Q: I purchased a “macrophyla hortensia hydrangea” from the grocery store. It is in a pot with a spongy medium. Can this be planted outside now?
A: Although florist hydrangea makes a great gift and is attractive for several days, it is not suited to be a houseplant. If yours has been indoors for several weeks you’ll need to slowly acclimatize it to the outdoors before planting there. Take it outdoors whenever temperatures are above 40 degrees and bring it into a cool, dark room (like a garage) every night. The leaves will wither and fall from the stems. When all leaves are gone, wash the soil from the roots and plant the hydrangea in a spot that is protected from wind. The north or east side of your house is great. If it survives winter, you may get flowers next summer but remember that some florist hydrangeas are not as cold tolerant as others so consider this whole procedure “experimental”.