Can You Grow Hydrangeas Under Pine Trees?

The possibility of growing hydrangeas in pine trees is contingent on the size of the canopy of the trees. When the tree’s canopy gets too dense, it can hinder the growth of hydrangeas to sun and rain. If the canopy is able to let in some light to diffuse, then you can cultivate hydrangeas by watering regularly and modify the soil.

If you own an oak tree that provides some shade or dappled light to penetrate the space where you would like to plant hydrangeas, There are additional conditions you need to be aware of to ensure that your hydrangeas do not only survive but also create beautiful flowers…

Watering and soil under Pine Trees

The most significant issue in the process of planting a hydrangea is getting a clean space of soil since pine trees have a large and small root system. If the plant is an old pine, then you can cut off the roots using an axe, without causing permanent damage for the plant.

I have personally required the removal of portions of root several times in my career as a landscape gardener and the trees aren’t affected.

Mulching helps retain water under Dry Pine Trees

Hydrangeas growing under pine trees that have restricted access to water can benefit from mulching regularly.

Spread an even layer of mulch two inches thick on the surrounding soil around your Hydrangea.

Maintain a distance of 6 inches in between mulches and stems made of wood of the hydrangea , as they don’t like being exposed to constantly humid material.

Mulch can improve soil texture and hold in water, ensuring that the soil beneath maintains the proper water balance for the plant’s roots. It also has the additional advantages of

  • The soil is enriched with nutrients.
  • Inspiring the soil’s beneficial ecosystem
  • Suppressing weed growth

The addition of mulch surrounding hydrangeas is crucial immediately after planting because this is when the plant is at its most susceptible to drought.

There are a variety of mulching materials, but the most effective for dry conditions is manure, compost and leaf mould since they are the most effective to hold moisture, yet their have a structure that allows for drainage, which is ideal for hydrangeas.

pale pink hydrangea flowers close up

After you have located space, the next step to consider is…

Soil pH – The soil pH of pine trees is naturally acidic since it is the soil pine trees prefer. Additionally, the soil could be made up of a variety of generations of mulched, broken pine needles that can be slightly acidic and pH-neutral.

It is important to note that while pine needles are acidic after their fall from trees, after they’ve broken down, the organic matter that results is generally acidic , or neutral pH therefore pine needles play a lesser role on soil pH than most people think.

The good news is that hydrangeas thrive in soils that are acidic and, more specifically, their flowers are blue if they are from their kind Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangeas). It is possible to alter the color of the flowers of hydrangeas to change from pink to red by raising the pH of the soil with lime and the wood Ash (which can both be alkaline) however this can be quite difficult to achieve!

Soil structure – The soil structure beneath pine trees is not suitable for growing hydrangeas, however by making a few changes, you can alter the soil conditions to make them better for hydrangeas.

What you need to do is add a lot of organic matter to the area you are the plant to an average depth of 6 inches, and to an area that can accommodate the dimensions of the roots of your hydrangea when it reaches maturation.

Manure from farms leaf mould, all-purpose gardening composts are great choices as they hold the moisture extremely well and permit good drainage, so that water doesn’t accumulate or over the roots.

They also improve fertility and help maintain a soil pH that is about 7 to 8. It is crucial to include this organic material because the primary reason why hydrangeas die is due to the fact that they aren’t capable of absorbing sufficient water out of the soil.

Organic matter such as compost can help to maintain the proper balance of moisture in the soil , which is what hydrangeas are fond of.

Watering Hydrangeas Under Pine Trees

One of the most difficult tasks for pine tree plants is ensuring that they get sufficient water.

Pine trees may limit the supply of water that is available from rainwater by:

  • Recepting rain within the canopy to ensure that it doesn’t get to the soil below.
  • Pine tress is able to absorb all the moisture present in the soil thanks to their extensive roots that are thirsty. This can restrict the amount of moisture available to your hydrangea.

This implies regular watering of Hydrangeas is vital during the summer and spring months since the hydrangeas are thirsty plants.

The benefit of living under the pinseed tree is the fact that it will provide plenty of shade, which will prevent the soil from drying out quickly.

The most effective way to ensure the ideal soil moisture level for hydrangeas is by using a soaker hose irrigation systems that will release water slowly in the heat of summer.

If this isn’t possible, I suggest watering your hydrangea plant with two gallons once every two or three days throughout the season of growth. The soil must remain moist, so if the soil around it is dry to a finger depth , then you’ll have to increase the frequency of your watering. In the heat of summer, I suggest daily watering.

It may appear to be an excessive amount of water, however bear that in mind that the hydrangea is competing against the roots of the pine to get water, so it’s crucial to keep track of the moisture levels in your soil and adjust it to the changes in weather.

In the Winter months, your hydrangea will not require any extra moisture once it has entered its period in Winter dormancy.

Is There Enough Light for Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas have a difficult time growing in shade, and even when they do grow, they won’t perform to their full potential and will produce lots of flowers.

When your tree’s putting up a total shade over your hydrangea plant site , then I’d suggest the possibility of removing braches to let sunlight in. Established pines should have no problem allowing some form of pollarding (branch cutting) at any time of the season, however winter is the ideal time to do it.

All species of hydrangeas thrive in the morning sun, with afternoon shade. They can thrive in full sun , but shade slows the growth rate of soil, so they prefer shade.

When your tree of pine shines constant dappled light onto the ground below, it will be sufficient to produce hydrangeas for in the event that the soil is enriched with lots in organic matter.

The Big Leaf Hydrangeas is the kind that thrive in shades…

The Best Hydrangeas for Growing Under Pine Trees

The most suitable kind of hydrangea that can thrive in shaded environments is Hydrangea macrophylla, also known as ‘Bigleaf hydrangeas’.

There are a variety of varieties of the species that create stunning flowers in a variety of shades to match your individual preferences. They also produce lush leaves (as the name implies) and look attractive even when it isn’t blooming.

The bigleaf hydrangea will bloom even in the shade and in dappled light however, the more sun it gets, the better the show will be.

Fertilizer is Necessary Under Pine Trees

The majority of hydrangeas don’t require fertilizer if they’re in a healthy soil that has been that is fertilized with plenty of organic matter. They also receive ample mulching at least once or twice a year.

But hydrangeas and pine trees each have shallow root systems, and they will be directly competing for nutrients, so it’s an ideal idea to supplement some food to ensure they don’t get depleted of the nutrients they require to grow flowers.

Hydrangeas don’t require a lot of attention therefore, they can be fed an overall plant feed in the spring (March/April) followed by a second feeding in the month of July, to make sure you have a great display of blooms as well as healthy leaves.

There are also specific fertilizers specifically designed for hydrangeas that I recommend you use if have sandy soils that are poor and low fertility.

Slow release Granular fertilizers are among my favorite because they only require two applications per year . Also so long as you adhere to the instructions of the manufacturer, there’s a small chance of fertilizing too much your hydrangea, which could cause burning to the roots.

Fertilizing should be carried out together with mulch since it acts as a sponge that soaks up water and keep soil moisture, and also add nutrients.

For granular fertilizer, it is recommended to remove the mulch, then apply the granules on the soil beneath, after which you can rake the mulch to replace the top layer of fertilizer.

Don’t apply any fertilizer until mid-August because it will encourage new soft growth in a period when the plant must direct its resources towards getting ready for winter.


The growth of Hydrangeas in pine forests is feasible if there is enough sunlight to penetrate the soil below.

The Bigleaf Hydrangea species is best well-suited to grow in partial or dappled shade conditions.

The pine tree canopy can block rainwater from getting to the soil below, and the root system that is shallow can dry out the soil below, so it is essential to keep your hydrangea hydrated throughout the growing season , with about one gallon of water each two to three days.

Incorporating the soil with lots of organic matter, and adding regular mulch can be beneficial in retaining moisture in the soil , so that the hydrangea does not be affected by the effects of drought.

The addition of fertilizer is usually necessary because both pine trees and the hydrangeas have roots that are shallow that compete with each other for nutrients. A feeding of granulars twice per year will result in lush, healthy leaves as well as a stunning display of stunning blooms and fragrances.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)