Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,

Happy New Year!  

Welcome to the first edition of 2007 for our Hydrangeas Plus® newsletter.  We here at Hydrangeas Plus hope you and your family had a wonderful Holiday season. 

It seems that I always talk about the weather in this first paragraph and this month is no different.  After record rain in November and December, we again are building the ark and lining up two of every variety of hydrangea just in case it rains for 40 days and 40 nights.  

We are traveling to Ohio for a trade show in Columbus and then having a delayed Christmas celebration with our Ohio family so we're targeting to resume our hydrangea shipping in the last week of January. As always we will contact you before we ship for those orders placed in colder zones.  It's really important that we ship the plants after your frost date has past.  If you don't get frost, we'll ship your order as soon as possible.  Orders are already pouring in so order early for your favorite varieties.  The new '1-year' hydrangeas should be ready by April 2007 although some may be ready earlier.  I just need to get out there and check them.

We're getting tons of orders already for the new varieties and I don't even have pictures uploaded on the computer yet.  This is a great sign for 2007!!  Get your orders in early.

Yard, Garden & Patio Show in Portland, OR - Block Party

We are participating in this wonderful show again.  Hydrangeas Plus® will be selling 30 to 40 varieties of hydrangeas from our booth.  Our booth number is #1 in the Remarkable Green market.
Please come visit us and place your orders for spring or buy some new hydrangeas to take home.  We're offering the hydrangeas at below catalog prices so it will be a great time to pick up those hydrangeas you've been looking for at a great price.  Including our new offerings!

What is the Yard, Garden & Patio Show?  Let me give you the highlights....

The show is February 23, 24 & 25th at the Oregon Convention Center.  Hours are 10 am – 9 pm Friday & Saturday then 10 am – 6 pm on Sunday.  Watch for $2 off admission coupons online soon.  Admission is $11, free to kids 12 and under.  Join us at Portland's True Garden Event.  That's the Oregon Convention Center.  Remember, this is the show that is developed, marketed and presented by the Oregon Association of Nurseries.  It's largest consumer gardening event in the US that is exclusively produced by a state association and volunteers.  Come out and support your local green ware companies.

The New Catalog is coming, LAST CHANCE FOR A FREE COPY!!
Yes, we're still working on the catalog but the final version is going to the printer on Monday.  We are making our last effort to get your address updated in our mailing list.  Deadline is January 12th to sign up.

Please keep us up-to-date on any address changes.  We'll be addressing the catalogs on January 15th.  Again, if you haven't ordered in the last few year, you may not be signed up to receive a free catalog.  Sign up NOW!  Just send me your name, address, phone number and I'll sign you up.

SECRET CODE - The best way to sign up for the catalog is to use our coupon code CAT7 after you put the 2007 catalog into your shopping cart.  This will really save me some time if you don't mind filling out the information page.  This is a special code that I've created just for you subscribers of the newsletter.  here's how to order the catalog...
go to
In the left hand box called Categories select Order Catalog
Select Hydrangeas Plus Catalog VOLUME 7 by pressing Buy Now button
(Shopping cart should illustrate that the VOLUME 7 is in your shopping cart for $4.75)
Below the cart you should see a box for discount coupon.  In the coupon code box type CAT7 and press the submit button
(Shopping cart will recalculate and total cost should be zero for the catalog)
Select the Checkout button
Fill in your personal information and select the Submit button
(you'll get an email with an order number but catalog will be sent at NO cost)

This offer is only good until January 12th.

Belgium Hydrangea Conference
All you hydrangea fanatics out there, need an excuse to go to Europe?  Visit the Mallet mecca for hydrangeas?  There is the International Hydrangea conference schedules for 2007 at the Ghent University Botanical Garden in Belgium.  The dates are August 16 - 19, 2007.   All the experts IN THE WORLD will be there for this wonderful conference.  Start saving your pennies - or $100s!  More information to follow about coordinating US registration.  

See more on the website at

New varieties coming in January
I've put them all on the website.  I'm just working on the pictures now.  You're going to love these!!
Hydrangea Aspera Mauvette - Fabulous mauve-est of the Aspera
Hydrangea Serrata Intermedia - Imagine a hedge full of color and blooms all season long
Hydrangea Serrata Shirofuji - A rare white blooming Serrata - snow capped Mt Fuji

from last month's newsletter
Hydrangea Macrophylla Izo No Hana - Flowers of the Izo peninsula
Hydrangea Macrophylla Blauer Zwerg - The hydrangea truly named the Blue Dwarf
Hydrangea Macrophylla President R. Touchard - Here comes the prize of cut flowers

from November's newsletter
Dichroa Febrifuga  – Hydrangea like foliage that stays green all year long
Hydrangea Quelpartensis – Originally from the Quelpart Island of Korea
Hydrangea Serrata Miranda - Showy and super hardy but as dainty as a princess

Winter tip - Getting ready for hydrangea planting
It may be a little early for some parts of the country but I saw that many of us are experiencing warmer than usual temperatures.  The rain and wind may prohibit some of our spring preparation but the sooner your ground is ready for hydrangeas (and new shrubs in general), the sooner you can get them in the ground and growing.   Hydrangeas and most shrubs like well draining soil.  This allows the roots to grow and reach for and absorb vital nutrients.  Compact soil typically results in stunted top growth and poor absorption of nutrients for hydrangeas.  It can also lead to the roots drowning if soil doesn't allow water to drain.  Just digging a hole and putting a shrub in the landscape won't guarantee success.

What can you do about compact soil?  Amend, amend and amend.  Amend with composted material that is clean and has aged well.  Pay special attention to salt and nitrogen content of manures and other homemade mixes.  

Check the pH of your soil.  Absorption of chemicals is optimized with slightly to moderately acidic soil.  That means, less applications of fertilizers and amendments if the pH is corrected.

All clay soil is not created equal.  My first gardening class was a true eye opener.  There are several different types of clay and not everything breaks it down the same.  Breakdown salty clay with gypsum, a mineral amendment that replaces salt with calcium.

Amend soil three or four times the size the anticipated root ball size.  The bigger the better.  Give your plant a great start by giving it's root system lots of room to grow.

Commonly Asked Questions

Hi, I have been trying to find the water proofed felt blankets you mentioned putting around some of the more tender hydrangeas, but have had no luck here in the Louisville area. Any idea for a source for these? Many thanks and happy holidays

A:  I think the error I made was saying it had to be water proof.  Water resistant is more appropriate.  I should have corrected that in the newsletter.
If you use frost cloth for your vegetable, it can be used for the hydrangeas and other shrubs as well.
I looked online and there really isn't one universal brand of frost blanket.  Of course there are tons!  Several online stores are selling it but I'm sorry I don't have a good recommendation for one of those sites.  I use Amazon all the time but there was an interesting company called Planket that had covers that were green - a little more pleasing to the eye than gray or dirt colored.
Good luck.  Great idea.

Q:  Which hydrangeas do you recommend for the seaside that can tolerate a little exposure to the ocean side? I am in Malibu. I always see tons growing in Britany, France and they seem to love being close to the sea. On the sea side of the house there is not much shade, I do have shade on the other side of the house and they are very protected there. I would love to find some to put on the sea side....

Hydrangeas on your beach won't be able to take a lot of sun.  The protected side would be much better for the macrophylla (mopheads and lacecaps).  The serratas and Paniculatas and possibly the Oakleaf varieties can take more sun than the macrophylla types.  And, these types will do better in your sandy soil.  Macrophylla really need more acidic soil to grow and thrive.  You can always amend the soil or put the macrophylla in containers - just keep them watered in your hot months.
Some of my favorites for containers
Blue Danube
Merritt's supreme
For sandy soil
Serrata Blue Deckle
Serrata Preziosa
Paniculata Burgundy Lace
Oakleaf (Quercifolia) PeeWee
Thank you for your questions.

Q:  Well, I believe that the weather is following last years course. Hopefully, not as bad as last year. We had a week of cold weather, down to about 25 degrees then last week it was in the 70's for a few days. That was enough for some of the buds to open up. Then it got cold again this week, gradually down to about 15 degrees. My question is "If the buds open, just a little with some green leaves peeking out, will they be totally lost for next season (i.e. will there be any flower heads)?". I am speaking about mophead hydrangeas. I can protect them in the spring from the cold but can't protect them from late fall warm weather. Or can I? Thank you for your time and expertise,

Yes, the changes in fall temperatures can be just as dangerous to the blooms as the spring temperatures.  It's hard to tell by visual inspection if it will damage the blooms for next year.  In my experience, sudden temperature swings in the fall typically delay the blooming and rarely does it totally leave the plant bloomless.  You mention the gradual change in temperature which is the best possible scenario.  it allows the plant to slowly go to sleep.
What strange weather patterns over there.  I think you should be alright.  In the spring when the plant starts to leaf out, you'll be able to see where new buds are forming and where they are not.  At that time, you may be able to remove those damaged by the fall temperatures.
I hope that helps.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Q:  Hi. I received a potted hydrangea as a gift in late october/early november. Shortly afterwards, the blue/purple flowers went brown- I've tried everything and I'm not sure what is working or not working and what is the problem! Sometimes it gets a little better, sometimes a lot worse. I have it in diffused sunlight/light, I've tried watering it all different ways- more water, less water, tried to dry it out a little because sometimes it seems too wet. It is in a plastic pot and then inside a more decorative organic grass-like pot. The leaves are crunchy and dried out a bit. There are a FEW flowers that are in better condition. What do you suggest now?

A:  The trouble that you describe is common with forced hydrangeas.  The roots have outgrown the pot and if you overwater, the roots start to drown.  Move it into a larger container that has good drainage at the bottom.
Here's a write-up I have about Forced hydrangeas.  I hope this helps.
The forced varieties are really similar to the outdoor varieties and can grow like those eventually.  We’re really not experts on growing hydrangeas indoor.  However, I'm addicted to the grocery store varieties during the winter but they are usually moved outdoors within the year.  We’re always on the lookout for something different.  Sometimes the forced flower growers are the first to find the new varieties – but they are very hesitant to share the name and cultural information.

 We've found that forced hydrangeas aren't as healthy as naturally grown hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas grow better if they are allowed to have a dormant period and a growth period.  Most varieties grow very quickly and may not be healthy if grown inside without moving the plant to a larger pot.  When your forced hydrangea blooms begin to decline and cannot be revived with water or moving to a larger pot, it is time to cut off the blooms at the lowest healthy leaf node.  Instant fertilizer for acid loving plants is great for these forced hydrangeas that start to look peaked.

Hydrangeas like slightly acidic soil.  In the artificial media that most of these forced plants are grown, you'll need to keep the acidity level up (i.e., the pH level down) using tea leaves, coffee grounds or aluminum sulfate. 

If you do move these plants outside, be sure that you don't move them until the last chance of cold weather has passed and there is no chance of any frost.  Our general rule of thumb is don't move the forced hydrangea outside until the outside hydrangeas are at the same stage of leaf.  That can be April, May or June, depending on your area.  Protect this sensitive plant for the first few winters.  The process that growers go through to get them to bloom is very tough on the health of the plant.  The chemicals and environmental controls have made the hydrangeas a bit more delicate to the elements.

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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®