Weigela or Hydrangea?

MeganF(z7 VA)March 17, 2004

I would like your opinion on whether I should put in a variegated weigela or a hydrangea for zone 7 (very close to Washington D.C.) It would be a specimen plant.

I have a small (townhouse) front yard facing north with full sun, good ol' Virginia clay/construction leftovers, and a $20 gift certificate for Spring Hill Nursery burning a hole in my pocket. The specific varieties I'm looking at are (weigela) W. Florida 'Variegata' and (hydrangea) H. macrophlla 'Homigo'. (Or 'Hobella', but I've got blues in the siberian iris so I'd rather go w/ the Homigo.)

There is space for either plant assuming a 5' spread. I'm just not sure which one might do better in this area. (What I *really* wanted was a lilac, but I've already been told those don't do well here.) I can double-dig the clay if necessary - already did so on the 3' x 20' bed, which nearly killed me. Or I could build up with timber or cottage stone to make a raised bed for it. Or both.

A few considerations are that I don't want to use any chemicals -- I sometimes grow veggies/herbs right out there in the front yard -- and I am somewhat allergic to bees. That right there has me leaning a little toward the hydrangea, but the weigela looks so lovely... and from what I can tell, it's also is bird-friendly, and I like that aspect too.

As far as I can tell (I'm not a very experienced gardener) either of these plants would do alright here. I just don't know if there are any hidden considerations that I am missing.

Sorry if I'm sopping up bandwidth; any responses will be greatly appreciated.

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The big questions to ask here is if the area is mostly sunny and how well drained is the site? If it's sunny and well drained then Weigelia would be a better choice, if it's kind of shady and/or rather damp Hydrangea would be happier. HTH

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 5:35PM
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MeganF(z7 VA)

The area gets full sun almost all day long, but due to the clay it's not extremely well drained (though I figured on digging in some compost.) On the other hand, it's not overly wet, either.

I had to use the coupon since it was going to expire, so yesterday I ordered the Hydrangea. I suppose I could put it in the backyard if it really wants shade, but that's *full* shade back there, all day long, under several mature trees - perhaps too shady (?)

Hm, maybe I should call in the morning and attempt to change my order... Thank you for your feedback!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2004 at 1:12AM
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I would suggest amending the planting hole with plenty of organic matter and don't forget to dig the width at least twice the size of the rootball. It will struggle mightily in unamended clay. Hydrangeas also appreciate a substantial mulch to preserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Pay close attention to watering and you might find great success. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2004 at 8:52AM
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