hydrangea flowering in 5a

v1rtu0s1ty(5a)January 28, 2009

Hi, I went to my friend yesterday to pick up some tools. Anyways, I saw about 6 hydrangeas outside against the unheated garage. I saw the dried spent flowers. I asked him what color the flowers were. He told me that it was color blue. Next, I asked him how old it is. It was 3 years old. Last question I asked him what about the flowering. He said, that it never missed any flowering.

The hydrangeas were planted in the east wall.

This friend of mine doesn't care about plants much at all. He is about 10 miles north of me. So what could be the reason why it still blooms? I read on our Hydra FAQ that in zone 5a, the plant will live but won't flower.


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It probably is one of the "new" varieties of Hydrangea Macrophyllas that bloom on new wood. The Endless Summer Series and the Forever Series are some of the best known examples but there are others.

The FAQ probably needs to be updated to take that development into consideration. By the way, where was this info, v1rtu0s1ty? It could not have been the FAQ of this forum??? That one only talks about color changes.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 7:53PM
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I was told that most hydrangea (not the Anna something) will not flower in my area. I was told that my Cityline Paris needs to be protected or else, there will be no bloom. I remember some mentioned that most Macrophyllas are marginal in 5a.

I might be wrong too. It's possible that someone told me on one of my post.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 3:15AM
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It's true that most varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla - the common blue, pink or white flowering bigleaf hydrangea - will not be reliably bud hardy in zones below 6. And even 6 is somewhat marginal. As Luis mentioned, there are a selection of very cold hardy hydrangeas that bloom on both old AND new growth and he listed several.

There is also a great deal of anecdotal evidence that 'Nikko Blue' will be remontant or produce flowers from new growth, meaning that it could experience bud loss on old growth due to cold damage yet still produce flowers on growth produced that same season. It is very likely that this cultivar is one of the parents of the more cold hardy, reblooming, newer selections on the market.

But in general, most bigleaf hydrangeas in colder climates will require winter protection to ensure no bud loss and a resultant lack of flowers. It's quite possible that your friend has his planted in an area that produces a beneficial microclimate so that the plants are protected from extreme temperatures. Or he could be growing one of the newer cultivars as mentioned, or possibly even a Nikko. Hydrangea arborescens ('Annabelle') and Hydrangea paniculata ('PeeGee', etc.) tend to be very cold hardy AND produce flowers on new growth so are ideal choices for cold climates. But they produce only white flowers (or those tinted with green or pink, depending on age).

Your CityLine hydrangeas will definitely require winter protection :-)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I'm going to call my friend and ask if his wife kept the label. I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 7:30PM
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She said it's Macrophyllas. She remember it's mophead something.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 9:45AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

I bet you that gardengal is right on the money when she said that its location has created a microclimate that is more consistent with a warmer zone.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 10:27AM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

I think your friend stumbled upon the secret of getting macros to flower in our zone. Neglect. The less I knew and the less I did, the more blooms I always got. Once I realized that wasnt suppose to happen and started messing around with winter protection, the plants decided to show me who's boss. lol

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 9:30AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Hey, mehearty, are you coming out of winter hibernation too!? LOL!

Finally, our snow is melting. Oh my goodness, I simply cannot believe that we were completely covered with snow for so many weeks, with an average daily temperature of only 18F for January! This has to be one of the worst winters here so far.

Anyway, you are too funny - sometimes it's true that the less we mess around the better! Certainly that works for MY kind of gardening... LOL

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 4:18PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Yes out of hibernation a little early this year. hehe I've started my annuals a little earlier this year, so I am in the mood for gardening! I was going to cut back on the seedlings this year, but they may be my only flowers this summer. waaaaaaaaaaa It'll be interesting inspecting the damage this spring.

Good to see you!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 4:59PM
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