Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,

Welcome to the Final 2005 edition of our Hydrangeas Plus® newsletter.  We here at Hydrangeas Plus® wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season.  Thank you for a wonderful year and we hope you are looking forward to 2006 as much as we are to provide you with the best selection of hydrangeas in the country!  We invested in many new varieties during 2005 and we hope you'll be fascinated by the varieties we will offer in the future.

Our last day of shipping will be December 19th but we'll continue to process gift certificates and catalogs.  We will begin shipping plants again in January or February 2006, depending on our weather.  It's been very frosty here in the Willamette Valley - even for December.  No snow, however - much to the disappointment for our children.  The newscasters have predicted it several time but personally, I think it's just for the ratings.

Don't want to fight the traffic to the mall or outlet store?  Visit our website....
How about a gift certificate from Hydrangeas Plus?  We have online redemption available.  We can email a gift certificate or send one the old fashioned way through the Postal Service, priority mail.  We can do any amount you specify in $10 increments.  Please let us know if we can help with your gift giving this Holiday season.  Order by December 20th to ensure postal arrival by Christmas.  We can do online certificates up until December 23rd, too.

The New offerings are coming!
Please keep us up-to-date on any address changes.  We'll be sending the flyer after Christmas so that it doesn't get lost in shuffle of presents and cards.  You may sign up online with a login and password and be one of the first to receive the new varieties.  If you haven't ordered in the last few years, you may not be signed up to be on our free mailing list.  Just sign into our website and set up a login and password and we'll be sure to send you a NEW VARIETIES flyer.

We are offering new varieties on the website for 2006.  Here are a few new offerings to get you excited for the new year.  I'll put them on the website as soon as I can.

Lady in Red - Attract attention! This distinctive new hydrangea will add to the beauty of your garden with color and style all season long. ‘Lady in Red’ Hydrangea has lacecap flowers that open a pinkish white (pale blue in acidic conditions) and turn a lush burgundy rose as they mature. The foliage is rich reddish purple in the fall with distinctive red stems and veins throughout the growing season. A compact mounded habit, high mildew resistance, and sturdy stems make ‘Lady in Red’ a special part of anyone's garden.

Koby - This is our own homegrown sport from Nikko Blue.  It is named after our Foreman's basketball crazy son.  Can you tell what his favorite team is?  Laker fans unite!  Anyway, this large growing hydrangea has the biggest flower in our garden.  It surpassed even Goliath and Paris in bloom size over the last few years.  In just a few years, this specimen is over 5 feet tall!  It will require lots of shade to keep the wonderful pale blue or pink blooms from scorching.  The leaves are more tapered in shape, a bit more rough to the touch and more lime green than other cultivars.

Hornli - Another dwarf!!  I can't believe I'm saying this.  We've grown this variety for a few years and I'm so impressed.  This Switzerland bred dwarf grows slowly and very compact.  But blooms and blooms all season long.  This will rival Pia for ultimate compact hydrangea.  The blooms remind me of pia but are not as carmine pink.  I would say they are bit more orange red.  I hope we have grown enough of this beautiful little plant.  This is the ultimate shrub for a small garden or container.

Yes, those crazy people at Hydrangeas Plus are doing it again.  What you ask?  We're doing our 10/20/30 sale.  What is that you ask?  Order $100 of plants or amendments and get 10% off.  Order $200 of plants or amendments and get 20% off.  Finally, order $300 of plants or amendments and get 30% off.  This offer is good through 12/31/05.  Sorry, we can't apply the discount to the shipping cost.  No coupon or code is necessary, the discount will come right off your order.  This can applied for plants/amendments shipped now or next spring.

Shipping costs are going up
We are again faced with rising shipping costs next year.  UPS and the US Postal Service are raising their rates and we will be forced to increase our shipping costs as well.  We always debate whether we should raise the cost of the plants or just raise the cost of shipping.  Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep the costs down but we feel like we are losing this battle.  We are trying to come up with more creative ways to keep costs down.  

Upgraded website
The migration to the next website is complete!  I didn't even know it was going on.  The search feature we've been promising is finally here.  I just have to figure out it works.  I'll do some playing around and fill you in on all the new bells and whistles for this new website.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:  My neighbors' hydrangeas seem to be very sturdy and upright without the aid of stakes or cages, while mine flop over like an uncaged peony does. Is it not enough sun or what?

A:  Floppiness is usually inherent in certain varieties.  The Nikko (and other of the early Asian varieties) do tend to flop a bit because the stem isn't as strong.  The French hybrids were crossed amongst each other to have stronger stems but still maintain the good sized blooms.  Unfortunately, these French hydrangeas aren't' as hardy as the Asian varieties.  A bad winter and the French ones won't survive.

The floppiness is definitely influenced by the amount of sun.  The more sun, the more compact the plant will stay.  In shadier locations, the hydrangeas tend to flop because the stems are a bit more leggy (as they reach for the sun). 

I have been known to use fishing line and dental floss (invisible support) to hold up blooms.  I have heard of people using peony and tomato cages to keep the blooms more upright.  You shouldn't prune too much because they may not bloom very well for you.  Most ancient Asian varieties bloom on a combo of old and new wood.

I hope that helps.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Q:  I have several plants that I purchased from you--and have a couple of questions. We live in Tennessee, and have had a very severe drought and mild fall.  We watered our plants twice daily (horrible water bill) for months--and anticipate a primarily mild winter with a few really cold (for here) days with temperatures probably dipping into the teens or single digits. The leaves are still attached--and we are still watering.  When should we stop watering? Do we need to cover the plants for the occasional really cold days we do get?

As soon as you have your first frost, cut down on the watering.  I heard your area had a bad drought.  Once the plant stops growing, it doesn't need as much water.  It's done absorbing nutrients for the year and without active leaf structure, water needs drop.
As soon as the leaves fall off, you can pretty much stop watering the hydrangeas.  The ground should stay at least moist and unless you have no humidity, the weather should take care of that.
Since you're having such a sudden cold front, the leaves are probably just barely hanging on to the stems.  A little shake will probably loosen them.  If that's the case, the plant could go without constant watering.
As long as your temperatures don't go into the 0 to 10 degrees, the hydrangeas should be fine.  A sudden and drastic change in temperature does have an adverse affect on hydrangea blooms the next summer.  We had that a few Halloween's ago and although we didn't lose any, they didn't bloom well the following summer.  If damage has occurred, it's probably too late to help them out.  If you get some more warm weather then yes, cover them.  I've also heard of a product Wilt Pruf that helps keep moisture in the plant on those cold spells.  The moisture is basically zapped from the plants when you get that sudden cold and the stems die back. 
If they are new plants from this year, mulch the bases just to be sure they make it through the winter.
I realized I don't know what varieties you may have.  I'm really speaking more about the mopheads and lacecaps (macrophylla old wood blooming) varieties.  Oakleaf, Paniculata, Serrata, Arborescens all are very resistant to damage caused by early frost.
Thank you for your question.  let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Q:  I have now read all shipping info - will be wanting to buy several different types of plants.  I have rather heavy but rich and well draining acidic - clay- soil.  Local hydrangeas. do well in it.  Do all of your plant types do well in this kind of soil?

Second is their a supplement or product you use to maintain the blue color?  I would like to hear about it so I can see if it is here on the market or I have to find it.  Is aluminum the key - and in what "food" can we find it for use on Hydrangeas.

A:  Yes, hydrangeas do well in those conditions.  That is very similar to the conditions we have here in the Pacific Northwest.  We get lots of rain, too.  Hydrangeas love that.

Maintaining the blue color requires aluminum.  The chemical reaction in the pigments of the petals will be result in blue color when aluminum is absorbed in the plant.  Aluminum is better absorbed in acidic conditions.  So, you need both available aluminum and acidic soil to get blue hydrangeas.  Also, picking a hydrangea that can be the blue that you desire is important.  If you want deep, dark blue, pick one of the more vivid colored hydrangeas.  If you want pastels, pink a lighter colored hydrangeas.

We sell Aluminum sulfate - which is the best for getting aluminum and acidity to the soil.  You said you already have acidic soil so increase your aluminum (or metal) content to the soil.  Get old aluminum nails or shavings and put in the soil.  Chemical aluminum can be toxic to plants in high doses so be very careful with application rates.

Thanks for your questions.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance

Q:  I live outside of San Francisco, in a zone 9 area. 

I'm wanting advice as when and how to trim my lacecap hydrangea.  It's about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide.  I've only lived with it 1 1/2 years.  Last fall, the gardener trimmed it down to about 2 foot stalks, all over the entire plant.  IN the spring I got only 3 blossoms.  Now it's mid NOvember, and I'm thinking I'll trim some down low, and the majority down to the 1st bud.  Is this correct?

Can you recommend a product for feeding, and is fall the best time to feed?

A:  Yes, you method for pruning is correct.  Be sure that you trim down to a really nice, fat bud, though.  The first bud may not necessarily be the most robust.  When done, you may have one or two buds left on the plant.

Feed you hydrangea in the spring with something balanced for shrubs.  If you don't have anything you use for other plants, Osmocote makes a good one.  Fertilizer specially formulated for acid loving plants would also be all right.  10-10-10 is what we recommend.  We do sell some on the website if you're interested.  We like to use time release fertilizer as it reduces the number of applications.  a 3 or 4 month release is perfect.

Fertilize when the new leaves start forming.  That may be January for you.

Thank you for your question.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®