Hydrangeas – A Favorite Summer Annual
For years hydrangeas have been the sweetheart of the American garden, illuminating the summer landscape with huge masses of blooms that make everyone admire them. The same holds true today. Traditional hydrangeas usually bloom strong for about a month starting anywhere from June through July and into August. Today the new varieties such as the Endless Summer series will start in mid-June and continue blooming right through until the first frost!
The hydrangea varieties available now in this great plant are the Original Endless Summer which produces blue or pink flowers depending on your soil. Alkaline soil will produce pink flowers, while acidic soil will produce blue flowers. Blushing Bride produces pure white flowers that mature to a pink blush. Twist-n-Shout is the first lace-cap re-blooming hydrangea that produces pink flowers, and finally new for 2011 Bella Anna which produces amazing magenta pink blooms. All varieties have strong sturdy stems and attractive dark foliage. Plant them in moist well drained soil. They do not like full hot sun but need at least 4-6 hours of sun to bloom well. This is why they work great in morning or filtered sunlight. Their mature height is anywhere from 4-5 feet high. Consistent deadheading will help the blooming period. Traditional Hydrangeas bloom off of new growth only. The Endless Summer Series blooms off of not only new growth but the previous year’s growth as well, which means they don’t have to be pruned as heavy.
Beneficial characteristics of the Endless Summer Series of hydrangeas are its very long bloom time, their ability to bloom off of not only new growth but last year’s old growth, they are great cutting flowers, and do amazing in containers.
Planting And Caring For Hydrangea
When first planting Hydrangea Endless Summer, incorporate into the soil rich compost such as Bumper Crop, along with some peat moss. This will provide a perfect soil foundation for new plants that can retain water and nutrients. To help in drought conditions use Espoma Bio-tone soil conditioner with beneficial mycorrhizae. This will help establish a large healthy root system. Hydrangeas are not heavy feeders so too much fertilizer with high nitrogen stimulates foliage at the expense of flowers. Use slow release organic fertilizer once in spring and again in August.
Even though most of us think of our sweet little old grandmothers when we think of hydrangea, don’t let these beauties fool you. Prepare yourself for a flowering shrub that will charge its way to the front of your “favorites” list.