Dear Hydrangea enthusiasts,


Welcome to the April 2011 newsletter for Hydrangea Plus®. 


I’ve always heard that April showers bring May flowers.  Really?  And what does January, February and March showers bring?  No I don’t have a tan, that’s just rust from all the rain!


Just kidding, we have had lots of cold and wet weather this spring.  But the hydrangeas are resilient and will return, well watered and happy clams come bloom time.  Buds are breaking on all but the latest leafer-outers, the Paniculata.  Who doesn’t love those crazy cone-head hydrangeas?


What’s Happening…

Our annual on-site retail spring break weekend sale just blew my socks off.  I am still a little tired from last weekend’s great annual tradition.  I sold a lot of plants and met some great new hydrangea enthusiasts included a local garden club that travels the state looking for the best plants.  It was actually a beautiful weekend once the sun decided to show up. 


The VanHoose family went to Disneyland last year to celebrate spring break and in a few short weeks, we are heading to Orlando for Disney World.  I have a conference for nursery association Presidents and I didn’t think we’d ever find the opportunity to visit again.  So Florida, watch out – here we come.  Nursery will continue to operate but response time will be delayed.


The annual Gardenpalooza at Fir Point Farms will be next weekend, April 2nd from 8am to 4pm in Aurora.  (see  There will be 45 local vendors selling everything from awesome tools, garden art and hydrangeas (that’s me!).  We will be there rain or shine as usual.  This event has the reputation for awesome-ness and you’ll even see us vendors buying plants from one another.


Our next event is our annual overstock sale here at the nursery.  See heading later in the newsletter for details.


Hydrangeas Plus® New Offerings

I hope you all received the card by now.  I heard from a few folks they did not receive it.  If you didn’t see it, please visit our website (at and see our new varieties for 2011.  I hope you’re sitting down - I’m even ahead of the game on the new varieties for 2012.  I’ve been testing a few cultivars and when they start to bloom, I’ll give you some rantings about them.


The number 10 catalog is still valid through this year so hopefully you didn’t toss it into the recycle bin.  If you must have another, the cost is much much greater.  The charge is $5.  Order on line (at or send me a check to

Hydrangeas Plus®

PO BOX 389

Aurora OR 97002


You may order a FREE download version of the catalog (be sure to say zero when it lets you put in the cost so you don’t have to enter your credit card number).


Spring Overstock sale – BIG BIG SALE

Sale is April 23 – May 7, 10am to 5pm daily only here at the nursery.  Don’t miss out.  I’m not sure what we will have but come and find out.  We grow more than just hydrangeas so come even if you’re not looking for hydrangeas.  Look for the signs once you get close to our place (they are white with a picture of a hydrangea)


Our address is 6543 S. Zimmerman Road Aurora OR 97002


Remember, no presales.  Opening day is Saturday, April 23rd.


Sale – Free shipping

Free shipping on orders of $199 or greater. This offer is good just through May 31st.  Orders must ship on or before June 14th, 2011 and is good to US addresses only and cannot be applied retro-actively!  It’s a coupon code and if you have trouble using the coupon just let me know.  Use the coupon code, FREESHIPPING (below your shopping cart) once your order has reached $199 (that’s just five three-year hydrangeas).  You won’t be able to see the coupon is accepted and in effect until your reach the check out stage.  If there is an error with the coupon, you will get a purple box at the top of your shopping cart that says ‘you have entered an incorrect coupon code!’.   But again, if you have trouble, just email or call and I can fix it for you.


FaceBook, Twitter

Welcome new Facebook subscribers.  We have 9157 fans.  Join us for updates, information, interesting happenings and other hydrangea news.  Just search for Hydrangeas Plus or go to or follow us on Twitter at 


A winter tip – Pruning
What is that you say?  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 future blooms.

The Paniculata and Arborescens varieties bloom on new wood so you may cut them for size every year, spring or fall, whatever time 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 (more growth in less 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.

Hydrangeas Plus® has some great time released fertilizer for sale.  Shipping will be less for amendment only orders.  I can ship one bag for $5, up to 5 bags for $10 and up to 15 bags for $15 using USPS Priority Mail.


Working and office schedule

We’re off and running, literally this time of the year.  If the internet ordering isn’t for you, you’re not alone and we’re here for you.  If I’m not in the office or on the other line, please leave a message.  I’m a working owner, the big boss, the lone office employee and I like to get my hands dirty and not sit inside and do paper pushing on sunny days.  But I’m never far away



Kristin VanHoose

Hydrangeas Plus®