Disease resistant Hydrangea and size Questions

NatsuFebruary 29, 2012

Need some help I am trying to grow a hydrangea garden with just rebloomers, disease resistant and new cultivars. There seems to be a great deal of misinformation on the web as to what finished plant sizes are, also the level of disease resistance and sun tolerance.

I have a few macs just randomly picked up when this garden project started. Now I am finding out all kinds of issues that are possible with a few plants. I know that a plant should be fine as long as disease conditions are not available. Just want the added protection of disease resistance so one sick plant won't ruin the whole investment.

So far I have Pia, Endless Summer original, Blushing Bride, Glowing Embers, All Summer Beauty, F&E Together, Limelight, Vanilla Strawberry, Pinky Winky and Bombshell. Not a lot but it's a start...

I thought I had each plant well researched until I came across this website. rslandscapedesign.blogspot.com (under hydrangea)

On the website they list All Summer Beauty as Mildew prone. I did some research and found the mildew issue with asb was true. Is this guy right about everything else?

The site lists Pia as mildew and bug prone with a mature size of maximum 4'x4' maybe. I have this plant towards the front of a three foot space.

Glowing Embers has a mature height of 4'x6' feet to eventually 6'x6'feet. Hydrangeas plus and Wilkerson mills quote a mature height of 4'x4' feet and maybe full sun. I also found that this plant has some mildew resistance is this true? If hydrangeas plus is correct, this maybe full sun plant. I am in western PA macs can grow in full sun here; have it planted in a 5 foot deep bed foundation planting. Should I move this plant to a full sun location?

During my research companies list mature size for blushing bride and ES are anywhere between 4'x4' to 6'x6' feet is this true?

Can ES & BB tolerate full sun? Nursery suggests water crystals, peat hummus for extra moisture with clay soil for full sun plants.

Trying to do this garden right one time it was a lot of sweat preparing the hydrangea beds. Now it looks as if I have the wrong plants in the wrong places. Really don't want to do any size pruning years later. Just want the plants to take a natural rounded form.

I have replacement plants picked out just need to know if I am doing the right thing by moving them?

Pias replacement will be City line Paris does Paris repeat bloom?

All Summer Beauty & Glowing Embers replacement, Mini Penny or David Ramsey genetically identical to ES not sure if that is true for mildew resistance. Glowing Embers full sun spot is this possible?

Adding this year Hydrangea macrophylla Snow Storm aka White King Mildew resistant sun scorch resistant rebloomer.

Little lime will replace a limelight that will take up too much space in the future.

Is there a list of disease resistant cultivars, the ones listed in this thread are all I have come across. Does anyone know of any others?

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A list produced by a university in a stufy would seem to be more reliable as other lists that are out there so take things with a grain of salt.

Mature sizes are estimated by the wholesaler using its own "method". Thus you could size variety when comparing the same type of hydrangea against multiple advertised claims. One place may have a shorter growing season so their mature size is short than a wholesaler who is located in a state with a longer growing season. So take the estimates with a grain of salt.

Sun tolerance has the same problems. In the northern half of the country, you can place some hydrangeas in full sun but as you get closer to the Sun Belt, you have to limit sun exposure. That happened when I bought my first lilac tree. It was advertised as full sun. Down here, the leaves fry if you let them get afternoon sun. Hydrangeas here in the Dallas area have to get shade starting around 11am-12pm or the leaves will scorch during the hot summer months. During the early Spring and Winter months, this is ususally not a big problem.

I have had to replant hydrangeas when the location provides too much sun; that was never a problem as they are quite strong plants and you can do this once or twice on your first year.

Many macrophyllas have problems with fungal infections. Just be aware that many wholesalers have different methods for determining if they will call a shrub disease resistant. Just take things with a grain of salt and do not overwater. Water again when the soil feels almost dry or dry when you insert a finger into the soil to a depth of about 4".

If you live in an area that has high humidity then choose disease resistant shrubs but be aware that they too can be overcome because while they resist the disease only, they are not immune to it.

While my hydrangeas are near a neighbor's pool and a creek, PM has not been an issue for me (I do not buy disease resistant ones only). Crape Myrtles tend to have more PM Problems than the hydrangeas. Have you asked hydrangea neighbors if PM is an issue for them?


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:04AM
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Hydrangea729(6A Ohio)

Luis is correct...powdery mildew on hydrangeas is very specific to geography. A Michigan hydrangea gardener is going to have a very different experience from an Alabama hydrangea gardener, just for example.

In my 6A garden, powdery mildew is usually a non-issue. Affording some decent sun, making sure to ventilate your plants (i.e. proper spacing), and watering the ROOTS will do the trick in 75% of gardens except for the most humid locales.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 6:38PM
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While we are talking about watering, I suggest watering with a drip irrigation system. That is what I use and it helps greatly with our hot summer weather.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Thanks for the responses I never really thought where the plant data was coming from. Most of the plant data I have is coming out of Georgia so there is a big difference between the two zones. I have seen PM on two hydrangeas here planted in the area Annebelle, could be poor watering habits. Most infected plants I have seen have been at the local Lowes and Home Depot.Last year was very rainy here, think it was a fluke noticed no PM spots.However there was a perozia that leafed out really mangled and sickly looking got it on clearance 2010. This was the plant that got me looking into the disease resistance issue.
Just started taking a closer look at these plants about two years ago when I started to redo my garden and I wanted something interesting. If my macs can get to 5'x5'rounded at 15 years with some hosta at the base i would be happy.

Looking into root watering have plans for drip irrigation in the future. In light of this new information think I�m going to try glowing embers in full sun, and get rid of a Limelight I have two. Plan to add White King, Paris, and Little Lime just to add more variety.Will keep ASB and pia on the fence about David Ramsey.

Looking for a plant that looks something like a Canna that is hardy. I like the big leaves of cannas,hosta and hydrangea plants, seem to be to be very limited with what will grow in 6b. Does anyone know of anything that will grow here that looks like that?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Not me, sorry.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:16PM
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Have you dug out any "dirt" on Vanilla Strawberry? You mentioned it as one of planted but never said that you were going to move it to different location or get rid of it. I am thinking of getting one, but there is no much info on it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Luis' advice is excellent, as usual. It is not always appropriate to make generalities but there are some that can be made with regards to the issues raised in this thread.

While some plants are very prone to powdery mildew, it is never a given and the disease tends to be extremely climate related......it is also quite dependent on cultural conditions as well, so if you site, plant and tend the plants properly and carefully from the outset, the chance of contracting PM is greatly reduced. Nurseries and garden centers are often extremely stressful situations for plants - especially hydrangeas - so I would not necessarily judge disease resistance based on appearance in one of those types of locations.

Second, Hydrangea macrophylla, bigleaf hydrangeas, are not full sun plants and would not be my first choice for that type of siting. They are woodland understory plants and would prefer at least some shade. Again, a full sun location produces an unnecessarily stressful situation for the plant and a stressed plant tends to have problems. Hydrangea paniculatas, like Vanilla Strawberry, Limelight, Little Lamb, Quickfire, etc. tend to be far more sun tolerant. In fact, I'd consider them the most sun tolerant of any hydrangea species. Also the least disease inclined.

The ultimate size of any plant depends far more on location and growing conditions than any tag or book info. Even so-called dwarf plants/shrubs can reach significant proportions under the right circumstances and given a sufficient amount of time. With woody plants, the only time the plant fully stops growing is when it is dead :-)

Finally, I would caution against a planting area dedicated to a single type of plant, like the OP alludes to. It greatly increases the chances of pest and disease problems proliferating plus it is not as aesthetically pleasing or as visually interesting as a mixed planting of like-needs plants of a diverse range, size, foliage and bloom features.

FWIW, some big leaf plants you could consider adding are ornamental rhubarbs, petasites or darmera, hardy bananas, Inula magnifica, some of the ligularias and gunnera, if sufficiently hardy for you.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:36PM
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L.Ann yes I have VS Planted in front of a smoke tree on a slope flanked by bombshell and limelight. The lightight will become too large for this spot so it will have to go. Little lime will be its replacement depending on how well and early bombshell blooms. The color of the VS blooms goes very well with the royal purple smoke tree as a backdrop so it stays as a focal point shrub. If you�re thinking of getting one you won't be disappointed. The plant performs as described so far, the two tone color lasted a long time about two weeks. The canes do arch but, do not touch the ground they should be widely available this year.

gardengal48 thanks for the advice Luis�s advice is excellent indeed. The goal is to make a make long run of hydrangea along the back of the garden. It�s in front of a three foot hill topped with a five foot slatted fence. When the sun crosses over the fence the hydrangea have some shade. The three foot hill is planted with Asiatic lilies some iris, russain sage and wormwood. The plan is simple to hide to declining foliage of the taller lilies as they go out of season.
So far I have been trying to collect the newest and the best bred hydrangea possible. Selections are limited there is not a lot going on in the arena of disease resistant breeding. The rebloomers work well here I had perozia didn't do well for me. I keep the macs towards the ends of the line where they do not get as much sun as the paniculatas in the center of the line. I found Britt Marie Crawford ligularia looks like something worth trying

This garden will look a little lumpy until i can find two nice evergreens for structure.So far so good we will see what this year yeilds my hydrangea are starting to leaf out already.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Thank you for info, Natsu! When I called my preferred nursery they have not even heard of VS. But after research they are ordering bunch. So if 2 tone color lasted for 2 weeks, how long was overall blooming period?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:37PM
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From the patent application, VS was developed in northwest France, where it blooms white panicles around mid-summer, turns pink two weeks later and switches to magenta based on night time temperatures. This last color lasts about 3-4 weeks before it finally turns brown. If your weather is similar to that of NW France, you should expect somewhat similar experiences; otherwise, it may bloom differently. Someone in the central US States (not usre if Kansas) complained that, for the last few years, it was not switching from pink to magenta for her before the cold weather arrived and turned the blooms brown instead.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 7:25AM
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According to Hardiness map for Europe NW France would be either 8 or 9 zone depending on distance to the ocean. I am at 5a. I can give up magenta, but how long in general VS stays in bloom - one month or till first frost, whenever it is?
I wonder if I should go with Quick Fire, maybe not so spectacular, but sounds like much more reliable bloomer.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:15PM
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The bloom period was about two and a half months for VS here maybe a week more or less. The broccoli stage is about a week after limelight. Lime light was done blooming well before VS by two weeks. Had six stems when purchased in the spring of 2011 from a trade gallon, eight by bloom time yield was about fourteen blooms. They turned magenta and held the color well; the color did not fade or wash out. The color did not go evenly around the bloom as in most promo pictures. It may need time to settle in before everything starts working how it should.
Found a bonus a sneak peek of what is growing in Europe DIAMANT ROUGE Hydrangea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rendia

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:47AM
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Thank you, Natsu! Your description of blooming and growth is very helpful and did the trick. I am getting VS. No more looking around.
This link is confusing. It suggests to Cut back hard at the end of winter. I read someplace here on forum an advice to prune VS very lightly, otherwise it will flop. How did you prune your VS last year?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Natsu, Thank you so much for your post on diamont rouge! Although I'm in zone 5,(5b) per the new zone map, I love hydrangeas and am not adverse to taking risks putting something in that won't come back. So I will be on a HUNT for this new hydrangea in the US. If it shows up in MO I can probably get one as my son is in school there.

L. Ann, I bought 1 vs from my nursery and loved the pink paniculata bloooms so much, I moved things around in my yard to accommodate a 2nd. I'm not sure anything will ever get large in my yard as I keep moving things around til I find a good spot that it likes or so I can accommodate something else I just have to have. (It's easier bringing home plants than dogs - lol). Anyway, my vs seemed to bloom midsummer when I found them til mid fall. Only 1 or 2 blooms turned somewhat magenta, but the light pink colors were really worth it. Good luck!

And Luis, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your knowledge and advise you give all us rookies!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Thank you for encourangment! It will be my first hydrangea and I am nervous. Did you get any problems with flopping?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:05PM
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The weight of the blooms of the vs made some of it arch almost to the ground. I had some plant stakes, the kind that have a large loop on the end and used those to hold a couple of the stems up. Not sure what I'll do this year. I'm So glad you mentioned it though because maybe I'll go out and look for a peony ring to slip around them today.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:25AM
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L.Ann did not prune VS as it was a new plant for me last year. plan is to keep the canes at around five feet or so. Found this video on YouTube should shed some light on how a full size VS will perform. In the video they have it named as Vanilla Fraise, Vanilla Strawberry for all of us. This is a focal point shrub for my garden every time I watch this video I want to pull it from that spot. VS is about 57 seconds into the video it's a mess.

I noticed today my Blushing Bride didn't make it through this mild winter. Not a leaf in bud nothing no green under the bark, no leaves sprouting from the base just dead. I put it in late last year small one gallon but it should not have died.BB is really hard to find around here good thing it was from Lowes. Have to start over with BB again this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vs habit

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:38PM
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Sorry to hear about BB not surviving winter. We had a mild one too. Plants that usually die to the ground did not this winter. I am waiting for the second shoe to drop - snow and/or hard freeze.
This VS plastered on the ground is a sad, sad sight. I am having doubts about putting VS in front of the house. Again... I do not mind staking couple branches like Vbnet did, but the entire shrub staked? The whole appeal of VS for me was white to pink flowers and upright stature. Maybe I will go through my notes again in search of tall hydrangea with stronger stems and pink blossoms. Quickfire has this hue of pink/red that does not appeal to me at all.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:58PM
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How have your 'Bombshell' Hydrangeas performed? Were you pleased with them? How does it compare to 'Little Lime'? How about height, flowering, etc.? Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:39AM
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