Lab_Man
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After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Well, I went "all in" today. I bought three Hydrangeas and one Rhododendron.

The Rhododendron is a PJM compact variety.

The three Hydrangeas are: Incrediball (arborescens), Vanilla Strawberry (panicle) and limelight (panicle).

I am replacing the two Endless Summer hydrangeas and a butterfly bush that still are showing no life after our long hard winter.

I will be amending the soil with Dr Earths Acid loving plant mix and Espoma Soil Acidifier.

Soil pH meter is on order and will be arriving shortly.

Hopefully things will go well, I added 6 cubic yards of hard woods mulch to my planting beds this year to go along with my nice black dirt.

Any tips or advise? Thanks

luis_pr
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

All those shrubs should do well in Z5. I am a fan of Limelight but do not have one for lack of space. Allow 8-10' for Limelight but your short growing season may help keep its size in check. Maintain 3-4" of mulch through the year and not be surprised if there is some wilting or drooping during the summer months. They should become established in 1-3 years at worst but those paniculatas are large specimens that usually do well from a winter perspective.

Let me know how does VS works for you as I have hear of some people in cold zones having trouble obtaining the magenta like color that it is famous for. I am told it could not be a watering issue from the persons and was starting to wonder if it is a weather problem in shorter growing seasons. Meaning that low temps trigger the plant to go dormant early and the shrub does not transition from pink to magenta and instead goes pink to brown. It was developed in a part of France that does not have very cold winters. I think you can add some smaller plants in front of VS that bloom purple. I t should look great but pick the spot carefully so VS does not cover the smaller plant. I am told VS should grow about 6' or so.

I had an Incrediball once but it did not do well. My problem though. I picked a spot for it and placed the potted plant there. Theeeeeeeeen I forgot completely for a few months and found sticks as it did not get water and the area only had drip irrigation. Ouch $$$. But that was my bad.

PJM is also a good choice.
Luis

Lab_Man
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I got them into the ground on Memorial Day. What a gorgeous day it was.

I was out there by 7:00 AM. Did I tell you that I love to garden? :D

They look great where they are and I have tons of mulch around them so the water that they get will not evaporate as fast.

Louis, I'll keep you informed on their progress. Hopefully the V/S will attain its strawberry hues.

What about winter protection? I've seen on the internet that some people have used cages stuffed with leaves. i asked the gardener at the nursery and he thought it might introduce mold.

luis_pr
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I would only use winter protection on H. macrophyllas planted out of zone. All of yours are winter hardy, which means you should not need to protect them. Moreover, all three bloom on new wood so if something dries/dies out, you still get bloomage from the new growth. I would keep them moist until you apply winter protection or when the soil freezes.

There could be a chance of some mold but you can minimize it by covering the stems once the hydrangea leaves have "dried out", use dry leaves and then cover it with cardboard or something that will prevent the leaves from blowing away and which will make moisture fall off the sides. Not too many people complain about mold but I do recall reading one post about it.

Gingerlygarden
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I've never grown a hydrangea, but I bought Endless Summer yesterday and going to see how that grows in my container. I live in an apartment right now (hopefully not for long!) So I hate the fact that I can't put anything in the groud, well more like I don't want to put anything in the ground.
Leave room in your garden,so the angels can dance.

luis_pr
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

It would not be my first choice for containers but only because it can get large (5-6') for a container. But at least for a few years, it may be small enough to be ok.

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ElizabethB
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Good job on your research and plant selection. Those hydrangeas should do well. Hope you allowed enough space for mature growth. Since the plants you selected are suitable for growing in zone 5 you should not need winter protection. They should be able to take your winter temperatures.

Glad you had a good weekend in your yard. I was able to get G out this weekend to do some of the "heavy lifting" that I had not been able to do. Tired, dirty, stinky and sore and oh so relaxed and at peace.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Lab_Man
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Ya, I allowed the max space for the plants to grow into. It was hard to make myself do it though. :mrgreen:

I have to confess, Hydrangeas are my favorite plant. Hopefully between this forum and the new soil and the mulch, along with watering and proper pH, things will be different this time.

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pinksand
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I think there is a big difference between the hardiness of the H. macrophyllas and the arborescens, pinicles, and oakleafs. I bought my first arborescens (annabelle) online this spring and it shipped a bit early and the tender little leaves all got zapped by a surprise freeze and it was reduced to twigs. Sure enough it came right back as soon as it warmed up again. Considering it was a very small plant with a tiny rootball, I was impressed that it recovered. I also have a macrophylla 'Endless Summer' planted near an oakleaf 'alice' and the macrophylla died to the ground this year while the oakleaf pushed out fresh new leaves from the old stems before I even noticed new green growth from the base of the macrophylla. I'm in zone 7, but still I think you'll be happy with your selections and should have much better luck with them :)
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ElizabethB
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Lab_Man - just curious - has your pH meter come in? How did your soil test? I was aggravated :evil: waiting for mine then it dawned on me to check the front door. We rarely use the front entrance. UPS knows to deliver at the carport door. The meter was sent FEDEX and they drop at the front door. :oops:

With all of the rain we have been having I did not have to wet the soil. I went out right after a shower (more like a thunder storm). The vegetable garden, herb bed and potted plants all tested at 7. I would refer 6.5 but can live with 7. The lawn soil was another story - it tested 8 - 8.5. :eek: The grass looks really bad this year - large brown patches from fungus. I just sent an e-mail to my County Agent asking if we should try to lower the lawn pH a point or 2. G already applied fungicide to the bad patches and they are looking a little better. I am curious about the overall affect of the high pH on the lawn. We have St. Augustine. My CA O:) is very good about replying quickly so I expect an answer within the next hour or 2. :D
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Lab_Man
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Update as of 6-3-14

Elizabeth, I just got my pH meter on Monday. When I got home from work I tested a couple spots and came up with 7.5 both times. I am amending with Espoma soil acidifier. I will wait a week and retest. I will make a call to my local FS dealer and buy Sulfur direct from them.

I am having yellowing of some leaves on the bottom of my Hydrangeas. From what I have read, it looks like it's either over watering, which might be the case, or too high pH. The leaves aren't yellow with green veins like chlorosis so I think it's over watering. I'll try to get some pictures.

My lawn looks terrible due to the lack of rain that we have been having. My trees are dropping some of their leaves and have some dead branches. We are supposed to get a bunch of rain tonight and tomorrow.

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ElizabethB
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

LMFAO You are suffering from lack of rain and I am drowning.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Lab_Man
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I'd rather be drowning.

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ElizabethB
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

You can add water if you need it but you can not take it away if you have too much. :roll:
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Lab_Man
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Yes, very true.

Lab_Man
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

I was thinking on a grand scale. It is hard to water 2000 acres of corn and soybeans.

luis_pr
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Re: After a lot of research, my latest Hydrangea purchase

Lucky you, Elizabeth. UPS here has a driver that needs more coffee when doing rounds. Some of my stuff gets left at another house with the same number but on another street. Luckily the owner now knows and brings the stuff to me or calls UPS.

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