Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,



Welcome to the June 2013 edition of the Hydrangeas Plusâ e-mail newsletter.  It is our hope to use this media as a tool for us to let you know what’s happening in the world of hydrangeas - here in Oregon, across the country and around the world.  We’ll also let you know about hydrangea sales, events, contests and anything else you’d like us to include.


We are selling out of many varieties but don’t be discouraged.  I don’t think the nursery has ever been this empty.  We’re growing more and should have everything available again in the fall.  We are doing the grow dance for many of those popular varieties.


What’s happening at Hydrangeas Plusâ

We are seeing a ton of blooms in the nursery.  We are about halfway through planting our next crop and began propagating this month when the stems are their softest. 


Propagating mophead and lacecap hydrangeas is relatively easy.  We’ve found that propagating from new growth is best.  Here’s how:

Most hydrangeas can be propagated when they are soft and bend easily without breaking.  Using sharp clippers, cut just below the third leaf node from the end of the stem.  Cut off the leaves from this cutting at the node closest to the bottom.  Cut in half the next set of leaves.  Place the whole stem in well draining potting mix.  Keep the cuttings warm, out of direct sunlight and well watered.  In about two to four weeks, roots should begin to grow and you can transplant into a container.


PS – please don’t tell anyone how easy this is.  You will put us hydrangea growers out of business if you get too good at it.


Forced Hydrangeas

Yes, even I, a hydrangea grower cannot resist the urge to buy the hydrangeas already in bloom.  For $15 at the store I can buy a 4” hydrangea plant in full bloom.  How can you resist?  Those beautiful blue, white, red blooms will brighten any kitchen, deck or patio before the naturally blooming plants kick into gear.


Here are some suggestions for caring for these special plants.  Remember, some forced hydrangeas will recover and some won’t.  It will depend on the variety and what chemicals they used to change the life cycle of the plant.


Keep the hydrangea inside until the blooms are spent and your other hydrangeas are completely leafed out.  The decline in the health of the plant usually happens after the roots grow so large that they can't get enough water in the original container.  Cut off the blooms and move the hydrangea to a larger pot or into a nice shady location in your garden.  You'll need to give the hydrangea lots of TLC for a few years so that it can get all those chemicals they used to force it to bloom out of the root system and stems.  Fertilize with a fertilizer for acid loving plants according to the instructions on the fertilizer box.  Be sure to plant it in well draining soil. 


Upcoming events

This Saturday, June 15th, we will be selling hydrangeas at Sebright Gardens in Brooks, Oregon.  Come out and see us.  We’ll be there 10am to 4pm and the address is 7185 Lakeside Dr in Brooks 97305.  I have beautiful hydrangeas for sale!


(Dancing Oaks in Monmouth Oregon next month!!)



Catch up with the hydrangeas on facebook!  We just reached 30,000 likes.  If you haven’t done so, visit our page and see some of the beautiful pictures!


Thank You

We want to thank all of you for your orders this spring.  We had a great year and we’re planting to be able to meet the increasing demand in the years to come.


Commonly Asked questions this month….

Q.  I am new to hydrangeas and am unsure if cutting flowers (as well as how to cut) effect the next years blooms. Thank you.

A. Cutting flowers in the summer can cause fewer blooms the following year.  If you don't want to lose blooms for next year, always cut on the green stem when cutting flowers. Don't cut on the old woody stuff just to be sure you get blooms the next year.  This is only for hydrangeas that bloom on the old wood, however.  Hydrangeas that bloom on the new wood (like Annabelle and Paniculata) you can cut anywhere and not lose the blooms.

Q.  I've purchased several hydrangeas from you, most recently six Intermedia a few years ago.  They've been doing great until this year.  I've noticed some reddish leaves and what appear to be branches dying back.  Can you tell, or would you know, what the cause is?  I'm questioning whether or not it's a fungus. 

A.  The red leaves could be a sign of phosphorus deficiency so fertilize with super phosphate if you have it.  Good time to fertilize with a balanced time-release if you already have buds.  The serratas tend to turn red at the first sign of nutrition issues.  If you have trouble with spider mites in your area, be sure to fertilize regularly, keep the plant watered in the hot periods this spring.  Spider mites tend to attack those plants that are stressed out so keep those plants happy!

Stems that are dying back do sometimes indicate root issues.  Did you have a hard dry winter?  That could explain the dead stems.  Sometimes the stems die back if it was stressed last year due to nutrition or due to lack of water.  Cut out those dead stems all the way down to the ground. 

Danger signs for fungus are healthy stems that suddenly die for no reason.  It's usually the new shoots that are affected first.  I don't usually see it with the Serrata types, though.  Another cause of the die back is roots are being blocked or cut off by a foundation or hard soil.  It's like they go so far and hit a wall.  That usually just affects a portion of the plant, though.  I don't see that happening.  It will take out up to 1/2 of the plant sometimes.

Keep your eye on the stems and if it gets worse or spreads, break up the soil around the roots so that the roots can continue to grow laterally.  Hydrangea's roots are very aggressive so the less they have to work to break through hard soil, the better.   Roots don't go very deep either.  Most of the roots are within 12" of the soil line even after a decade of growth.

I can't think of anything else that may be causing the die back unless you had a tremendous amount of rain in a very short time and the roots are just sitting in water.  I don't think that's what is going on though.  You usually see more drooping leaves and lots of crispy edges on those droopy leaves.


Q.  I want to purchase 2 of the dark pink/red hydrangeas, but I am concerned that the blooms will turn blue because of the red clay in Georgia. Is there anything that I could do to keep this from happening?


A.  You are correct that in your soil, hydrangeas will turn blue over time due to the acidity of the soil.  There are a few things you can do to keep them red/pink. 

Consider hydrangeas in containers.  Potting soil, without aluminum added, with yield pink or red flowers on the hydrangeas.  The chemistry of the mix and the properties of aluminum make red/pink flowers a cinch!

Amend the area with garden lime several times a year.  Garden lime will raise the pH of the soil so the hydrangea can't absorb the aluminum.  This is tricky, though.  It sometimes doesn't work because your soil is so acidic.  Each year may be a little different, too.  Depends on the rain and how fast the lime washes away.  Garden lime doesn't stick around long.

Amend the area with ashes from your fireplace or add phosphorus.  The phosphorus will bind with the aluminum molecules and not allow them to absorb to turn the pigments blue.  Super phosphate fertilizer (0-30-0) is readily available most of the year in the garden centers.  Hydrangeas LOVE phosphorus, too.  Phosphorus does stay around longer that garden lime so just a few applications in the spring should be enough.


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Kristin VanHoose

Hydrangeas Plus®