How to Keep Hydrangeas Upright?

Hydrangeas are flowering plants known for their large, vibrant blooms that can grow to be as much as 12 inches in diameter. These flowers come in various colors and shapes, adding beauty and charm to gardens and landscapes. However, hydrangeas are often flopping over.

keeping hydrangeas upright

Why are Hydrangeas Flopping Over?

Hydrangeas are known for their large, beautiful flowers which can sometimes cause the plant to flop over. Several reasons contribute to this issue.

The weight of the blossoms is often too heavy for the stems, especially after rain when they are soaked with water. If the plant gets too much nitrogen, it may grow lush leaves and weak stems that cannot support the flowers.

Too much shade can make the stems stretch out and become floppy as they reach for sunlight. Llack of support, like from neighboring plants or structures, can leave hydrangeas vulnerable to flopping. 

What are the 4 Best Options for Keeping Hydrangeas Upright?

Hydrangeas can’t always naturally support themselves, especially the varieties that grow tall and especially when they’re allowed to reach their mature size.

Hydrangeas that grow on new wood are especially prone to broken stems and flopping during the blooming season.

When packed with large, heavy blooms, stems can give up under their weight. The problem is even worse if there’s heavy rain or strong winds.

Here are some of the easiest ways to make sure your hydrangea stays upright:

– Pruning

Pruning your hydrangeas correctly means you grow them to a manageable height and help them produce stems that are strong and don’t easily bend under their own weight.

How does this look like in practice?

Certain hydrangea varieties can be pruned back all the way down to the base. But pruning the plant incorrectly or in a season when you’re not supposed to do excessive pruning, can cause the growth of weaker stems.

It’s best not to prune hydrangeas all the way down to the base and allow for a framework of old wood of about 18 to 24 inches. This will offer strong support when the plant grows back in the spring.

Not all hydrangeas should be pruned back, especially those that bloom on old wood. Those hydrangeas only require some tidying up at the base such as removing dead or diseased canes.

Moreover, deadheading spent blooms is also important not only to keep extra weight off the stems but also to help promote repeat blooming and help aerate the shrub.

– Tomato Cage

Smaller hydrangea plants can be helped to grow upright with a tomato cage. You can create a tomato cage yourself or use other wire cages, especially if your hydrangea requires a sturdier structure to help it grow upright.

Cages and fences can work splendidly for hydrangea trees to train them to grow upright until the supporting stem of the plant is strong enough to support the weight of the tree.

Whether you’re using a tomato cage or other wire cage, if your aim is to grow your hydrangea as a tree, you also need to remove any side shoots or shoots that grow at the base to further strengthen the stem you’ve chosen as the trunk of your hydrangea tree.

– Bamboo Stakes

Bamboo stakes are another way you can help hydrangeas from flopping over. It’s best to stake your hydrangea way before it produces flowers.

This is so that when the blooming period comes, you’re prepared for the outpour of potentially heavy blooms your hydrangea shrub may produce.

– Wooden Trellises

My favorite way to keep hydrangeas upright is to use wooden trellises. Of course, you must adjust for height, that is, buy trellises that are tall enough to make a difference in the support of your hydrangeas.

Wooden trellises can be highly ornamental, so if they fit into the decor of your garden, you should definitely consider them as an option.

Trellises need to be sunk into the ground but without damaging the roots of your hydrangeas.

How to Make Hydrangeas Grow Stronger and Thicker Stems?

Hydrangeas need strong stems to hold up their large blooms. To help these plants grow tougher stems:

  • Make sure they get enough sunlight.
  • Provide plenty of water, but avoid overwatering.
  • Use a fertilizer that’s right for hydrangeas, as it encourages growth.
  • Prune the plants properly; this means cutting back the stems in early spring or late winter for some varieties.
  • Support the stems by using stakes or cages, especially when the flowers are heavy.
  • Grow them in soil that drains well to prevent rot.

By taking these steps, hydrangeas can grow stems that are more capable of supporting the weight of their big flowers. This helps keep the hydrangeas looking beautiful and upright in the garden.

How to Protect Hydrangeas from Heavy Winds and Storms?

Hydrangeas need protection when the weather turns rough. Heavy winds and storms can snap their stems and ruin their flowers. To shield them, gardeners can take a few steps:

  • Use sturdy stakes or a trellis for support.
  • Secure the plants with garden ties or soft cloths.
  • Plant hydrangeas near a building or fence for a natural windbreak.
  • Use a weather-resistant garden fabric or burlap to cover them.
  • Make sure the soil drains well to prevent root rot after heavy rains.

What are the Benefits of Planting Hydrangeas in a Row?

Planting hydrangeas in a row has multiple advantages. When hydrangeas grow close to each other, they can lean on one another for support. This natural support is especially helpful for the large flower heads that can get heavy and flop over. Additionally, being in a row shields the plants from strong winds that might otherwise knock them down or break their stems.

To get these benefits, it’s best to space the hydrangeas properly. Plant them 3 to 4 feet apart. This allows enough room for each plant to grow, yet close enough to provide mutual support.

A row of hydrangeas not only looks organized and attractive but also helps keep the flowers upright and protected from the wind.

Hydrangeas   Updated: November 21, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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