Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the October 2005
edition of the Hydrangeas Plus® e-mail newsletter.
Another year is almost complete here at Hydrangeas Plus®. October
is the month for cleanup here at the nursery. Orders are slowing down
but there is still so much to do.
Back in stock - fully loaded
Most of the hydrangeas are now back in stock! Order now to ensure
your first choice will be available for fall or spring shipping.
If you're unsure about fall planting, use this simple rule of thumb. Do
you have at least 6 (or 8) weeks before your first hard frost? If
yes, fall planting is really the best time to plant. Cooler temperatures
allow the plant's roots to focus on growth not getting water. Usually this
means zones 6 and above are appropriate for fall planting. As always,
mulch your plants for the first few winters to be sure the roots get established
before winter and maximize root growth.
We are short on a few varieties for this shipping season. We hope to
have them back in stock for next fall. Sometimes even we have trouble
propagating varieties. The Paniculata Brussels's Lace is in very limited
supply as is the Quercifolia Snow Giant.
I have replenished our inventory of hydrangea trees but remember, the Paniculata
trees are available for shipping in the SPRING ONLY. These are the
only plants that we send bare root so it's very important that we ship them
while they are still dormant. The Paniculata varieties of hydrangeas
are not sensitive to frost so as soon as your ground is defrosted enough
to plant, we can ship them.
Thank you for your patience. If you'd like to be notified when a
particular variety and size is ready, just go to that product online at
and enter your email address after clicking on the 'Keep me updated' button
and we'll send you an email when it's ready.
The LADY IN RED (PPAF) are here
We've had lots of questions about new varieties of hydrangeas and we're
please to offer a Dr. Michael Dirr and University of Georgia original. It
took a little while for us to acquire the licensing agreement but next spring,
we'll be offering the Lady in Red hydrangeas! I anticipate we'll have
the one year plants available early next year. We bought some starter
plants just a week ago and while the other hydrangeas are growing like weeds,
we'll have to wait for these new ones to get big enough. This is our
first venture into patented plants so we'll see how successful our first
patented variety will be. We're expect to continue offering Dr. Dirr's
introductions as soon as they are released in the future. This is just
the first of many new and exciting varieties for real life gardens.
We are thrilled to offer you this wonderful hydrangea. I've been
growing a specimen plant for a year and the foliage color is really dynamite.
Dr. Dirr is introducing this first seedling from his first breeding
trials. This is an open pollinated seedling from the wonderful hydrangea
Otaksa. This Lady in Red variety is a strong, vigorous growing hydrangea
with lacecap type blooms of pink or pale blue. The lovely lacecap
blooms aren't finished though. Like many other lacecaps, these will
flip upside and show their red underside. This plant is truly a multi-seasoned
hydrangea - blooms in late spring, aged red blooms in summer and fall color.
This variety was selected for it's fabulous burgundy fall color and it
is mildew resistance even in the southern gardens. Gardeners are going
to love the burgundy leaf veins and stalks, too. Lady in Red is hardy
for zones 6 - 9, needs partial shade (more sun is okay for northern gardens)
and the bloom is slightly pH sensitive. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall and
wide. It reminds me a lot of the serrata family but that may
be the fall leaf color. For a bit more history and information, check
out the website at http://www.ladyinredhydrangea.com.
These plants will be available in Spring 2006 - sorry, they aren't big
enough to ship yet. If you'd like to be notified when they are available,
go to the Lady In Red hydrangea on our website at http://www.hydrangeasplus.com
and enter your email address after you click on the 'Keep me updated' button.
We'll send you an email when they are big enough to ship.
Added USPS Priority Mail service for shipping your hydrangeas
We finally got the website shopping cart set up for another delivery
option for those of you east of the Rocky Mountains. We're using the
USPS Priority Mail service for the fall and see how the plant delivery goes
for you eastern customers. UPS rates just keep going up and up and
even though we are a volume user, we can't get the rates down enough for
my liking. So, until the USPS raise the rates next year, we'll give
it a try. Unfortunately we can't track the package as closely and there
is no guaranteed service. USPS Priority mail saves anywhere from
$5 to $15 for smaller orders.
Past Newsletters online
Did you miss a newsletter? We have put all the 2005 newsletters
on the website. It's on the left side of the website.
Three-year fall plant sale
It's that time of year again. We have too many plants left!! We
are offering some of our 3-year plants for just $30. These plants
can be shipped now or in the spring, just order by the October 15th deadline.
Here are the plants we're offering in our fall sale - they should show
up on the specials page four at a time (refresh the browser to see more)
or in the three-year plant section on the website.
Souvenir de Presidente
Commonly Asked Questions
Pruning Question: I've enjoyed looking through your website.
We have a few hydrangeas in our yard and they're lovely. I know one
is called Endless Summer, and another white with an odd shaped bloom.
We planted them but I didn't save the names! Anyway - do I need to
cut off old blooms when they wither? I know I have to on the Rhododendrons
to get blooms next year, but I'm not sure about the hydrangeas. They
both bloomed beautifully this year, which I wasn't expecting as we just planted
them this spring. Right now the blooms are dried up and starting to
weigh the branches of the plant down.
Also, the Seattle Center has these beautiful hydrangeas with a dark burgundy
bloom that is slowly turning to white as it fades. Any chance you know
the variety? They're about 6-8' tall and I'd assume full height.
The color is very striking and I'd love to have one.
A: You may prune now or in the spring. The Endless Summer
and the odd shaped bloom (probably Paniculata) both bloom on new wood so
you don't have to worry about saving the old wood for blooms. Be sure
to prune above a healthy leaf node when you do prune. We prune in the
fall but that's because we are so busy with the nursery in the spring.
When plants are young, prune just for shape. Once the plant is more
established, you can take off more to maintain height. Once the plant
is established, be sure to take out all those old woody canes that have no
new growth on them. This thinning will give the existing branches more
room to grow.
Most of the varieties bloom on old wood and you have to make sure you
keep lots of old growth to make sure you have blooms next summer. The
Oakleaf and Climbing hydrangeas bloom on old wood as well. Paniculata,
Arborescens and the new wood blooming macrophylla (Endless Summer, All Summer
Beauty, Dooley, Penny Mac, Decatur Blue, David Ramsey, Oak Hill) bloom on
old and new wood.
There are some diagrams on the website (under commonly asked questions).
On page 11 of our catalog, I have diagrams and pictures of pruning. We're
working on a video for the website, too.
Send me a picture of the burgundy red one. Is that the fresh color
or the dried color? If they are burgundy now, it's probably the dried
color. The deepest pigmented hydrangeas turn red as they dry (Gertrude
Glahn, Altona, Europa, Hamburg, Mathilda Gutges, Souvenir de Presidente).
Thank you for your question.
Planting Question: In addition to incorporating peat moss, humus, etc.,
is there a particular depth you would recommend the planting site for hydrangeas
should be in an area that has a heavy clay content? I also wanted to
know if 3 or more inches of gravel could be placed in the bottom of the site.
A: Because you have heavy clay, make the hole as large as possible.
What variety do intend to plant? The roots of a normal macrophylla
will be as wide as the spread on the plant but not very deep. That
can be up to 6 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep. Hydrangeas don't like
to be sitting in water. The 3 or so inches of gravel in the bottom
is great and helps tremendously in clay soil.
Do you have large trees or other large plants in the area? If you do,
be careful of the roots from the larger, established plantings. They
may take away vital water from the hydrangea. Be sure to plant the
hydrangea far enough away that the roots will not be impeded by the larger
Winter protection Question: Hi there, I went crazy this year
buying up hydrangeas. I am afraid and disappointed that my local nursery
sold me hydrangeas that are hardy in zones 6-9 when I am in zone 4/5. How
can I insure my hydrangeas will make it through the winter? I have
lime lights, nikko blue (didn't bloom this year), sun goddess (didn't bloom
this year), amethyst and endless summer.
Am I out of luck??? I saw some polyurethane "cones" you can cover plants
with during the winter. Will that help? I am about ready to cry!
A: It wasn't an orange home improvement store was it? They
are notorious for selling plants outside the zone ratings. But, they
are such deals when they are dried out and looking so pathetic, I can't resist
The hydrangeas will make it through winter. however, to ensure your
hydrangeas bloom for you next year, you need to make sure the old wood survives
the winter. Use tomato cages, chicken wire or peony cages (new email
for another customer in zone 5 NJ - see below) around the plants and fill
with leaves. Wrap with burlap for added protection. The wind
is probably your biggest culprit for killing the buds during the winter time.
Remember most hydrangeas set buds old wood. The Limelight you mention
as well as the Endless Summer should be hardy enough for you. These
both bloom on new wood and according to the nurseries that sell these, hardy
to zone 4.
I think the Poly cones you mention would work too. As long as they
are big enough and you can keep them from blowing away. The Nikko,
Sun Goddess and Amethyst should all be protected. The Nikko is probably
the hardiest of the list. The Sun Goddess and Amethyst are closer to
zone 7 in my readings. I've heard the Sun Goddess doesn't bloom well
regardless of the zone.
NOTE from NJ Zone 5- Your wrapping with a cage and burlap really works!
I figured it out since I'm a peony grower and did it with those cages
that work perfectly. I tried it the first time last winter (
I have many after three years of no blooms ! I used the peony cages
I have and filled with leaves. The only one I did not wrap was one
that was about 20 years old. It has been on the property and sits in mostly
sun. I have never seen a bloom on it at all (my mother planted it years before
I came here) and neither has she. I will try wrapping it this year.
Fading bloom Question: My hydrangeas were beautiful last year,
but this year the flowers are just a greenish tint. There are a lot
of blooms but no color. What is the problem?
A: The green color is probably a function of environment and possibly
chemicals. The more heat and humidity you have, the less the pigments
last in their natural, fresh color (blue or pink). If you had an extra
hot summer (like most of us), many of the hydrangeas went straight to green.
The hydrangeas with the paler colors typically fade to green eventually but
the fading can be sped up by weather, fertilizer or amendments. If
you used aluminum sulfate to increase the blue colors, that speeds up the
fading. Too much fertilizer can do the same thing.
Fertilizing Question: when preparing hydrangeas for winter
what type of fertilizer should we use before we put leaves on top?
A: Just a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 that is time released.
You don't want to overdose the plant with nitrogen before dormancy.
Too much nitrogen will weaken the stems' ability to withstand the cold weather
and generate buds next summer.
Size of hydrangeas we ship Question: As I am new to Hydrangeas,
I'm trying to understand what the difference is between 1-year and 3-year
hydrangeas. Didn't see that in your hints and tips...
A: The answer is on the website under most commonly asked questions.
It a good question, though. There are so many companies selling such
different sizes. here's our definition.
The one year plants are one year old and are growing in a one gallon container.
We don't ship the container so we don't want to mislead anyone about what
they get. The size of the plant (right now) is anywhere between 5"
- 12" depending on the variety. The three year plants are three years
old and have three times as many branches as the one year. They are
growing in three gallon containers but again, we don't ship the container.
These plants are about 12" depending on variety but could be as much as 24".
If you want a more specific answer, let me know what you're interested in
purchasing and we can give you a better idea of size. Most the hydrangeas
will grow to 5 or 6 feet. The one year plants will get to maturity
in about 5 years. The three year plants, in about 2 or 3 years.
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