Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to 2005!
Welcome to the March 2005 edition of Hydrangeas
Plus® newsletter. Spring has sprung early for us once
again. We set record temperatures last week. It was 66 degrees
here in Aurora. The plants are about 2 weeks ahead of schedule and
looking fantastic! We started shipping in Mid February with a record 80
packages. We were exhausted. But keep those orders coming.
March is typically a great time to plant for those zone 7, 8 and 9 gardens.
Be sure that your frost has past before you plant to ensure that
the buds (future flowers) don't freeze. If you watch the weather
and notice that a frost is close (usually 35 degrees and below), grab an
old bedsheet or light blanket and cover those tender buds. Be careful
when you put on and take off the covering. The buds are very tender
and break off easily with too much handling.
Yard Garden Patio Show in February was a great success. Welcome
all our new customers. We will be at Hoffman’s Dairy & Farm in
Canby, Oregon at Gardenpalooza Saturday, March 26th from 8am to 4pm.
Come visit us at Hoffman’s on Knight’s Bridge Road.
Annual ‘Overstocks’ spring sale is April 22rd-May 7th, 8 to 5 everyday.
A winter tip – Pruning
If 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. You may want to 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, what ever 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.
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. We are now selling
fertilizer, aluminum sulfate & garden lime on our website.
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.
Special offer for March ONLY
Free Shipping!!! For orders over $200, you will not be charged
for shipping. Sorry, this special only applicable to online orders
and is not applicable with any other offers. Remember, this is only
for March so get those orders in early. Just type in 'FREE SHIPPING'
in the coupon section on the order form once your order for plants and amendments
exceeds $200. For those of you in colder zones, please note you can
specify a later ship date and still get this Free Shipping offer.
We are offering many new varieties in our fantastic new
catalog and website for 2005. These varieties are in limited
supply and will sell quickly so order quickly. Order early so we don't
sell out of your first choice. Be sure to select an estimated ship
date with your order. We don't want to ship the plants before your last frost
date has past.
Arborescens Radiata - Lacecap version of popular ‘Annabelle’
Aspera Robusta – The Granddaddy of the Asperas
Macrophylla Blue Danube – Large blue blooms on this prolific plant
Macrophylla Bottstein – Crowded red blooms on a wonderful semi dwarf
Macrophylla Fuji Waterfall - Cascades of double white blooms
Macrophylla Horben – tightly packed blooms on this gorgeous bloom
Macrophylla Princess Juliana – Crowned Queen of the white blooming hydrangeas
Macrophylla Red Star – Don't let the name fool you
Paniculata Webb – Great big white flowers on strong stems
Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’ - A beautiful climbing cousin
Seamanii (sē-mon-ē-ī) - Mid summer dream—and winter, too
Serrata Diadem – The crown jewel of Serrata
Serrata Miyama Yae Murasaki – A midsummer double bloomer
Serrata Pretty Maiden – We haven't seen anything like this one
Quercifolia Alice – A wonderful seedling from Dr. Michael Dirr
Quercifolia PeeWee – Compact form of beloved Oakleaf family
Quercifolia Snowflake – Our favorite Oakleaf hydrangea
Quercifolia Snow Giant – Large double blooms on this wonderful Oakleaf
Quercifolia Snow Queen – Blooms stand upright on this majestic Oakleaf
Did you get just part of your new catalog?
We had a customer comment that his copy of the catalog didn't include
all 40 pages. Please review your copy and let us know if you are also
missing pages. We'll send you another complete catalog. Sorry
for the inconvenience.
Northwest Hydrangea Club - New Garden Club just for hydrangeas
After all these years, I've finally been motivated to start a Northwest
hydrangea growers club. If you're interested in helping me get the
word out, join or help organize, please let me know. My dream is
to include quarterly meetings, newsletters, summer garden tours, cutting
exchanges and most important - share the love of hydrangeas with more friends
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: It would be very helpful to be able to search by
USDA zone. I often look at a beautiful hyndrangea only to discover
that I can't grow it here.
A: We still need to write the search program but that's the reason
we illustrated each zone by variety.
here's a hint...
Arborescens family - this is Annabelle's family of hydrangeas
Oakleaf family (higher zone 4s)
For zone 5, add
new wood blooming macrophyllas (Dooley, All Summer Beauty, Penny Mac)
Japonica Coerulea (lacecap) - could be 4b
For zone 6
Thank you for your question.
Q: I am a great admirer of your products and have several
in my garden. I am looking for a hydrangea--all mop heads excluded==that
will grow well in a shady area and be relatively small, three to five feet.
Coould you please advise? Also, what is the best time in the spring to plant
A: Unfortunately, shady areas usually tend to give us taller
than illustrated sizes for hydrangeas. I would recommend any of the
3 to 4 foot varieties. As long as there is some brightness, they should
be fine. Some of these smaller varieties are Miss Belgium, Enziandom,
Ami Pasquier, Merritt's Supreme, Forever Pink. These are all zone 6
Shipping to your area should take place after your last frost has past.
That could be April 15 or May 15, depending on your area. Order early,
however. WE sell out of the popular varieties quickly.
NOTE - quick and dirty guide to spring planting
February - zone 9
March - zone 8
April - zone 7
May - zone 6
June - zone 5
Q: What are the smallest mophead hydrangeas that you sell that
can be grown in a container or a very small garden space? Would love
to grow them but most seem just too large for my situation.
A: The smallest are the macrophylla Pia and the Serrata Blue
Billow. both grow 2-3 feet and are great for small areas.
The 3-4 foot varieties can be kept in a pot too but the Pia & Blue
Billow are perfect.
Q: Hi: I received a Shooting Star Hydrangea And I don't know
how to care for it, the flowers have dried up and new follage is growing I
have it in a nice size pot. should I cut back the dried flower now, I have
5 big blooms that are dried up should I leave them like that or should I
cut them off?
A: The forced varieties are really similar to the outdoor variety
and it could grow like one eventually. I really not an expert on growing
hydrangeas indoor. I buy the grocery store varieties during the winter
so there is at least some blooms but they are usually moved outdoors within
The Shooting Star hydrangea is possible a rename of Hanabi, Mt. Fuji,
Shirofuji or even the variety we're growing called Fuji Waterfall. Great
white cascading blooms.
I've found that forced hydrangeas aren't as healthy as naturally grown
hydrangeas. They 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 grown inside without moving the plant to a larger pot every
Hydrangeas like slightly acidic soil too. In the artificial media
that most of these forced plants are grown, you'll need to keep the acidity
level up (aka, the pH level down). Tea leaves, coffee grounds or Aluminum
sulfate can help because they are acidic.
If you do move it outside, be sure that you don't move it until the last
chance of cold weather has past and there is no chance of any frost.
My 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.
Q: I have a question. I recently moved into a home that has
a huge hydregea in the backyard. The entire plant is brown, I haven't grown
them before so I don't know if this is normal. I would also like to buy
more. my backyard is completely shaded
Will this be a problem?
A: Yes, that is totally normal. Soon, the plant will begin
generating new leaves and the stems will green up. Don't prune a lot
this spring or else you'll cut off the blooms. Feel free to dead head
and take off one or two leaf nodes after you see leaves.
Shade is typically great for hydrangeas. As long as it's not deep
dark shade, hydrangeas will thrive in your area. Hydrangeas like some
sun but generally not afternoon hot sun. Some varieties can take more
than others. For very shady areas, avoid the Paniculatas, Quercifolia
and Arborescens varieties. These all like lots of sun. The macrophyllas
(mopheads and lacecaps) plus most of the serratas can take mostly shade.
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