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Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:35 pm
Location: Michigan

New to Hydragea's

Hello all I am new to the gardening forum and truly new to gardening to begin with. My wife and I just constructed our first of what I hope to be many flower gardens. This one is in the front of the house. We planted 5 Hydrangeas, (3 endless summers, and two forever and ever's). So here is what I did, you can all tell me if I did anything wrong, backwards or what not. We created the garden which truly has some very dark hearty and worm loving soil in it. I followed the directions on each of the plants which was not too hard. Since planting them 6 days ago I have watered them every other day and have given them their first dose of miracle grow (the kind that hooks to your hose, it has the little pellets in the container that dissolve). Since then I have just been watching and hoping that these Hydrangeas along with the other plants take hold. Now with these Hydrangeas in mind, is there anything else I shoud be doing to nurture these little guys? As for a bloom of any sorts, will I see any results this summer? I live in southern Michigan, right on the lake, I am not sure what zone I am. These plants are getting morning sun and afternoon/evening shade. My old neighbor had Hydrangeas that were just unreal. The entire plant had to be 5 or 6 feet tall and just covered with the prettiest flowers. This is what I want. How do I get my plants in the long run to grow up, not so much out, but become tall and robust? Enough questions for one post you say? Sorry, just really eager, thanks in advance.....Oh and by the way, how often should I use miracle grow?

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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:04 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

I'm really looking forward to reading a reply on this one. I have been casually researching hydrangeas and considering putting one in the alcove by our front door. I'm with you - I'm new to hydrangeas too, and the plants I put in my front yard last month are also my first experiences with gardening. I'm concerned that the area I'm considering may be too much shade, since it's surrounded by walls and gets only an hour or two of mid-morning sun. I know I want a purple or blue color, but I don't really know what I should plant and whether I'll be successful in planting there. Anyone out there that knows a lot about hydrangeas? I'm very eager to learn!

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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:35 pm
Location: Michigan

I see that about 30 people have read this post, yet only one person as new as myself has responded do far. I hope there are some helpful tips out there and am truly eager to here from you all, if you can read and add your two cents, it all helps believe me!

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Location: Three Rivers, TX

Hey, I'm keep hoping the next time I peruse this thread someone has posted the answer! 8)


Reader of this poster #4 & 31 :wink:

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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:36 pm
Location: Northwest Arkansas

Okay, I'm not an expert, but hydrangeas are a favorite of mine and I used to have about 25 of them when we lived in Virginia. Since moving to Arkansas 2 1/2 years ago, I have missed them terribly and am constantly looking for a place to sneak one in. I've decided on putting one in a container and taking my chances. My experience has been that they are very easy to grow. I did use miracle-gro on mine, but only in the early spring as suggested (every 2 weeks) and then about once a month once it started getting hot. I think I read somewhere that if you feed them with too much nitrogen (miracle gro is loaded) that you get great foliage and not great blooms. They do need to get some sun, morning is best, in order to bloom to their fullest and they don't respond well to the terrible heat of summer (upper 90's to 100') unless they are watered very regularly. The good thing is, they will wilt terribly on a hot summer afternoon and the next morning you'll come out and they are gorgeous again. I had mostly old macrophyllas (the french snowball kind) but went all out and bought about a dozen of the endless summers when they first came out for a whopping $40 apiece. I can't believe how easy they are to find now and how much cheaper they are. My best blooms came off of the old ones and so I was surprised that noone asked about pruning them as they only grow on old wood. As for shaping the bushes, I think they are beautiful as they grow and only cut off the dead wood each year in late winter/early spring. I mulched mine heavily to keep their roots moist and cool and they seemed to be very happy. My old varieties produced many volunteers which I was able to share with my gardening buddies. I also used mine for cutting, this is one of the reasons I planted so many. I had plenty for myself and all my neighbors and friends. If you cut them at just the right time, they dry beautifully. You can google the info, but I never could get it just right. If I followed the directions, it usually wouldn't work, and then if I just cut them and forgot to keep the water filled, I could end up with the most beautiful dried flower heads that lasted for years. They truly are one of my favorite flowers (peonies give them a run for their money) and I think they are a delight to have and to share. Just a note of interest, if you are planning to cut, don't plant lacecaps. They are a beautiful variety, but they make a mess inside the house. I finally dug mine up and gave them all away in favor of the mopheads. Best of luck to all of you! :D

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Dear jaminsgirl,

Sacramento is classified as Sunset Zone 14, inland climate moderated by marine influence.

If you're not familiar with Sunset's Western Gardening book, please look at one at an independent nursery/garden supply store. (My local library branch has two copies, so your public library may also have it available for perusal.) Western Gardening has an absolute wealth of information about climate zones in the Western United States, British Columbia, and Alberta.

A local nursery could also advise you about which species of hydrangea is/are most likely to succeed in your particular planting location. Every individual hydrangea species listed in the "Western Plant Encyclopedia" section of the Sunset book is recommended for Sunset Zone 14, so you may have a variety of choices, even with the limited sunlight.

I hope this helps.

Cynthia H.
El Cerrito, CA

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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:40 pm
Location: US

OK, I'll bite on this question after having read your post over in "Non-Gardening Related Hoo-ha and Foo"-
How do I get my plants in the long run to grow up, not so much out, but become tall and robust?
I know you are incredibly frustrated. I get that way myself too and have a few threads out there where no one has helped me. It happens, it's the nature of the beast and sometimes people don't post for a multitude of reasons and not being able to answer the question comes to mind top of the list. People do care, most don't want to worsen another gardener's situation by trying to answer a question on a plant with which they have little or no familiarity or experience.

Here are my thoughts- You might need to consider purchasing a variety that has the form you are looking for. Purchasing a variety that blooms on new wood is an option too as you could prune to your hearts content and still get blooms the next year. If you prune the hydrangeas you bought to fit the location you planted them in or your vision of what shape you want them to take upon maturity, you're going to have issues. I believe you stated in another thread that you purchased Forever Summer hydrangeas. There is no such cultivar. 'Endless summer', 'For Ever and Ever', and 'Bailmer Endless Summer' appear to be valid hydrangea cultivars. I believe those are all cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla. Hydrangea macrophylla blooms on old wood. Not good to try to prune a species that blooms on old wood as you won't get any blooms the next year. Interestingly enough, 'Endless Summer' blooms on old wood but can also bloom on new wood. I don't know much about the other two cultivars but suspect they bloom on old wood and might possibly also bloom on new wood.

Much of the appeal of the macrophylla cultivars is the form they take because of their prolific blooms drooping to the ground. That's why I bought my 'Endless Summer' and that's why friends have bought their 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas. I have no idea how one would go about staking one. Too many branches and one might end up doing damage to the root system if one poked 10 stakes into the ground to support the blooms. I'm really racking my brain for you louie_vil_slugger and the only thing I can come up with might help next year but not this year. This is my idea for next year and you can tell me if you think it might work or not, ok? I have peony bushes, they do the same darn thing the 'Endless Summer' does but they do it in an area that I don't want them to do it in. I bought a few round tomato stake type deals. They're specially made for peony bushes so I think they might work for a drooping hydrangea. I could take a photo of them if you'd like. Anyway, I put them in place in early spring before the peony bushes started shooting up growth for the season and as they grew, I make it a point of keeping all the plant inside the ring. The resulting effect is that the whole plant is supported by this ring deal and nobody has to hop over it when they walk down that sidewalk. I think you could do the same thing next spring with your hydrangea only you'd have to do it before it leafed out. Right now you'd end up knocking off the blooms trying to gather it together to contain it or breaking branches trying to get them into a containment ring. Break off the branches on a macrophylla and no blooms next year.

Best wishes to you.

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