The Right Place
Panicle hydrangeas are generally hardy as far north as the Great Lakes and Northern New York State (zone 3). They survive winters along the coastal areas of New England into Canada. They can handle winter temperatures as low as –40 F. They also can handle the heat and humidity in the South.
Planting Nursery Stock
Panicle hydrangeas, like all hydrangeas from Asia, prefer sun. They also need moist, rich soil for best bloom. They are fairly tolerant of sand or clay, and can handle a range of soil types from acid to alkaline (pH 5.0 to 6.5). They do not like very alkaline soil, however.
Remove the container and loosen any matted roots, gently spreading them. Do not let them dry out. Dig a saucer-shaped hole wide enough to accommodate the spread roots and as deep as the container the shrub came in. Set the shrub in the hole, taking care that the top of the rootball is at, not below, ground level. Fill the hole with ordinary soil, firming it around the rootball periodically so that it is at, or slightly above, the level of the surrounding ground. Water generously to provide good root to soil contact. Keep in mind the potential width of the shrub and allow sufficient open space around it. Do not fertilize at this time.
Amendments In Planting or Transplanting
There are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.
In addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant Growth Activators
For more information see the file on Planting Shrubs. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.