Last summer I had noticed that my ‘blushing bride’ hydrangea had low-lying branches which were taking root. I had successfully propagated a hydrangea before – started a new bush from an existing one – by digging up a rooted stem and transplanting it.
There is all kinds of info about taking and rooting leaf cuttings to begin a hydrangea plant, but the ground root layering method will give you a larger plant with a stronger root system. And you have an instant new shrub.
Click my link above to see my story about doing this in the past, or follow along here on my blog, and I’ll explain what I did this time – with pictures!
This method of gaining a new, free plant for your yard (or to give to a friend) works with the macrophylla variety of hydrangeas which tend to have branches that grow close to the ground. In my yard I grow the blue endless summer and the white blushing bride which are this type. Their flowers are rounded and the color of the flower can be changed according to the soil conditions.
Once you find those low lying branches and find one that is rooted to the dirt, tug gently to see if it’s rooted well. If it comes right up, put it back (cover it with lots of dirt) and add a weight (like a rock) to hold the root down into the soil. I leave those to dig up at a later time.
The offshoots that I dig up are well rooted and look like little hydrangea plants all on their own. It is easiest to do this in Spring before all the leaves have come out and make it difficult to see around the base of the shrub. As I searched around the base of my original plant, I found one well-rooted shoot by itself, and two that were so close together that I kept them as one plant. Continue reading “New Free Hydrangeas – Propagating My Blushing Bride”
As I uncovered the leaves from the base of the Blushing Bride hydrangea, I found that a couple of the branches had formed roots which will be new plants! This form of ‘root layering’ or ‘ground layering’ is a great way to start a new shrub from an established one.
It’s bare and spindly looking stems are curving out from the center and then upward and at least two of them were touching the ground enough to form roots. Now, new growth is showing beyond the roots which means I will have a couple of new little baby hydrangea plants!
I have propagated hydrangeas this way before, back when I lived in my rental house. I had found a rooted stem with big leaves and a flower that was growing separate from the main bush, so I dug it up and planted it near the front steps. You can read about how I did it on my Propagating Hydrangeas page about root layering.
So for now I will let the babies grow – attached to the main plant – until they get larger. I’ll probably dig them up in the Fall and find them a place to grow on their own. I love to find free ways to landscape. Isn’t that exciting?
Propagating means starting a new shrub from an existing one. There are a couple of ways you can do this with hydrangea plants. Hydrangeas grow quite fast, and within a couple of years you will have a nice size addition to your landscape.
Taking stem cuttings, using new growth, sometimes works. I have not used this method much yet, but while I was planting my new shrubs, a few of the stems broke so I stuck them into a vase of water to see what would happen. After a few weeks, one of the cuttings has begun to sprout new little leaves and is growing roots – right in the water. So I plan to get that into a pot and baby it along until Fall when I’ll add it to the yard. (Pictures to come!)
I’ve had success with root layering, and hydrangeas, with their low hanging branches, are perfect for doing this. In fact if you check around the base of your plants that droop to the ground, you may find that a branch or two is already rooting itself into the soil. The mophead variety tends to have the low to the ground stems.
I started a new plant by digging up the rooted stem and planting it in another area of the yard one Spring. I was renting the house, so I don’t know how it’s doing today, but by the time I moved, a beautiful new hydrangea shrub was gracing the front yard at no cost to the homeowner.