Why was Endless Summer hydrangea rated as 'zone 3b' hardy?

ostrich(3a AB)June 2, 2012

I saw some beautiful Endless Summer hydrangeas at Canadian Tire yesterday. They were in those signature 5 gallon blue pots and full of buds. When I looked at the label, it stated that it was hardy to "zone 3b"? Really? I thought it was really more like zone 5???

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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I've mentioned this before, but according to the Seasonal Manager at our Canadian Tire, we're "a mix of zone 3 and zone 5". Must be the reason! LOL

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:48PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Oh! He must have meant Canada as a whole! ROTFLOL!

Where is the "zone 5" area in Calgary!? I should have bought a home there!!! :-)

Seriously, I was struggling a little bit with Endless Summer when I lived in Zone 5 before. I don't know how they would do here in Calgary.... probably very poorly. This zone 3 gardening business here now makes my previous zone 5 gardening seem like tropical gardening then!!! LOL

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:51PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I'm not in Calgary - i'm in NWOntario, and there is DEFINITELY no zone 5 here! LOL Maybe in Calgary, you can get a zone 5 between a couple of highrises!

I was asking him why they had brought in trees that were zone 5 and 6 and would they guarantee them. He wasn't very happy that i was questioning that!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:58PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

marcia, I also saw lots of zone 5 plants and shrubs for sale here in Calgary - I thought that was most irresponsible and deceptive!!! Many of us would read the labels but I am sure that most people do not look for the zone hardiness of the plants and shrubs that they buy. Actually, many labels do not even list their zone hardiness. It's just awfully bad practice...

BTW, I saw some macrophyllas in 3 gallon pots at Home Depot today - oh, and they called them "hardy hydrangeas"!!! Then when I read the label, it says that it's hardy to "-10C"!!! ROTFLOL!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:02PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I think the suppliers don't differentiate which area is which zone - they just sent the same thing to all the Canadian Tires or Walmarts or Home Depots. And you're right, a lot of people just don't know about zones and if they see "hardy" they assume that it's hardy here.

-10! LOL It would be dead by November!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:14PM
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I have an aquaintance whose wife looked after the garden centre at a canadian tire in a zone 5a/4b. She worked very hard to earn her hort diploma part time while she was doing it. She finally quit because of all the crazy things they brought in there! They kept having to replace these evergreens from out west that weren't hardy here and she just gave up. She had no say in what plants were brought in to sell and it made it very difficult for her. Don't shoot the messenger. Someone higher up than them needs to go!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:51PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I told someone who was working there that the trees in question weren't hardy here. She had no idea about it and sent a manager over to see me. A manager would have a say, wouldn't they? Maybe, maybe not. He was pretty snarky about it, which is why i questioned him further - he was trying to sound knowledgable and really had no clue. It's too bad they don't hire people who know something about gardening - there are a few who do, but most don't. And it's really a shame how they treat their plants. :(

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:18PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

marcia, since they don't take good care of the plants, that's why I try to go there as soon as they have a shipment, before they start to go bad!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:31PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Good plan! I've performed a few rescues myself!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:46PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Yeah, it makes me sad. I actually get watery eyes sometimes when I see plants get mishandled at places like that! I think I give too much of an identity to plants, LOL. All these little seedlings that were started and had every ability to perform and be beautiful and do what they were bred to do, and they struggle on through a bunch of neglect and mistreatment and then a bunch of them wind up in the garbage to die. *tear*

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:46PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Just being the devil's advocate, but I like that I can buy iffy plants and take the chances with winter protection. It would suck if I couldn't buy hybrid tea roses, and they are rated zone 6, but that's came hardiness not crown hardiness. I also have a wegelia that should be zone 5 and it's doing great, no dieback and it's about to bloom.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:32PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I have an area that i'm sure would be good for zone-pushing too, but i went and planted those darn hollyhocks there. If they weren't so pretty.....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:49PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

northspruce, you have an excellent point. Actually, thinking about it, I did want to baby a tender hybrid tea in my backyard too, so I do want that availability.

So what would be very helpful though, is for these stores to clearly label the plants' zone hardiness, and don't put up signs like "hardy hydrangeas" by the -10C tolerant macrophylla hydrangeas... LOL

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Some people are willing to push the zones, especially if they have a microclimate in their yard. I can see doing that with some perennials or small shrubs. When it comes to trees and large shrubs, I think that's not right, how are you supposed to protect it for the winter? I saw a Japanese Maple and a Porcelain Vine at my Canadian Tire a couple of years ago! I tend not to coddle my plants, so if they make it, good...I might take a chance on something outside my zone if it was on clearance.

Btw, I actually know someone who is growing a regular hydrangea (macrophylla) in Saskatoon.


I think weigela is hardier than we think. I'm in Saskatoon and I had one in a pot overwinter (forgot to plant it last year). The one in the ground came back too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:45AM
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Endless summer is a rather nice dieback shrub in anything colder than zone 6b. It will still flower but don't expect it to grow like the ones in Vancouver.

I expect it would be hardy to zone 3 if it's under a nice insulating blanket of snow. No snow?....expect -30 to be about it's drop dead point.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 5:51PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

smivies, I actually lived in zone 5a before I moved to Calgary last year. I had an Endless Summer hedge then. It actually did not die back much at all. However, the blooms were not that reliable - one year, I would get a ton of blooms then some other years I would only get a few. I pruned them correctly right after their blooms too, so it was not me... :-)

I am not so sure about their new wood blooming abilities... seems to be much less reliable than blooming on the old wood.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Hah, I planted an euonymus (Emerald 'N' Gold) from HD last year that was rated zone 5, it came through with flying colors. Even stayed mostly evergreen. :P

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Just enjoying my morning coffee and it has finally stopped raining and the sun is out, here in Barrie.
Some good morning reading here
I find our Canadian Tire stores locally do not carry as much selection of plants as they used to
They did use to have lots of those little potted perenial plants and then mark them down even 75% off
But this year and last there are not really any interesting perenicals in the smaller pots

I think you are quite correct about the plant department of Canadian Tire That mostly the staff taking care of it do not know much about plants and that having a garden centre for them is really not a money maker, at least not the plants but just something that all the stores have.
Maybe in some stores there is better care, but I expect plants themselves are not that much of a money maker for Canadian Tire.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:57AM
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@ostrich, You must have lived in a region with lots of snow that buried the hedge? In my personal experience, for the years with lots of snow, I had lots of blooming on old wood. Years without sufficient snow resulted in dieback to the snow line and fewer blooms overall despite its ability to flower on new wood.

I read a horticulture paper a few years ago that tested H. macrophylla wood hardiness. Endless Summer was the least hardy (about -19C) and Dooley was among the most hardy (about -25C) if I remember correctly. Minimum temperature tolerance was best in mid-winter and worst in late fall & early spring.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:06AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

smivies, I was indeed in an area with a lot of snow cover, and the ES were planted next to a foundation in a very sheltered area, so they really did very well over the winters. However, the new wood blooming power was just not as great as advertised.

Here's what it looked like - see, I really miss it... sigh!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 3:15PM
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