Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the April 2007 edition of
Hydrangeas Plus® newsletter. We're getting busy here
at Hydrangeas Plus®. Orders just keep on coming.
Our on-site retail sales was great. Not bad for my first attempt. Sorry
it was a little crowded in there with the plants. I'll do better next time.
Our next sale with be the Annual Overstock sale starting April 27th.
See below for times. Also, we've joined the self-guided LeTour
De Plants for September. I've got lots of exciting things planned this
year. I just hope I get them all done.
Weather here has been pretty chilly. We've had several frosts this
week in the Willamette Valley. A weather alert came last week talking
about a hard frost this weekend but I think we're safe for now. Plants
are growing very nicely. I'm even seeing some early blooms on some.
Serrata varieties have wonderful buds forming - a bit ahead of schedule.
We have had some beautiful spring days, however.
The one-year plants are weeks away from being ready. These are our
new size growing in a 3.5" plastic pot. I will have most varieties available
but there were a few I didn't quite get ready in time. I will make
these available as soon as they are ready to ship. I suspect it will
be April 16th for some and April 30th for the others.
Blushing Bride are here but we haven't had the warm temperatures to get
them to show good leaf and get nice and rooted. Also, I forgot to fertilize
when they came in until a week ago. Totally my fault. These should
be ready at the end of the month as well.
New Website feature
I've added some pages to illustrate Hydrangea happenings across the country.
It's in the help box, bottom left hand side of the website. I
will keep up to date (with the help of the wonderful hydrangea societies)
the meeting schedules. Several of the societies are meeting this month
so take a look. The title is 'Society Mtgs'.
I have also added a RETAIL HOURS!! for our retail events at the nursery.
Check back regularly for updates.
A winter tip – Pruning
If you forgot to prune your hydrangeas last fall, don't worry, you
can still prune them in the spring. Unlike many of your other flowering
bushes (roses & buddleia), hydrangeas should not be harshly pruned
in the spring. Most mophead and lacecap hydrangea varieties bloom
on old wood and if you cut too much, you won't get any blooms. Once
your plant starts to leaf out, you can see the leaf nodes beginning to
form. Count back from the end of the plant such that you have at
least three fat and healthy leaf nodes forming. Prune right above
the third one. That is, after the pruning, you'll have three of the
fattest leaf nodes remaining. Be sure that you leave nice plump buds.
Wait until leaves are starting to show before you prune your macrophyllas
so you don't prune too much.
When in doubt, just cut off the dried bloom heads from last year.
The new leaves will grow around these old heads even if you don't
cut them. But, each cut you do will give you two branches and two
The Paniculata and Arborescens varieties bloom on new wood so you
may cut them for size every year, spring or fall, what ever is most convenient
for you. Cut these for size. These varieties will put on one
foot to three feet of growth in one year depending on the amount of sun.
A spring tip – Fertilizing
It's almost time to start fertilizing those hydrangeas. My
rule of thumb is when the leaves start showing through the leaf nodes,
it's time for an application of time release fertilizer.
What do your hydrangeas need in terms of fertilizing? The three
essential components of fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,
the N-P-K numbers on any fertilizer. Nitrogen is for healthy green
growth by helping the plant to grow chlorophyll. Fertilizers high
in nitrogen like 25-10-10, is great for greening up your lawn. Phosphorus
helps a plant grow good roots and stems in the early growth season then
in flower production. A mix like 10-30-10 is great for flowers on your
annuals and perennials. The Potassium (K) helps your plants generate
and process nutrients. Other important elements in fertilizers are
calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and sulfur. Organic
fertilizers are usually very low in these trace elements.
Hydrangeas like a balanced fertilizer. We prefer the granular
time-released kind that delivers nutrients to the plant over a 3 or 4 month
period. Water will break down the outside coating of the fertilizer
slowly and nutrients won't dwindle out in the active spring growth
season. Be sure that the soil is slightly moist when applying the
granulated variety and keep the fertilizer off the foliage to prevent burn.
For blue hydrangeas, a low phosphorus element (the ‘P’) is important
as too much will limit the plant's ability to absorb aluminum. The
amounts of sulfur (lowers pH) and calcium (raises pH) are important to
keep the blue color. A good soil test from you local garden center
can tell you what elements are missing from your soil.
Happenings around Oregon
We will be at Fir Point Farms in Aurora, Oregon at the 5th Annual Gardenpalooza
Saturday, April 7th from 8am to 4pm. Come visit us at Fir Point
on Arndt Road. I'll pick some special varieties just for the occasion.
There will be 40 nurseries there selling their plants and other goodies.
and follow the links to the Gardenpalooza page.
Annual ‘Overstocks’ spring sale is April 27th-May 12th, 8am
to 5pm everyday here at the nursery. Directions at http://www.hydrangeasplus.com/directions.html
No presales are allowed. I'm not sure what I'll have left over but
if you want a specific variety, order online
Special offer until April 30th ONLY
Free Shipping!!! For orders over $200, you will not be charged
for shipping. Sorry, this special only applicable to online orders
and is not applicable with any other offers. Remember, this is only
for until April 30th so get those orders in soon. We're starting
to run out of plants so hurry!! Just type in 'FREE SHIP' in the coupon
code section on the order form once your order for plants exceeds $200. For
those of you in colder zones, please note you can specify a later ship
date and still get this Free Shipping offer. This offer applies to
orders shipped anytime this through June 15th.
If you have trouble with the coupon I will change your order to reflect
the free shipping. This is only available to plants available now.
No pre orders for hydrangeas that aren't ready for shipping this month.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: I would like to order today several hydrangeas
suitable for our climate. I particularly like the lavender and blue ones.
I know this is the last free day for shipping so if you can get back to me
with suggestions, I will place my order today. Thanks so much..........Memphis
A: Your challenge will be the tendency for late frosts
after mild winters. The best varieties for your area are the ones that
have remontant qualities (bloom generating on current growth). Here
are some suggestions...
Serrata family of hydrangea is also very successful in your area. These
are mostly lacecap blooms and will bloom even after a late frost.
We have a colleague that has done some DNA studies for us (as part of a bigger
study) and has grouped these above plants from our nursery into a group that
has tendency to be remontant.
The more vivid varieties are a little more tender and a hard frost could
damage flower buds.
I hope that helps a little. There are a great bunch of ladies (and
gentlemen I'm sure) that started the Mid South Hydrangea Society several
years ago. Membership chair is Caroline Brown at email@example.com
if you're interested. The next meeting is April 9th at the Memphis
Q: I live in northern Illinois and would like a
hydrangeas that we live and bloom in an area that gets full sun that blooms
from May until frost. I have tried Nikko blue with poor results. I always
covered the base with mulch before winter and tried to care for the hydrangeas
according to the instructions. Is the annabelle variety a good choice?
A: I think Annabelle would be fabulous for your
requirements. It blooms early and keeps blooming.
Other hardy choices are Paniculata cultivars but they won't bloom until later.
Thank you for your question.
Q: From last year (2006) I was wondering when
the best time was to take off the winter protection that I have put on my
hydrangeas. I put burlap around them and then put leaves inside the burlap.
It's starting to get warm here (zone 6) but the cold weather isn't gone
for good yet, it's too early. Should I take off the covering and just watch
out for frosts or is it just too early yet?
A: Great question! I haven't answered this one yet
Don't let the warm weather fool you but the sooner you can get the wraps
off the plants, the better for the plants. Unwrap one and look at the
stage of leaf. If you can see leaf edges (not just leaf buds) it's
a good time to take off the covering.
If you get severely cold weather (20s), you'll need to wrap and mulch
them up really well again. Definitely watch out for frosty nights
(30 to 35 degrees) and cover the plants for the night. The reason
it's so critical is you don't want to lose the blooms due to the hard frost.
You shouldn't lose the plant but blooms will be much more sparse if you get
a hard frost.
I'm referring to the macrophylla type hydrangeas here. Paniculatas,
Serrata, Oakleaf, deciduous climbers should all be still mostly dormant and
these varieties are much more frost damage resistant.
Q: Will hydrangeas grow in black clay "gumbo" like soil in
Houston Texas? I live in southeast Houston - USDA zone 9a. Full sun is pretty
brutal here. How about oak leaf hydrangeas? Please recommend varieties. Thanks!
A: We've had pretty good response from the Oakleaf but
try to avoid the full sun. Some sun or bright shade is recommended.
The trick is water, water, water. They are typically a bit needy-er
in poor soil in terms of nutrients. The hydrangeas like 'good' soil.
I know that varies greatly by opinion but they really don't like clay that
holds waters. Well draining media incorporated with some organic stuff
with your existing clay would go a long way for the hydrangeas. They
like water but don't like their roots sitting in water. Clay soil tends
to hold moisture too close to the root systems.
The Serrata family (Japanese origin) are really good for hot areas, too.
Thank you for your question. Please let me know if I can be of further
Q: How can I tell what kind of soil that I have the Acidic
soil or the neutral soil /no aluminum?
A: To see if you have acidic soil, get a pH test.
There are kits you can buy or send a soil sample to a lab. Our agriculture
college extension office will do soil tests for $12. It will tell you
not only pH but other components as well. Most soil does have naturally
occurring aluminum but the pH of the soil must be acidic for the plant to
absorb the aluminum and realize the pigment change.
Kits are about $15 here in Oregon and there are several kits available on
the market. Each brand will have several test papers in the kit.
These are not as advanced but it will be close for your purposes. Remember,
below 7.0, hydrangeas will be more blue & purple. Ideal pH for
hydrangeas is about 5.5 to 6.0.
Q: What do I need to make my hydrangeas bloom? I've had them
for three years and they have never bloomed. The foliage is very healthy
and prolific. What's wrong here? (PA)
A: There are several possible reasons.
The reasons why hydrangeas don't bloom are usually (1) too much pruning (2)
improper pruning time (3) weather - too cold or transition to winter/summer
too drastic (4) too much shade (5) too much fertilizer.
The most common reason is too much pruning. And, because you're growing
hydrangeas in PA, it could be weather related.
What varieties do you have? Pruning is a little different for each
variety. Most bloom on old wood so you need to prune carefully.
Sever pruning can be done in the summer or just after bloom.
Hydrangeas need some sun to bloom. They like shade but some varieties
need more sun or at least some brightness.
Finally, don't overfeed your hydrangeas. Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer
and you grow great leaf! but fewer blooms.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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