Mike1947
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:35 am
Location: Fenton MO (St Louis Suburb)

Basic Questions

First post here. I have a number of hydrangeas. I wish I knew what variety they are. They are what I consider to be the standard variety, pink flower that I assume I can get blue with soil acidification. Over man years, planted on the west of my house, it would die back and never flower. I moved them closer to a north west location and I finally have flowers this year.

I'm not sure anyone could tell me what I have, but I'd like to know if or when to prune? If the plant wilts in the afternoon, should it be moved? If so, what location is better?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks!

Mike

luis_pr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 815
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

It sounds as if you have a Hydrangea Macrophylla. These come in two flavors, mophead and lacecap. You probably have a mophead.

These can grow to different sizes but assume 5x5 if you do not know the variety. If it can grow to 5x5 where it is currently planted, you do not need to prune it. If it gets out of bounds, prune it by the end of June as the stems begin to develop flower buds in July-August.

Your shrub is now suffering from transplant shock so I am not sure how this will affect flower bud production for Spring 2011. Just keep it well mulched (3-4") and watered. If winter is dry and the ground has not frozen, water it thru winter. Once the shrub goes dormant in the Fall, you can water once a week or once every two weeks if there is no rain.

During summer, the shrubs may wilt in the afternoons but they should recover on their own by next morning... usually much earlier than that. If the wilting episode is dramatic then immediately water with 1/2 gallon of water. Otherwise, insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water (1 gallon) if the soil feels dry or almost dry.

All hydrangeas wilt during the worst of the summer months, especially when the day happens to also be windy so water the night before a day when the weather service issues wind advisories. These wilting episodes will diminish as the plant becomes established in 1-2 years. The amounts of water suggested above apply to a new small hydrangea. Add 50% more water if your soil is sandy. Add more water too if your hydrangea is older/bigger. Try to water when the soil starts to feel dry because if you water too much, the roots could develop root rot (if they sit in water for long periods of time). The best way to water is to do it very early in the mornings and water the soil, not the leaves. Watering leaves can promote leaf spots and other fungal problems.

You did not specify how many hours of sun they are getting in this new location but I would try to provide it some shade during the harshest part of the summer months. Here in Texas, the leaves sunscorch by 12pm but as you go further north, they can get more sun. If you observe that the leaves turn all yellow -INCLUDING THE LEAF VEINS- then the leaves are getting too much sun. You then need to consider moving it elsewhere or you need to provide some sun protection.

There may be now a few leaves that begin to brown out from the edges inwards. This could be lack of water or because it now has fewer roots to provide moisture. No need to worry unless it is widespread.

Do not fertilize them now because they are suffering from transplant shock and are stressed. Instead add some weak fertilizers like liquid seaweed, liquid fish or coffee grounds but stop by the end of June. Starting the next growing season (2011), you can add 1 cup of compost, manure or cottonseed meal in June for the whole year. You can also apply the weak fertilizers between 2-weeks after your average date of last frost and by the end of June.

Luis

Mike1947
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:35 am
Location: Fenton MO (St Louis Suburb)

Luis

Thanks for the reply. First of all, I transplanted these 2 seasons ago. They get about 6 hours of sun each day. I did go out a take a few pics to give you an idea of what I have:

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a216/mikekilian1947/RoadTripDay10and11030.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a216/mikekilian1947/RoadTripDay10and11029.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a216/mikekilian1947/RoadTripDay10and11026.jpg[/img]

Maybe this will help a bit. I see lots of hydrangeas in the neighborhood, and most look much better if they are facing east. I have good luck with most plantings, but maybe I'm expecting too much. If the pics give you any other ideas, I'd appreciate you thoughts.

Again, thank you for your response.

Mike

luis_pr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 815
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

My apologies, Mike. I just noticed that my last reply did not get saved. I probably forgot to click the Submit Button! Broooother....

Yes, east facing locations seem better to you because they are better to the plants in that they will provide early morning sun exposure and some respite from the hot afternoon sun. Walk around your neighbors yards, visit city gardens and arboretum to get ideas of what works.

All things are relative though. You would also assume that the west side of the house is also bad for hydrangeas but I have one growing there right now. Yes, you would expect it to die a quick death from our summer sun and frequent temperatures in the 100s but there is a catch. The shrub receives protection from yet another bigger ole shrub. And mulch and a drip irrigation system keeps it moist.

Since I do not have too many east facing walls, I plant shade loving shrubs on the east side of bigger shrubs or trees. To help me pick good locations, during the summer months, I review where there is shade, take digital pictures and use them to determine where else I can add shade plants by looking at the pictures. East of an existing tree is fine but then I have to review the amount of water that the site gets to make sure it will work.

You can also grow some hydrangeas in containers but I have not tried. My container plants do not do well in that dept as I really need an automated method for watering.

Mike1947
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:35 am
Location: Fenton MO (St Louis Suburb)

Luis

Again, thanks for the reply. Maybe I just haven't learned enough about hydrangeas. Is there a maximum or minimum number of hours that the plant thrives? Is water required everyday? How much shade can it tolerate? I love these plants maybe because they remind me of what I saw in my grandmothers small garden. Also, they've been around for so long and are part of many planting through the years here in St Louis. I'd just like to maximize what I have.

Again, thanks for your reply and information -- much appreciated.

Mike

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