Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,

Welcome to the October 2006 edition of the Hydrangeas Plus® e-mail newsletter.   

Isn't October a beautiful month?  This month we celebrate Marissa's second birthday.  We're having a wonderful fall here in the Willamette Valley.  If you ever visit Oregon and you don't mind the chance of rain, this is the one of my favorite times of the year.  Many of our agricultural crops are ready this time - and my favorite - Apples!

We have some gorgeous looking plants growing in the nursery.  I walk the nursery every week and I'm just so sad it's October.  These plants look fabulous.  If you need some hydrangeas, now is a great time to plant hydrangeas.  But, fall planting isn't for everyone.  My rule of thumb is that if you have 4 to 8 weeks before you first hard frost (depending on your soil type), you can still plant.  Those of you in Zone 6 are probably on the bubble but many forcasters are predicting a mild winter for all.  Wouldn't that be wonderful!

If you're unsure about fall planting, call your local garden center or agricultural extention office.  As always, mulch your plants for the first few winters to be sure the roots get established before winter and maximize root growth.  A recent article in (gardening magazine - no free advertising here) said that planting shrubs in the fall is a more successful.  Transplanting in the fall for our area is 99% successful versus the spring at just 70%.  Wow!  

Hydrangeas are coming back in stock!

Most of the hydrangeas are now back in stock!  Order now to ensure your first choice will be available for fall or spring shipping.  

We are short on a few varieties for this shipping season.  We hope to have them back in stock for next year.  Sometimes even we have trouble propagating varieties.  

I have replenished our inventory of hydrangea trees but remember, the Paniculata trees are available for shipping in the SPRING ONLY.  Local customers may pick them up, too.  Just email or call ahead and we can have them ready for you.  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.

Tip - Fall and powdery mildew
It is that time of year that the powdery mildew is upon us.  The mildew is more prevalent when you have warm days and cool nights.  If it occurs in the fall, the leaves will fall off eventually and the fungus will go away in the winter months.  But, it is still annoying and you don't want it to spread.  
If you experience powdery mildew in the spring or in an area where hydrangeas don't go completely leafless, you may spray a phosphate or homemade baking soda product or other fungicide.  The best acting products contain sulfur, fenarimol, dinocap, triadimifon or benomyl.  Refer to the instructions on the package to determine method and timing of application.  Weather conditions such as temperature and humidity are important factors when determining when to apply fungicides..  

It is most important is keeping the mildew from spreading.  Remove the infected leaves or any that have fallen from the plant.  Remove mulch and replace with clean mulch.  Remove any unnecessary vegetation away from the base of the plants.  If you caught it soon enough, apply olive oil or horticulture oil to the leaves and rub away the mildew.  It may leave black spots if the mildew has been on the leaf for a while.

 I read somewhere that one plant can generate 100,000 spores in just one day so catching it early is best. 

Here are some other tips for fighting Powdery Mildew:

- Keep the area under the plant free from fallen leaves and debris
- Limit watering just to prevent the plant from wilting (don’t overwater)
- Water in the morning hours
- Move the plants to a sunnier location
- Give plants plenty of room to grow

Here is a recipe for a homemade fungus fighter:

Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 quart of warm water in a small plastic spray bottle. Add 1/2 teaspoon of either liquid dish soap or insecticidal soap to help the solution cling to the foliage. Spray infected plants thoroughly on both sides of the leaves every 5 to 10 days.

Past Newsletters online
Did you miss a newsletter?  We have put all the newsletters on the website.  It's on the left side of the website.

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 U of W. They are gathering 5,000 signatures to show support for the mission of the conservancy. Please let me know if you're interested in my sending you a petition to gather the signatures. I will return the petitions returned to the OAN (Oregon Association of Nurseries) and they will forward them to the Conservancy.

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 Collection. 

Please mail your donation to:

Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA  30309

Hydrangea news - upcoming gatherings for Hydrangea Lovers around the country

American Hydrangea Society
(Atlanta, Georgia) - see for membership information
nothing on website

Blue Ridge Hydrangea Society (Western North Carolina)  -  President/Founder: Linda Shapiro  (828) 890-0880
Saturday, October 28, 2006 - Guest Speaker: Mal Condon of Nantucket Hydrangea Farm Nursery     Topic: “Got Hydrangeas”?Place: NC Arboretum Time: 1:00 P.M.

CSRA Hydrangea Society (Aiken, South Carolina and Augusta, GA areas) - Membership questions - Bill Hayes (803)641-1077 at
November meeting: Sid Morris (former agriculture extension agent) "Hydrangeas - Day to Day"

Mid-South Hydrangea Society
(Memphis, Tennessee) -  Membership/Newsletter Caroline Brown 683-9766 or at
nothing planned

Birmingham Hydrangea Society of Alabama (Birmingham, Alabama) - President is Philip Sarris
nothing planned

Aldrige Botanical Garden (Hoover, Alabama) - Lots of other activites this month, too.  Don't miss out!
Friday, October 27 Fall Hydrangea Sale - Members' Preview 2 - 5 p.m.
Members get "pick of the crop" from more than 50 different varieties of hydrangeas including the Snowflake Hydrangea patented by Gardens' founder Eddie Aldridge.
Location:  Aldridge Botanical Gardens, 3530 Lorna Rd., Hoover For more information, call 682-8019 or visit

Saturday, October 28 Fall Hydrangea Sale 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sales opens to the public.  Choose from more than 50 different varieties of hydrangeas including the Snowflake Hydrangea patented by Eddie Aldridge.
Location:  Aldridge Botanical Gardens, 3530 Lorna Rd., Hoover  For more information, call 682-8019 or visit

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 Universtiy 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.   If you're interested in group travel from the NW, please let me know.   I have some friends in the educational travel business that could swing a deal if we have enough interest.

See more on the website at

Free Shipping for October  
For orders over $100, we'll ship your order free!  This is good through the end of October but plants must be shipped this year (2006).  I'm not sure what shipping costs will be next year.
Use the coupon FREE SHIPPING.  Using our coupons are not logical (yes, we're working on that) so as soon as you have $100 of product in your cart, type in the coupon code box FREE SHIPPING.  You only have to fill in it once.  You won't be able to see anything about the free shipping until you check out and enter address and contact information.  Let me know if you have troubles.  I can always adjust it here at my end, revise your order and send you a confirmation.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:  If I root some hydrangeas now, where do I store them over the winter? I live in zone 5. Also, when drying hydrangeas, is it true that the best ones to dry are at the end of the season. Or can they be dried at any time, as long as they are starting to turn a little brown. I know that certain varieties dry easier. Thanks.

A:  Great to hear from you.
You'll have to over winter them somewhere warm - you don't want them to freeze or get dried out so water frequently (every three days or so).  If you have a heated basement or heated garage, that would be best.
Yes, the best ones (in my opinion that is) dry best at the end of the season.  But, it's so hard to protect them from the summer sun burn if you're temperatures peak to the 100s.  We still have hydrangeas blooming here but the best ones for fall (again, my opinion) are the Paniculatas.  They are turning red or pink or burgundy right now all by themselves.
We have 7 days over 100 degrees this year and many of our tried and true dried varieties aren't looking so good.  We had lots of burning this year.  It's time to get some new shade cloth I suppose.  Some of my favorites are General Vicomtesse, Souvenior de Presidente, Goliath, La France, Gertrude Glahn, Mathilda Gutges, Princess Beatrix, just to name a few.  I also have a bank of Glowing embers that usually look fabulous - pink with dark red mixed - but they really suffered this year so they aren't as prolific.
The trick to dried flowers is the center.  I wait until the center begins to change color.  That center eye is typically white but will begin to age pink or blue as the bloom gets older.  It will begin to open a little big on some varieties, too.  Also, besides the center eye color change, you can feel the bloom.  If it's too fresh, they don't dry well so wait until the petals are a little dry to the touch.  I've also been known to use floral spray paint to cover up the browning spots.
Thank you for your questions.  I hope that helps.

Q:  On Martha Stewart's show 9/13/06, she displayed many hydrangea flower heads during a demo of wreath making. She had a great variety and named them as they were shown. I am looking for 2 of the hydrangeas she showed that day. One of them was a white flower with a BLUE CENTER and she said it was Sister Theresa(sp?). The other one I am interested in has multiple colored flowers with EACH little flower speckled with pink, green and purple...supposed to be named Anna Pasquale(sp?). Do you know of these...I tried to search on your site for the 2 names with no results. Please let me know. Thank you for your assistance.

A:  We do grow both the Sister Theresa and the Ami Pasquier.  Do a search, they should both be there.  Just look under Sister or Ami and they should pop right up.  Fabulous varieties!  I just love Martha!  She is our hydrangea poster lady!
Q: I have a large, mature oak leaf type hydrangea that I need to move because it is hogging too much prime territory in its current location. Can this safely be done in October? What procedures do you recommend for Zone 5 (NY)?

A:  I'd wait until spring.  Unless you can do it quickly, that is.  Hydrangeas are pretty hardy plants but they need time to get their roots established before the winter comes (and the ground freezes).  If you think you have 6 to 8 weeks of good weather after your transplanting then I think it's great.  If not, wait until the spring - just before the plant is completely leafed out - April(?).
Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Q:  I bought the above variety (Paniculata Grandiflora) from you about 2 years ago. The plant is in a sunny location in the summer from about 8 in the a.m. until 6 in the evening. It has exhibited good growth and I get many blooms. Within the past month to 6 weeks, the branches are drooping toward the ground as if they were being weighed down. Except for this, the plant looks fine. Is this natural as the plant matures, or is it lacking some nutrients, or would it be something else? (Note that we have had excessive rainfall from about 20 August until now here in south central Pennsylvania).

A:  It is probably the rain that has bent the branches.  That is plenty of sun.  I haven't had this trouble with the Paniculata before but our rain doesn't typically start until October and I usually prune them off for cut flowers by that time.
The plant should get stronger and stronger.  Prune in the fall or the spring (whenever convenient).  I like to prune Paniculatas in the spring after they first start leafing out.  But, you can also do it in the fall.  They bloom on new wood so it shouldn't matter when you prune.  The pruning will help the branches get stronger.

Q:  Hi. I bought my first hydrangea from you 3 years ago (Annabelle) and it's been doing wonderfully. I live in Zone 4. I have never pruned it and am wondering if I should as it's getting quite large and weighted down. Please direct me to a site for "caring for hydrangea" or a response from you would be great. Thank you

A:  Great to hear from you.
Personally, I like to prune Annabelle in the spring.  Wait for it to begin to show green leaves and cut just above the bottom leaf node.  You can also prune in the fall but I've found that spring pruning yields smaller blooms that can hold themselves up much better.
Visit Judith King's website at  There is a great deal of information there as well.

Q:  My hydrangeas hardly bloomed this year in Ohio. I have one large ayeesha, two domotoi, and two others I can't remember the name. The ayeesha has never really bloomed well although the greenery is wonderful on all of them. They face south and get morning and early afternoon sun with late afternoon and evening full shade. What in the heck am I doing wrong. I do not trim them. I feed them. I love them. Wah!

A:  Because you're in Ohio I'm going to guess it's weather related.  Other common reasons you touched on (pruning too much, pruning too late, over feeding, too much shade).
These bloom on old wood so in order to get blooms, the old wood must survive the winter.  Sometimes an early frost (when the plant is still actively growing) or a late spring frost (after warm weather stimulates the plant growth), the old wood is damaged and won't bloom.  It doesn't necessary kill the plant, though.  It just hurts blooms.  Hydrangeas really like gradual changes in weather.  But, who has that?
After leaves begin to drop, I recommend that you cover the plants with burlap.  Bind them with string and put tomato cages around them - fill with leaves.  Cover with large garbage cans and station the can with a large rock or tent stake.  Do you get the idea there?  Protect the plant from the elements.  Uncover in the spring after heavy frosts are over.  You may still need to run outside and cover them with a bed sheet or blanket if temperatures reach a hard frost.
I have one customer in WI that digs her hydrangeas up every fall and puts them in large pots in the garage so that she will have blooms.
I have also been using an anti-transpiration product (like WiltPruf) to protect the plants for frosts and freezes.  unfortunately, it only works for 5 or 10 degrees (found out the hard way).
I hope that helps and gives you some ideas.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®