Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the November 2006 edition of our Hydrangeas Plus®
newsletter. We hope that this newsletter finds you and your family
healthy and happy and ready for the holiday season quickly approaching.
It seems like Christmas gets earlier and earlier each year. I'm
positive that's because our children remind us every minute.
I am officially requesting that November be renamed here in the Willamette
Valley. Rain really doesn't aptly name the weather we've been having
lately. Is there an official name for rain coming down in sheets? or
horizontal to the earth? We had the wettest day ever in Oregon this
week according the the paper. I don' t have the official measurement
for our area but one location on the Oregon Coast has 26 inches in 3 days.
Yes, that is 2 and 6. David set out the secondary pump and we
were putting away the ark by the end of the day.
Hydrangeas began their decent into dormancy over the last several weeks but
with two nights of frost, foliage is just barely holding on to the stem.
We had one of the most beautiful fall seasons that I can remember with
plentiful and wonderful and colorful changes in the leaf and bloom. I
can't even remember what my favorite was at the moment but it did help me
to select our 2007 offerings for next year. Now I just have to get
the descriptions written.
We would like to congratulate our nursery foreman and his family. At
this writing, he is waiting to close of his first home purchase! Way
to go, Tino!
In case I forget with all the Holiday hoopla, thank you all for a great year.
Our family and employees thank you for your business. Your comments
have been wonderful and we appreciate your emails and your successes and challenges.
As always, let us know how we can help you.
Have you finished your Holiday shopping yet? Well, me either. For
the first time, I'm not done by November 1st. Arghh! Anyway,
how about a gift certificate from Hydrangeas Plus for that friend that is
flower crazy? We have online redemption available with our website.
We can email a gift certificate or send one the old fashioned way through
the Postal Service. We can do any amount you specify in multiples of
$10, too. Please let us know if we can help with your gift giving this
New Catalog is getting closer to your mail box
Please keep us up-to-date on any address changes. We'll be
sending the catalog after Christmas so that it doesn't get lost in shuffle
of presents and cards. If you haven't ordered in the last few years,
you may not be signed up to receive a free catalog. Sign up
Most of you are familiar with the closure of Heronswood in Washington State.
The Pacific Northwest Horticultural Conservancy has been established to
purchase and preserve the garden with the goal of creating a horticultural
and educational center in partnership with institutions such as the University
of Washington. If you're interested in helping with their mission, please
see their website at www.pnhc.org.
Memorial for Penny McHenry
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is honoring Penny by naming the
new hydrangea collection in Penny's memory, Penny McHenry Hydrangea
Collection. Please indicate on your check that your donation is
in memory of Penny McHenry and send it to the Penny McHenry Hydrangea
Please mail your donation to:
Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309
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
See more on the website at www.hydrangea2007.be/en
Winter is coming
In case you didn't know, hydrangeas are deciduous and will lose their
leaves during the winter months. Warmer zones (like areas in California
and Florida) may not experience total leaf loss. In fact, warmer climates
may have hydrangeas that keep their leaves all year long and just discolor
and look a little sick. You may remove those leaves if you don't like
the discoloration or wait until warmer days when the new leaves will push
the old leaves off the plant.
In most areas (zone 6 and above), cold weather shouldn't harm your macrophylla
(mophead and lacecap) hydrangeas. The Paniculata, Arborescens, climbing
Petiolaris and Oakleaf are all much hardier and should be safe to zone 4
without protection down to -20 or -30 degrees. Severe cold weather after
periods of unseasonably warm weather could be a problem and cause your plants
not to bloom the following summer. Here in Oregon, our prior two Fall
seasons have been very cold very quickly and many of our garden hydrangeas
did suffer and didn't bloom as prolifically as in seasons past.
Remember, most macrophyllas bloom on old wood so to ensure blooms the
following summer, old growth (this year's current growth) needs to survive
the winter to produce buds next year. Most macrophylla types are bud
hardy in the range of 0 degrees to -10 degrees. New garden products
on the market called Anti Transpiration liquids can be applied and will
give plants an added 5 to 15 degrees of protection. We have seen a
consumer product available called WiltPruf. We use a commercial product
similar to WiltPruf and have been pleased with the results. Cover the
plants with a thermal blanket (waterproof felt) or tightly woven burlap
to protect branches - there are some winter protection tips for zones 5
in the 'Commonly Asked Questions' section below.
New varieties coming in January
We are offering many new varieties in our fantastic new catalog and
website for 2007. Here are a few new offerings to get you excited
for the new year.
Dichroa Febrifuga – Hydrangea like foliage that stays green all year
Hydrangea Quelpartensis – Originally from the Quelpart Island of Korea
Hydrangea Serrata Miranda - Showy and super hardy but as dainty as a
SALE< SALE< SALE
Yes, that time again. 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
12/31/06. 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 this fall or
Commonly Asked Questions (I've focused on winter care and pruning-
most frequently asked this month!!)
Q: hi there. can you recommend what I should do
to protect my hydrangeas over the winter?
many thanks--the recent shipment of Oakleaf have grown so much already! Zone
A: I'm so happy to hear they are doing well.
Q: My hydrangeas are planted on the Northwest side of the
house against the garage. Without protection, I have lost the old wood every
year. This year I would like to take necessary precautions against the weather.
I read your helpful hints for protecting hydrangeas through the winter.
Instead of a thermal blanket could I use burlap as a substitute?
Once they lose their leaves (pretty soon if not already for you) mulch the
bases well. That will ensure the roots grow a bit more before going
dormant. Branches should be fine as the Oakleaf are hardy down to zone
4b or 5a.
If you'd like, you may wrap the branches with twine (plant will appear column-like)
and wrap with burlap or a cut up thick plastic garbage can. If the
plants are small enough, you can just put the garbage can on top of the plants.
I really don't think that's necessary in zone 6, however. The
macrophylla family (mopheads and lacecaps) are more sensitive to the cold
and that's what I recommend to new plants of that species just to protect
them a bit more and ensure that blooms happen next summer.
A: A thermal blanket is a waterproof blanket often used
for growing vegetables. I have seen ads in the garden magazines.
You may also use a water repellent blanket too. We use treated thick
felt as our protection for staged plants. It is about 1/4" thick,
gray and comes in large sheets. Tight woven burlap is also a good
substitute. We have seen these blankets and felt sheets at agriculture
supply stores. Also check your local university's agriculture department.
They may have other ideas about protect and may even direct you to stores
that carry such supplies.
The Arborescens, Oakleaf, climbing Petiolaris and Paniculata are hardy
to zone 4 and most likely won't need protection. The macrophyllas
should be mulched after leaf drop. If your minimum temperatures (including
wind chill) fall below 10 degrees, you may need more protection to ensure
the branches come back next spring.
Do your temperatures fall below 10 or 20 degrees? If so, protecting
the branches is the most conservative option. Once the leaves drop,
wrap the stems with twine such that they are pulled together into a cone
shape. Wrap with a tight woven burlap or a thermal blanket (waterproof
felt). Once spring comes and leaves start forming on the trees, remove
the burlap and twine. You may still experience some late spring frosts
once the plants begin to leaf out. On those nights you expect frost
in the spring, cover the plants with the burlap, thermal blanket or old bed
sheet - just enough protection so that the frost doesn't get to the leaves.
In your area, it's important to protect the hydrangeas from the cold wind
more so than from just the temperature.
Spring frosts can be very damaging to the new leaves and flower buds, too.
Once the plant leafs out, it has just begun to start forming the flower
buds that will be the flowers next summer. On those nights you expect
frosts, cover with the burlap, old bed sheet or thin blanket. Even
just a light covering will help keep the frost away.
Q: I live in zone 5. When should I cover my hydrangeas with a winter
protection so I will have blooms for the next year?
A: Wait until the leaves fall off before you cover them up.
The plant is usually pretty dormant at that stage.
Q: Last spring I purchased 3 hydrangeas: Mathilda,
Kardinal and Preziosa. During the winter months our temperatures occasionally
get down near zero (rarely lower). Should I protect the plants in
any way -- burlap, plastic, mulch? If so, should I cover the whole plant
or just around the roots. Also, our winters are usually pretty dry &
we have soil with a lot of clay. Do I need to water during the winter months,
and, if so, how often?
A: Yes. All of the above. Protect the branches
as well as the base.
Remember that these all bloom on old wood and so the old wood must survive
the winter in order for you to get blooms. In the spring, also protect
against late spring frosts. They can damage the new tender buds.
Water in the winter months just so the ground doesn't dry out. I suspect
that will be once or twice a week for your area.
Q: I was wondering if it is a good idea to prune hydrangeas
in the fall. I was told that if I pruned them now that I would be pruning
off next years flowers. Is this not correct?
A: Early fall is usually best for (eastern Washington - zone
6). Have you had your first frost yet? I'll bet it's close if
I like to prune 2 to 4 weeks before the first frost. The plant will
grow some before going dormant.
It also depends on the variety. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood (most
of them) need a little more concern than those that bloom on new wood.
Macrophylla (mopheads and lacecaps that typically color blue, pink or white
and have big leaves) and Quercifolia (oakleaf) typically bloom on old wood
but some do bloom on new wood.
Do you know what varieties you have? I can give you a better idea of
pruning if you know that. Otherwise, it's best to prune lightly in
Some that bloom on new wood - macrophylla All Summer Beauty, Dooley, Penny
Mac, Paniculata and Arborescens. Prune anytime. These will set
bloom on new growth. I like to prune these in the spring when leaf
nodes are forming (probably late March or early April for you).
Blooming on old wood - spring pruning about the same time as the new wood
bloomers but don't prune so much - just a leaf node or two cut off.
Just to ensure you have enough branch to get blooms in the summer.
Q: I don't quite understand your pruning instructions on
your web site. When you say to prune to the first leaf node on this
year's growth, do you mean the lush non blooming growth that came up this
summer??. And the first leaf node from the top of the shoot or from the ground??
A: The first leaf node of this year's green growth. From
the bottom of the plant, you should see woody (brown) branches. Then
you'll see green fleshy stems. This growth is from this year.
Cut all the new fleshy growth to the first leaf node. When you finish,
you should have one leaf node left on the plant.
Don't feel like you have to cut that much. Prune for shape. With
this method, you could be cutting up to 1/3 of the plant. If you have
new plants, you won't have to cut that much.
Q: WE HAVE A NIKKO BLUE HYDRANGEAS THAT NEVER BLOOMED LAST SEASON.
COULD YOU GIVE ME THE PROPER WAY TO PRUNE THIS PLANT?
A: Where are you? If you are zone 6 or below, let me know.
You may want to wait until spring. You're a bit late right now
I believe. Prune more early fall (September-ish) when the plant isn't
actively growing. That allows for some growth after pruning. Prune
this time in the spring but very, very lightly. Wait until your hard
frosts are over AND the plant is leafing out a bit. Cut above a leaf
node - a nice big fat one.
You can typically prune in the spring or the fall. here is a link to
pruning for general mopheads & lacecaps http://www.hydrangeasplus.com/pages.php?pageid=5
The reasons why hydrangeas don't bloom are usually (1) too much pruning (2)
improper pruning time (3) weather - too cold or transition to winter/summer
too drastic (4) too much shade (5) too much fertilizer.
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