Confession: I hate 'Endless Summer'

Ispahan Zone6a ChicagoFebruary 18, 2013

Ok guys, I am really not trying to offend anyone, since I know many people have had great success with 'Endless Summer'. I have seen some photos where it looks vigorous, healthy and free-blooming, and perfect for the setting in which it was planted. But in my garden it is a dog and I hate it. It is the only plant I have that makes me cringe every time I see it.

Problem is, I have three very well established specimens, all in a north facing flower bed in front of my home. They were planted by the previous owners. They are HUGE. If all three of them were spread out properly, they could probably take up a lot of the bulk of a city bus. They get partial sun/full sun (depending on the time of year) and the bed has automatic sprinklers, so they never really lack water.

But they are awful! The leaves are huge, some larger than my face, and the clumps are expanding from the base into a horrid thicket. The bloom heads are tiny, and are few and far between. They look ridiculous in comparison to the giant, cabbagey leaves. Not to mention the horrid pale pink color. I do like when they age and "antique" to that deep green with reddish accents phase in the fall, but there are never enough blooms to make an impact. Oh yeah, it seldom dies back to ground here and still manages to produce a lot of new basals from below. But it has absolutely zero rebloom. Grrr.

All in all, it seems to be a very poorly chosen cultivar in an improper setting. I fantasize about ripping them out and shoving them through a wood chipper.

Every time I see them, I can't help but be envious of other hydrangeas that I would like better: 'Limelight', 'Little Lime', 'Annabelle' or 'Incrediball'. Ah, yes, these are the hydrangeas I would have chosen! They would have complemented the house much better and would have been much more floriferous and reliable.

Of the above, I think I would like to replace my awful ES dogs with 'Little Lime'. It would have smaller foliage and a smaller growth habit. Or 'Limelight' because even though it is a larger shrub, it still has much smaller foliage than ES and it can be pruned down every spring and still flower reliably.

What do you all think? I do like hydrangeas. I just want a better one.

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions or advice will be much appreciated.


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I much prefer the Forever & Ever Hydrangeas, especially 'Together'. It has the best double flowers in shades of blue and purple.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 9:25AM
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It sounds like they have taken over. Facing north here mine would do the same. Thats where they were when we bought the house. I moved them to the east side and they are much better. Al

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Dont feel bad about ripping them out as you should be happy with your garden. It sounds to me though that they are either lacking something or have too much of something. Are you feeding them? If so, what and how often? Something else that you can try is cutting them all the way down as they might just be old and need to be rejuvenated. But that experiment might take another year to produce the effects you want and you might just be at the point where you are more than ready to get rid of them.

I have four endless summers - 3 original and 1 blushing bride. My originals were bought at a nusery and were in good health. These girls bloom huge blooms all over the bush and they rebloom as well. I do not winter protect them any longer other than to shovel piles of snow on them. I only water when they need it (they start to slightly wilt or its a Saturday) and i only feed it once in the spring with some bone meal. They are in well amended alkaline soil so they are pink. Other than that i just enjoy looking at them.

My BB was bought at a Walmart or Lowes and it was struggling when I bought it. It still struggles. It is really bushy with strudy stem but the leaves are yellowish and it flowers very little and produces small blooms. I do feed it Iron liquid but it just greens up a bit and then yellows again. Last Spring I moved her to another spot in the bed and discovered that she had one main root and it was a poor straggly one. After two years of "perform or you are out" I will be ripping her out this spring.

I also have Limelight and Little Lime and they also flower really well. However, i would recommend understanding the reason your ES isnt performing well before replacing it as the lime light might not do well in that spot either if the problem is the soil, too much water, etc. also the LL needs more sun than the ES and might not do well in the same spot.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:18AM
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kitteh(6 ohio)

They might just need pruned and to get less nitrogen.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:38PM
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You're not alone ~ but keeping my pair anyway as they were my very first ones (I tend to be loyal). We can't all be perfect, so why not them on their odd seasons!

I have a good collection that pleases me more & enslave to ~ more than make up for ES's sorry DNA!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Not enough sun. You will get small blooms and dinner plate sized leaves every time...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 7:04AM
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I was thinking too much nitrogen. I planted one down hill to my horse manure pile and it was all leaves until I moved it up near the house. Its had so many blooms since then that you can hardly even see the leaves.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:08PM
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