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Tag Archives: Hydrangea

  • Reblooming Shrubs: Get More Mileage in the Garden

    Shrubs are the foundation plants of the landscape--they're what connects the lawn at ground level to the trees above our heads. They fill the space in between and serve as anchors for foundation plantings around the house. Often they are overlooked or chosen simply because they will top out at a particular size, or because they can be trimmed into a hedge. They're not always chosen for their spectacular blooms or the pizzazz they can add to the garden, which is a shame. If you choose shrubs wisely you can enjoy as colorful flowers all summer long from shrubs as you can from flowering annuals.

    And--bonus--you don't have to re-plant shrubs every year!

    To get the most bang for your buck, plant reblooming shrubs. Here are some of our favorites.

    Reblooming Shrubs from ShrubSource

    Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Buddleia

    Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Buddleia

    This is one of our favorite little shrubs. You can plant it as a border plant in landscape beds or as a specimen plant in the perennial garden. Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Buddleia is small enough to serve as a thriller plant in a large container, or as a stand-alone specimen in a smaller container.  It blooms continuously throughout the summer, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and is deer-resistant.

     

     

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    Bloom-A-Thon® Lavender Azalea

    You can enjoy azalea blooms throughout the entire season with Bloom-A-Thon® Lavender Azaleas planted in your shrub border or landscape bed. These shrubs have evergreen foliage and bloom on old growth. You can lightly prune after flowering, but they are rather compact in their growth habits so they need little pruning.

    These are the perfect plants for your shade gardens. They need some sunlight, but prefer not to bake in hot afternoon sun.

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    Let's Dance® Rhapsody Blue Hydrangea

    Let's Dance® Rhapsody Blue Hydrangea blooms with huge pom poms of flowers on a compact plant. The flowers are naturally pink but can be turned blue by lowering the pH of the soil. This Bigleaf Hydrangea blooms on new and old growth, so it's virtually impossible to cut off the flowers.

    It also ensures that you'll enjoy big and beautiful flowers throughout the summer and into fall.

     

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    Sonic Bloom™ Pearl Weigela

    Sonic Bloom™ Pearl Weigela is a gorgeous flowering specimen plant that blooms from early spring through frost. Weigela plants are another shrub that is underutilized in the landscape, and it's a shame because few other flowering shrubs provide such a showy bloom for so long.

    This fast-growing, trouble-free shrub can be pruned back after the first spring bloom to control size and encourage re-blooming.

     

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    Bloomerang® Dark Purple Syringa 

    Bloomerang® Dark Purple Syringa is a re-blooming lilac. Yes-you read that correctly! You can now enjoy the fragrance and beauty of lilacs all summer long. This lilac has a compact growth habit, topping out at 4-5 feet in height, so every garden has room for one (or three)!

  • Understanding Hydrangea Choices

    Hydrangeas are some of the most beloved garden shrubs, but are also among the least understood. Does the Hydrangea bloom on new growth or old growth? Should you prune it in the spring, summer, or fall? Why is it pink when it is supposed to be blue?

    Before we can answer the questions about pruning and color, it helps to understand a bit about the types of Hydrangeas you can buy.

    Hardy Hydrangea

    Limelight HydrangeaMany Hydrangea shrubs set flower buds in the fall for a bloom the next spring. This means that the flowers have to live through cold weather, not be pruned at the wrong time, and survive spring temperature swings.

    The Hardy Hydrangea group is newer but much beloved because these shrubs form flowering buds at the beginning of the summer. It is almost impossible not to enjoy a gorgeous bloom from these shrubs each year.

    These shrubs grow well in full sun to partial shade in zones 3-9 and have flower clusters in shades of pink and white. The popular Limelight Hydrangea is part of this group.

    Lacecap Hydrangea

    Lacecap hydrangeaLacecap Hydrangeas are so named because of their flowers. Typical Hydrangea flowers with large petals or bracts form a ring around smaller lacy flowers to create a unique and beautiful bloom. These plants bloom on old wood, so do not prune after August.

    Plants can be leggy when you purchase them, so spend some time pinching back the shrubs to achieve a full, branching growth habit.

    Lacecap Hydrangeas grow best in gardens in zones 5-9. They are susceptible to cold weather, so take care to plant in a protected spot. Most Lacecaps reach heights of 2-4 feet and flower in shades of pink and white.

    Mophead Hydrangea

    Let's Dance® Blue JanglesEveryone loves Mophead Hydrangeas. In fact, when you picture a Hydrangea flower, you're probably picturing a Mophead. They have the large, pom-pom sized flowers in shades of white, pink, blue, or purple. They're popular as part of bridal bouquets and wedding flowers.

    The flower color of many of these plants is dependent on the pH of the soil where they live. Alkaline or neutral soils will produce pink blooms and acidic soils will produce blue blooms.

    Mophead Hydrangeas grow well in zones 5 – 9 and will produce well in sun to partial shade. They need moist soil and bloom in mid summer through late fall.

    Mountain Hydrangea

    Mountain hydrangeaMountain Hydrangeas give lots of flowers from a little package. These small wonders are 2-3 feet in height and spread with lacy purplish-white blooms. Gardeners with limited space love these petite powerhouse bloomers. The small shrubs are covered in flowers from summer through fall.

    Currently we offer two varieties for sale. They both grow well in full sun to partial shade. They rebloom throughout the summer, including on new growth so you can't possibly cut off all of the flowers.

    Perfect for landscape beds and containers!

    Oakleaf Hydrangea

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    Oakleaf Hydrangeas are native summer-blooming shrubs that truly stand out in the landscape.

    Unlike other Hydrangeas, Oakleaf Hydrangeas need drier soil in order to thrive. Do you have a woodland garden? It isn't complete without at least one Oakleaf Hydrangea.

    Oakleaf Hydrangeas are hardy in zones 5 – 9 with average to dry soil. The average height at maturity is 5 – 6 feet while some varieties can get as tall as 10 feet.

    Don't miss the new "Gatsby's" series Oakleaf Hydrangeas. Gatsby's Star™ Oakleaf Hydrangea has truly stunning star-shaped flowers.

    Smooth Hydrangea

    Invincibelle™ Spirit HydrangeaThis large and lovely Hydrangea has pink blooms at the end of erect stems. It is a rebloomer and flowers on new wood, so you can't cut off the flowers.

    Hardy in zones 3-9. Prune after flowering or in the early spring if you need to control size.

    How about Flower Color?

    A big mystery of Hydrangeas is flower color. How do you get blue flowers if you live in the west or pink flowers in the east? Some hydrangea varieties' flowers are not affected by soil pH, but others are. Read the description of the plant you're buying to see if the one you want is affected by pH. Soil pH affects the amount of aluminum the plants can take up and that affects the color. More aluminum = more of a blue color. Aluminum is more available to plants at a pH of 5.2-5.5. You can lower the soil pH by adding Aluminum Sulfate. You can raise the pH by adding garden lime.

    White hydrangea flowers will not turn colors. Only pink or blue flowers can be changed. (And then, only some of those flowers can be changed.)

  • Why Won't My Hydrangeas Bloom?

    Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 8.28.30 PMWe get more questions from people about why their hydrangeas aren't blooming than about almost anything else. When hydrangeas bloom there's nothing prettier. When they don't, there's almost nothing more frustrating.

    The secret to success with hydrangeas is fairly straightforward:

    Know what type of hydrangea you have and care for it accordingly.

    There are many different types of hydrangeas (23 species), including hardy, mophead (also known as bigleaf), oakleaf, smooth, lacecap etc. and so on. It is helpful if you know what type of hydrangea you have so that you will know whether it blooms on old or new growth.

     

    Hydrangea coming out of dormancyOld growth: Last year's growth (that survived the winter). In the picture, right, the old growth is brown and looks like dead twigs. You can just see the green leaves of buds breaking at the tips of some of the stems.

    New growth: This year's growth. The new growth is green. You can see entire new stems sprouting at the bottom of the shrub near the ground.

    A shrub that blooms on old growth will not bloom if you cut off the old growth in the winter or spring prior to bloom.

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    When a shrub looks like nothing but sticks (and everything else has already leafed out), the temptation is great to hack it all back to the new green leaves sprouting from near the ground. DON'T DO IT! Let the plant leaf out. Once it is nice and full and green, THEN you can assess damage.

    The twig pictured, left, most likely has some winterkill on it. The buds on the top of the twig have turned brown and/or fallen off. About four inches down, the buds have started to break.

    I won't prune the dead out of this shrub until is is nice and fully leafed out.

    So, just because you managed to resist the urge to prune your hydrangea back to the ground when the weather warmed up doesn't mean you're in the clear.

    Even if the entire plant isn't killed back to the ground during the winter, the flower buds can be damaged by late spring freezes. Bigleaf hydrangeas (mopheads), in particular, suffer from this type of damage. If the plants break dormancy during a warm spell that is followed by a cold snap, flower buds can be damaged, which will cause the plants to have fewer flowers. (Or no flowers, depending on how significant the damage is.)

    Other Issues Disrupting Blooming

    Let's Dance® Blue JanglesIn addition to cold damage, improper pruning and lack of light can affect hydrangea blooms. The best time to prune any plant is right after it flowers. If you prune right after flowering, you can't cut off the flowers. Hydrangeas are no exception.

    Even hydrangeas that bloom on old and new growth (such as the Let's Dance® series-Blue Jangles pictured, right) are safe to prune right after flowering. If a hydrangea blooms on new growth, it's possible that you could prune in early spring, but it is safer to prune after blooming.

    Sunlight is another contributing factor in lack of bloom. Most hydrangeas grow best in partial to full shade, and need more shade the hotter the area where they're planted. Panicle hydrangeas, such as the Limelight Hydrangea, need more sun in order to flower. They don't like full hot afternoon sun, but plant them in the shade flowering will be greatly reduced.

    Have questions about hydrangeas? Ask them on our Facebook Page!

  • Living in the Limelight!

    hydrangea-limelight-35252.1355842934.300.300-1-This hardy hydrangea has a bountiful harvest of the best blooms ever! Limelight is by far a beauty in the garden, with its gigantic blooms and array of color. Limelight, in mid summer starts out as an “eye catching” lime green, and turns into a pure white color and ending in the fall with a magnificent color of pink. Limelight, makes great dried or cut flower arrangements. Limelight’s height can reach as high as 6 to 8 feet high. So, this beauty can set the stage in anyone’s garden with it’s great structure. Pruning limelight is best done in the late fall or early spring. Hardy Limelight is also very true to the name and is hardy all the way down to zone 3.

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