I am tired of my mop heads blooming so late with so few

rouge21_gw(5)May 25, 2014

We have "Blushing Bride" and another unnamed "Endless Summer" hydrangea.

For a year or two we were getting a wonderful display of flowers but the past couple of seasons they have been sparse.

I think it is probably due to the fact that old wood gets killed because of the cold winters we sometimes experience and so we wait and wait for the new growth to put out blooms. (And of course this season will likely be a dud given the epic winter of 2014).

Are there any new varieties of macrophylla that are hardier or at the least bloom sooner on new wood? (Smaller size would be great as well).

(As you all know I love my 'Bobo' (hydrangea paniculata) as it blooms only on new wood before mid July).

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shadeyplace(7)

I could not agree more. My ES used to be nothing but flowers all over. I cut it way back last year and this past summer very few blooms. Naturally this summer I cut it to the ground and just have the green leaves coming from the bottom. I call it Endless Bummer. I have been so disappointed with this one. Blooms on new wood but by the time it blooms it is almost thanksgiving. It will be interesting to see what all of them do this summer having been cut to the ground..I have had no problem with my lacecaps however. they leafed right out to the tips

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 9:55AM
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vivian_2010

My ES hydrangeas died to the ground almost every year. Typically in early spring when they first leaf out, I add a good dose of fertilizer, just the regular kind I use for all my perennials (except roses). I typically get good numbers of blooms. some years bloom starts by mid-late June (last year), some time by mid July (probably this year). I have been pretty happy with them and also the size is not an issue due to the die back in the winter, so biggest they ever get to is ~ 2.5 ft tall and similar spread. Only problem is that they receive more sun they desired (sun from 2-6 pm) and some morning sun so watering is important. I have one ES in the back where it only receives less than 2 hr early morning sun, it is has much more blooms and does not require much water at all.

I don't get to see the blue flowers as my heavy clay soil is more basic. I tried to use organic sulfur but you have to keep applying them so decided not to bother as I do like pink and they go well with the rest of the theme.

Rouge, After seeing your Bobo last year, I ordered 2 from a nursery as I could not find any in the local ones. I planted them as 2 Quarts size last September and now they are just ~ 1 ft tall covered with new growth. Not sure if they will bloom this year but I am hopeful.

Vivian

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:50AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Have you considered Annabelle? I know you're looking for a macrophylla, but I'll tell you - this girl NEVER disappoints!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:14PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Vivian, if you planted last season I am sure you will get blooms from your Bobos this year. I hope you will be as impressed as I was.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:42PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I agree mxk3 that Annabelle is gives lots of white blooms but no matter how I try I cannot get over its floppiness. (I know there are ways to support it but I rather not have to do such).

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:47PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Has anyone had experience with any of the Everlasting series of hydrangeas. I guess I am hoping that they might be superior to ES.

Here is a link that might be useful: Everlasting Hydrangeas

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:50PM
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april_wine(z7 Tennessee)

I have noticed that my ES this Spring has a lot of old wood that new growth is just on the lower level of plant. Is this because of old wood getting killed during Winter? This ES is always very full and has multitude of blooms. But these dead looking sticks sticking out makes the plant look bad. Do you think I can break off the old wood down to where the leaves are?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:57PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have the same issues with my Hydrangeas. All of them are starting out at the bottom this year too. But they have good healthy looking growth started. I will try some fertilizer and more water this year and see if that makes a difference and speeds things up.

Like Rouge, I don't like to provide support so my Annabelle was moved to an out of the way location where I don't care so much about the floppiness.

I have been thinking about getting Bobo. Is that blooming every year regardless of winter temperatures?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 3:57AM
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twixanddud(z5/6 SE Mich)

Instead of Annabelle, I'd recommend Incrediball. I put in some Annabelles at my old house, and while I loved them, they would flop after our first summer thunderstorm and would never recover for the rest of the season. I planted two Incrediballs a few years ago after we moved to a new house and would definitely say that they are a much improved Annabelle.

Little Lime is a nice hydrangea that is a smaller version of Limelight and is larger than Bobo.

All of these bloom on new wood and can be pruned back in the spring as far as you want to.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 5:33AM
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shadeyplace(7)

I agree with floppiness of Annabelle, but how can incrediball not flop when the flowers are so much larger? Stiffer stems?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:28AM
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twixanddud(z5/6 SE Mich)

The stems/branches are stronger on Incrediball. I think the size of the Incrediball flowers are overstated - at least in my experience, they are not larger than Annabelle. I have never measured them, but I'd say they are more like 8 inches, not 12.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:51AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I have been thinking about getting Bobo. Is that blooming every year regardless of winter temperatures?

That is the beauty of "Bobo" ie it blooms only on new wood so regardless of winter extremes (assuming the plant survives the winter) you will get the same show every summer!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 9:24AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Shadeyplace, I laughed out loud when I read your "Endless Bummer", lol! Clever! (if disappointing).

I planted an Incrediball last year. Thought it didn't make it but I finally saw some growth on it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I either lost most of my hydrangeas or had serious damage to them after this winter.

Dee

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 3:39PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

UPDATE:

My two ES are now green and large having started from scratch, right from the ground this spring. And so all the blooms are coming on new growth and right now I can count on one hand the blooms that will happen this season :(.

They bushes take up too much valuable real estate to give only a few blooms in those seasons following a cold winter. Now if I could just persuade my partner to let me replace them.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:10AM
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shadeyplace(7)

this is going to be a very disappointing summer for all hydrangeas I fear...except the paniculatas and my lacecaps. My ES are also just green and with NO blooms so far. I will leave them and hope for a better year next summer.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:58AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I can't evaluate all my hydrangeas because I moved three of them in the spring and they are still settling in, but I did notice today that Madame Emile Mouillere Hydrangea is really doing well. we moved it to an East facing location with less sun than it had and it's settling in very well. And we had to cut it back to basal foliage when we moved it and I now see there are two blooms on it! I like this Hydrangea a lot. It blooms on old and new wood and the white blooms are very pretty with an edge to the petals that reminds me of pinking shears. It also has very colorful autumn foliage.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 2:11PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

UPDATE:

So here is our "Endless Summer" as of today.

It is at least 4 feet by 4 feet with 4 blooms on the entire plant.

Great flowers but not nearly enough for the real estate it takes up.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:15PM
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shadeyplace(7)

That us THREE more blooms than I have. Absolutely NONE on my other ones

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:36PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Rouge, just a thought, have you ever given your hydrangeas a feed or two of Sulphate of Potash during the growing season? If you haven't it might be worth a try. Here in the PNW our winters are unpredictable, in a harsh winter we can get die back so I alway leave the spent flowers on until the following march and then prune down to the first pr. viable buds.

Annette

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:32PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

'aftermidnight' I actually don't supplementally feed this plant.

You think that doing such would result in more blooms (on the new wood)?

This may seem like a basic hydrangea question but if a plant blooms on new and old wood then shouldn't my plant pictured have blooms on all this new wood? Or is the problem that it may take too long to develop such flowers?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:42PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

I always have blooms on Forever & Ever 'Together' and 'Twist 'n Shout.'

Instead of Annabelle or Incrediball, I'd get Hydrangea arborescens 'Hayes Starburst.' It is awesome.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:37PM
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vivian_2010

Rouge, Just saw your update on hydrangea ES. I have very different experience this year. My ES's completely died to the ground. They came back very bushy and covered with blooms since late June. I took pictures for 2 of them. This has been the best year for blooming since I planted them 5 years ago. I also did not fertilize them as they are under a locust tree and I did not want to create root competition by just fertilizing the hydrangeas.

Sorry about the light/picture quality as it is dark outside. Also this was taken with iphone so you can click the picture to see the right orientation of the picture

Hydrangea #1

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:53PM
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vivian_2010

hydrangea #2

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:55PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Rouge, I must not of hit the submit button so once more :). It was just a thought, Sulphate of Potash has helped promote blooms in other plants and thought it was worth a try.

Annette

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:12AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Wow! Outstanding 'vivian'. I am jealous ;).

And those are blooms from only new wood...impressive.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:02AM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

Grow H. paniculata or H. arborescens in colder climates. The macrophylla hydrangeas do not fare well here. We grow a lot of hydrangea, and H. paniculata never disappoints. Many of them are in bloom now, The macrophyllas are a waste of space - lots and lots of healthy green growth and few to no blooms. They ripen on old wood, which is difficult in our climate. H. paniculata blooms on new wood and they are very easy and reliable.
It's the same with clematis - choose clematis that forms its buds and blooms on new wood. Other varieties -with the exception of Clematis alpina and Clematis macropetala- do not fare well.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:44AM
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shadeyplace(7)

It was this past horrible winter that killed them all to the ground. I was assuming that the Endless BUMMER would bloom since it is supposed to on new wood. NOTHING so far, not even buds. So with 40+ Hydrangeas, this summer has no blooms except on the paniculatas and Annebelle.
Actually, all my lacecaps bloomed. Go figure.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:53AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I opted for 'Annabelle' years ago because I wanted to avoid the hit or miss blooming cycle of Japanese Hydrangea. 'Annabelle' is such a reliable bloomer. BUT after 15 years, all of them began to send out suckers. This year I finally was fed up with its floppiness and suckering, so I dug out one entire clump and cut down another to the ground. I am going to dig up this clump this weekend. It can go to a friend's house in the far, far suburb. He has plenty of room for it.

I'll keep just one clump. And if I can't stand it, next year it will have to go.

This post was edited by pitimpinai on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 20:00

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:57PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I had a couple of "Annabelles" a few years ago but I couldn't abide the flopping and we wanted a non white flower.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:56PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

The macrophylla hydrangeas do not fare well here.

And yet our ES looked like this for 3 years running ie 2009 to 2011. It has been beautiful green in the 3 years since then. What a tease.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:26PM
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green_go

I have ES growing in 2 different places: one is on the Notrh-East side of the house and another one is on the West-facing side.
And they are so different that almost feels like 2 different varieties.
This is how ES from West side looks like (it is smaller, leaves are somewhat paler, but blooms reliably every year):

And this is my ES from the Notrh-East side. In fact , these are 3 hydrangeas planted in a row. They are much taller, with dark-green leaves and have fewer flowers between three of them than the one growing on the West side. Also, their flowers are mostly hidden in the foliage. These ones get more attention than their sister: they get fertilized with liquid 20-20-20 at least once a month, while the one above gets a handful of granular fertilizer in spring and thatâÂÂs it:

This post was edited by green_go on Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 22:24

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:20PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks for your post 'green go'. I always like reading posts detailing one's experience with the same plant in two different locations on one's property.

UPDATE:

I got the ok from my partner to remove the ES in question as long as I kept the nearby but equally unproductive "Blushing Bride" hydrangea.

I will replace ES with the lace cap "Tuff Stuff".

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:17AM
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