Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the August 2005 edition of the Hydrangeas Plus® e-mail newsletter.   

We hope you are all enjoying your summer and your hydrangeas!  I can't believe it's already the middle of August.  Time flies by too fast sometimes.  We've had some warmer than normal weather here in the Willamette Valley during July and the hydrangeas are fading quickly.  But, not to fear, with heat brings the need to give the plants a bit of a haircut so the plant can focus on growing not hydrating it's blooms. We're propagating quickly and as soon as possible, we'll put back the varieties that were sold out soon.  I've been trudging through the nursery every week in search of varieties to put back online.  The three-year plants will often return more quickly than the one year plants, just because we planted them first.  Sometimes the one-year plants will return first if we haven't had a chance to propagate the three year plants yet.  We're very careful to propagate the right variety.  Unfortunately, some of the paniculatas and Quercifolia may not be big enough for fall shipment.  These varieties typically grow best for us after a good cold winter.

Here are some of the one-year plants we put back online this week...
Serrata Blue Bird
Serrata Blue Billow
Paniculata Grandiflora
Oregon Pride
Paniculata PeeWee
Serrata Preziosa

Here are some of the three-year plants we put back online this week...
All Summer Beauty
Blue Danube
Forever Pink
Madame Emile Mouillere
Merritt's Supreme
Oregon Pride
Paniculata PeeWee
Paniculata Pink Diamond
Paniculata Unique
Serrata Preziosa

Generally, the three year plants should be available by September 1st and the one-year plants by September 15th.  If you'd like to be notified when a particular variety and size is ready, just go to that product online at and enter your email address after clicking on the 'Keep me updated' button and we'll send you an email when it's ready.

The LADY IN RED (PPAF) are here
We've had lots of questions about new varieties of hydrangeas and we're please to offer a Dr. Michael Dirr and University of Georgia original.  It took a little while for us to acquire the licensing agreement but next spring, we'll be offering the Lady in Red hydrangeas!  I anticipate we'll have the one year plants available early next year.   We bought some starter plants just a week ago and while the other hydrangeas are growing like weeds, we'll have to wait for these new ones to get big enough.  This is our first venture into patented plants so we'll see how successful our first patented variety will be.  We're expect to continue offering Dr. Dirr's introductions as soon as they are released in the future.  This is just the first of many new and exciting varieties for real life gardens.

We are thrilled to offer you this wonderful hydrangea.  I've been growing a specimen plant for a year and the foliage color is really dynamite.  Dr. Dirr is introducing this first seedling from his first breeding trials.  This is an open pollinated seedling from the wonderful hydrangea Otaksa.  This Lady in Red variety is a strong, vigorous growing hydrangea with lacecap type blooms of pink or pale blue.  The lovely lacecap blooms aren't finished though.  Like many other lacecaps, these will flip upside and show their red underside.  This plant is truly a multi-seasoned hydrangea - blooms in late spring, aged red blooms in summer and fall color.

This variety was selected for it's fabulous burgundy fall color and it is mildew resistance even in the southern gardens.  Gardeners are going to love the burgundy leaf veins and stalks, too.  Lady in Red is hardy for zones 6 - 9, needs partial shade (more sun is okay for northern gardens) and the bloom is slightly pH sensitive.  It grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.  It reminds me a lot of the serrata family but that  may be the fall leaf color.  For a bit more history and information, check out the website at

Added USPS Priority Mail service for shipping your hydrangeas
We finally got the website shopping cart set up for another delivery option for those of you east of the Rocky Mountains.  We're going to try the USPS Priority Mail service for the fall and see how the plant delivery goes for you eastern customers.  UPS rates just keep going up and up and even though we are a volume user, we can't get the rates down enough for my liking.  So, until the USPS raise the rates next year, we'll give it a try.  Unfortunately we can't track the package as closely and there is no guaranteed service but hopefully the plants will be fine.   USPS Priority mail saves anywhere from $5 to $15, depending on the weight of your plants.

Past Newsletters online

Did you miss a newsletter?  We have put all the 2005 newsletters on the website.  It's on the left side of the website.

Request for information - Still looking - HELP!
A customer in Mississippi is having a terrible problem with spider mites this year.  In the Northwest, we don't have this type of trouble with hydrangeas - it's just too wet here.  Does anyone know of a good consumer product to use for spider mites that is safe for hydrangeas?  Thanks!

Information follow-up from last newsletter
I may have offended some people when I talked about the Endless Summer hydrangea from Baileys Nursery in Minnesota.  I was questioning the hardiness of zone 4.  Bailey's Nursery is a very large quality grower and have one of the best reputations in the world and if they say zone 4 for the Endless Summer hydrangea, then it's hardy to zone 4 and they'll stand behind their plant.  I have several emails from customers describing their success stories for the Endless Summer hydrangea growing in their zone 4.  Let me share one with you....

I just read the newsletter and saw your comments about Endless Summer regarding its hardiness in zone 4.  I'm a MN Master Gardener and thought you might like to hear what MN Master Gardeners and myself experienced with Endless Summer.  Mulching them after the ground freezes seems to be the trick to have them survive our brutal winters.  Last winter we did not have much snow cover and had some very cold temps (one night it dropped to -29F).  The majority of our Endless Summer hydrangeas survived the winter.  One note - they do take longer than you would expect to break out of dormancy…..patience is the key.  A lot of MN nurseries had to replace Endless Summer for their customers because they thought they were dead….they were not, a hard lesson learned.  I consider them a high maintenance hydrangea, but worth it in the long run.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:  I have 4 large pots of Hydrangeas that had pink blooms and blue blooms.  Now they have all turned green.  What can I do or what is the problem?

A: The greening of the hydrangeas is probably the variety.  Many of the paler pinks and blues will turn green.  Some of the darker colored ones too.  It's hard to avoid this color change.  If you want more vibrant dried colors, chose other varieties like Hamburg, Altona, Europa, Marechal Foch, etc.   The aging process can be sped up with sunlight, heat, humidity and over feeding (too much nitrogen).

Q:  How do I prune hydrangeas??   How do I take cuttings? when?

A: Pruning hydrangeas depend on the variety.  What variety do you have?
If you need to do more pruning than just deadheading (if the hydrangeas are floppy and need shaping), do that in the fall about 6 weeks before you expect your first frost. Cut to the first leaf node of the new growth. Only do this sever pruning in the fall so that you retain as much of the old growth (what macrophylla hydrangeas bloom on) as possible. If you have older plants with lots of dead wood, cut out those totally dead branches all the way to the ground. You can prune in the spring too - just wait until leaves start forming and be sure that you don't cut all the leaf nodes off.
Propagate hydrangeas now for cuttings.  One leaf node is all you need.  I hope this helps. We have more tips on the website in the hints & tips section.

Q:  I know little about hydrangeas but he goes. I transplanted a hydrangea back in Mar. soon after we had a had freeze and the stems died. It has since grown from the roots and appears to have flowers forming. Should I fertilize at this point? It seems to be doing ok but the flowers that are starting are small.  Also, my father has a hydrangea that is 50yrs. old. If I wanted to get a start from this planed, how would I go about it. It would be transplanted from Va. to Ohio.

A:  Yes, fertilize now if you haven't already.  Flowers are probably smaller because of the freeze in March.  not to worry.

Now is a great time to propagate.  We have some tips in our catalog and on our website.  Hydrangeas root very easily by cuttings.  Cuttings can be placed in well draining media and kept moist (not wet).  You may even lay a branch (still attached to the plant) on the ground and it will root in just a few weeks.  Once the roots start to form, snip the branch away from the original and transplant.

Q:  My tree hydrangea is blooming quite well, in fact, it seems heavier on top from the overwhelming growth.  What is the best way to: either trim or put up some sort of poles and rope to anchor it?

A: It's best to prune in the spring - that will make the blooms a little bit smaller than pruning in the fall.  You can prune heavily as the Paniculatas bloom on new wood and will bloom no matter when you prune.  Be sure that you leave at least one leaf node when pruning.

Staking may be necessary for the hydrangea tree.  Over time, it will be stronger.  Stake the tree loosely to a strong stake.  This will allow the tree to bend a little with the wind.  The bending & swaying will make the tree stronger.

For now, just cut off the stems and bring the beautiful blooms inside to enjoy.  Wait until the bloom ages a little.  Paniculatas usually age a little bit pink when they are ready to dry.

Q:   I have an old variegated, green with white, formerly blooming blue hydrangea that I moved to Murfreesboro from Memphis, TN in 2002.  It has not bloomed since.  Any ideas or fixes?  It looks healthy, has increased in size, but has not bloomed since transplanting.

Also, I was told that my white Tardiva variety bloomed on new wood and could be pruned in the fall to reshape.  It is August and I see only one puny bloom developing.  The same for my Limelight only it has no blooms at all.  Do they bloom on old wood?
They both get dappled sunlight and are  large with healthy green leaves.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A:  Sometimes transplanted hydrangeas need time in the ground to bloom.  They sometimes need time to adjust to new surroundings.  Other reasons why hydrangeas don't bloom are 1) too much pruning 2) too much freezing temperatures early fall or late spring 3) old stems die back to the ground every year and only new growth is from the base 3) too much fertilizer 4) too much shade.

The Paniculatas bloom on new wood (unlike your variegated one that blooms on old wood).  You should be able to prune in the late fall or the early spring and get blooms.  They may need more sun.  The Paniculatas are known for being shy bloomers in lots of shade. Also, Paniculatas do bloom a bit later than the macrophyllas.  The Paniculatas are usually in bloom by late July or early August and last all fall, changing to pink, red, burgundy, depending on the variety.

Q:  I saw one in Washington, being sold at a grocery store, it said the grower was half moon bay california...I can't find one anywhere here at home.  Any ideas?

A:  I bought one a few years ago and it acts just like the Fuji Waterfall that we sell.  I should have more in September.

The Shooting Star name is patented by the Half Moon Bay Nursery in Half Moon Bay, California.  I bought mine at Trader Joes.  I think they are both the same plant as Hanabi, a Japanese favorite that has it's name Trademarked so everyone keeps naming it something else.  It's so confusing for customers, I know.  If I didn't have both and grow them side by side, I'd have no clue.

Privacy Notice
We respect your privacy and want to be sure this is sent to those customers who subscribed to the Hydrangeas Plus newsletter.  Please click the link below if you received this in error or no longer wish to subscribe to our newsletter.  We apologize if you have asked before and we've neglected to take your name and e-mail account off our list.


Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®