruit worm! Get rid of them with soapy water. If nothing's there, it's likely slugs. You can hand pick them at night — or give them a night cap. Bury a plastic cup near the hydrangea, so the rim is level with the soil. Then, fill the cup halfway with beer.

No flowers on your hydrangea? You likely pruned your hydrangea at the wrong time — and cut off all its new blooms. Skip the pruning this year.

If your leaves have purple spots, remove the affected leaves and branches. If the entire leaf is purple, your soil may not have enough phosphorous. Perform a soil test and amend as needed.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles