Friday, February 11, 2011

I love my Hydrangeas

There is just something so beautiful about these flowers. The fullness of a bloom, the stunning colors, the playfulness of the long stems. The unpredictability of what color you can get on one plant! I love them as a fresh-cut or dried arrangement. But most of all, I love them decorating my yard.
All in all I have 12 Hydrangeas, ranging in all sorts of sizes, colors, shapes and health. They are all the same type, regular old mophead. On my property they are in all areas of sun and shade, moist and dry soil, a real variance in how to care for them individually. Can make it a little tricky, as what works for one, may not work for another. This could be the reason I have lost a few?
So I guess I should address the health of them first. I believe most if my Hys came from the previous owners grandfather. Most of them seem to be well established and over 6ft tall. The year we moved in they were doing great, this was about 4yrs ago. Since then I have lost one of the huge ones out the front, two white ones from down the east side and have given one away to make room for a playground. Not sure what caused the three to die, it is indeed very sad!
I also have some that seem to flower and put out more greenery every year. There is one that usually gets a dozen or so blooms while others produce over a hundred.

So far what I have learnt....
  • They love lots of water, moist ground is there favorite. This may of been why I list two if the white ones.
  • They love part sun to sun, i have 3 that get the full afternoon sun, this tends to brown the flowers and require more water to keep them happy.
  • They don't like competition. This may of been why the third one died as it was in a very crowded spot in the yard, under a fruit and a lilac tree. Not to mention a self-seeded cotton wood.
  • They like to be deadheaded after the last frost of winter. The deadheads I believe protect the new buds from being burnt.
  • Deadhead them when it's a little warmer and the first signs of spring, I usually do it when I see my tulips start to sprout up.
  • Deadhead them just above where there are two new shoots together, leaving about half an inch of stem above.
What I would like to learn this year:
What makes them sick with black spot?
How to protect the blooms from burning?
What caused my three dead ones to die? So I can try and prevent it from happening again =(
    To make your blooms turn a specific color (except white, unfortunately bleach in the soil does not turn them white, you have to buy a white hydrangea)
    For blue add:
    • Aluminum sulfate, 3 to 4 Tablespoons per gallon of water, applied 2 times, 2 weeks apart, 4 to 6 months prior to blooming.
    • You can also add egg shells, coffee grinds, ground-up Orange or Grapefruit peels
    For pink add:
    • Add dolomic lime, 3-8 cups around the base of a large plant (less around a small one) 2 or 3 times between the blooming seasons.
    • Or try a bit of superphosphate around the base of the plant.
    For purple add:
    • I have NO! apparently its hard to do. I have one out the front that is the deepest of deep purples. But honestly I have no idea how it got that way, neither do those online!
    I have even had blooms with multi colored heads, pink and blue on the same stem, crazy!

    I know its winter, so its the worst time to take pics, but wanted to show them during the dormant stage and will update with growth phase pics in summer. These are my babies...

    #1 This one is usually a pale blue and gets the most west sun, very water logged area and as you can see gets hundreds of blooms.

    #2 In the same front garden as above, but a little more protected from the western sun. Usually a deep purple. One of the biggest.

    #3 Rest in peace. This was my first to die. Also out the front in the corner garden under a fruit tree. Was a beautiful pink/red

    #4 Also located in the same garden. This one is my tallest. Easily over 8ft tall, pink/red produces lots of blooms

    #5 This one is up on a retaining wall and did not get enough water last year. Am hopping it will bud soon. One of my sick whites :(

    #6 One of the prettiest colors ever, very royal blue almost turquoise. East side of house gets morning sun, retaining wall garden, maybe too much drainage?

    #7 pretty blue that seems to be doing well, all the same conditions as #6

    #8 Rest in peace :( this one was my most absolute favorite! Pure white/pale green so pretty. Lost it last summer, I think due to lack of water?

    #9 Baby blue and very happy (knock on wood!) this one is in a west facing garden in the back yard. Afternoon sun shaded by the plum tree. Next to the playground. Has taken punishment but is going strong.

    #10 this is one of my rather pathetic looking ones. Never gets a full bloom or lots of new growth. Also Lanky and sparse.

    #11 North garden gets morning sun in late spring/summer. Pretty blue/pink it can't make up it's mind! Is doing better every year. Filling out, used to be like #10.

    #12 My last one, this is the only one planted on the west of my property protected by being planted on the east side of the fence. It's a little crowded. Produces a beautiful white, seems really happy, moist soil.

    Let's see how they do this year! Fingers crossed for a healthy happy, hydrangea year in the Northwest!!!!

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    Thanks for stopping by and reading my latest post! I love sharing my gardening adventures and reading your wonderful comments. Happy digging...Cheers Julia!!

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