Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hydrangea Basics

Among the fall colors I have to include the drying hydrangeas. Many of them actually dry right on the plant without turning brown and can be cut and brought in the house. 

It seems like every year there is one question that people keep asking me about their gardens and this year is was about hydrangeas. Specifically hydrangeas that aren't blooming.  I just ask them a very simple question. Did you cut them back last winter while they were dormant? Inevitably they say yes, often proudly that they kept up with what they perceive to be annual maintenance.  But you can't cut back traditional hydrangeas in the winter without cutting off the next year's blooms. Hydrangeas bloom on last year's growth, so when they are bare and terrible looking in the winter, they are filled with flower buds and if you cut them back you are removing all the next year's flowers. The best time to cut back a hydrangea (although you never really need to) is right after they bloom in early summer when there is still time for them to grow and form buds the rest of the summer. I advise people to plant their hydrangeas where the dormant plant blends in with other plants and is not in a spot where bare sticks coming out of the ground for a few months in the winter will bother them. 

That being said, there are some new varieties on the market that bloom on old and new growth and will continue to bloom all summer even when you cut the dormant stems or flowers. They are the Endless Summer Collection and I have planted a few of them and am very happy with them. They happily bloom all summer even when I cut them to bring inside for arrangements.

1 comment:

Goneferal inidaho said...

Thanks for sharing. We got one of the endless summer types on sale from our local nursery and I was unsure of what to do with it. Perfect timing.