a whole bunch of Annabelles

MzMolly65(7)March 12, 2013

Soooo ... I'm a new gardener and I'm going based on internet research to decide what type of hydrangea I have and I'm pretty sure they're HYDRANGEA arborescens aka Annabelles.

The main plant was very overgrown and unruly when we bought the house last spring so I cut it way backing thinking it wouldn't matter if it died. It survived but didn't bloom (which also helped me identify it).

In the fall I was trimming it back in preparation for winter and took a bunch of cuttings and stuck them in the soil down the side of the garden shed, beside the main plant which seems to like that area. I covered all the cutting with clear storage containers and then dumped a ton of mulch all around them until just the tops of the containers were peaking out. They were warm but getting light and rain ... oh boy ... a lot of rain this year.

Then another bunch of smaller cuttings I potted in peat pots and put them in a clear plastic container and buried them in mulch by my raised beds.

I thought they would be all rotted come spring. DH tells me (I have been away all winter and am not home again for another month) the ones by the shed are all still green and looking quite happy. I suspect I should leave the containers over them until the weather warms, probably about the time I get home.

He cannot find the ones I buried by the raised bed, so I have no idea how those fared.

It was all an experiment and I told myself not to expect much so I'm thrilled that some of them have survived the winter, considering they were not potted indoors.

Now .. the funny thing is. I didn't expect many or even any of them to survive and they did .. so I have them planted wayyyyy to close together. About 12".

Can I dig them out and transplant them when I get home or will that damage them? Now that they've done such a good job of surviving I'd hate to kill them off moving them. I thought I might like to share some with gardening friends.

I'm tickled pink at the thought of a lovely hedge all down the side of the garden shed.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

How tall are they? It sounds like you should be able to move them but I am unclear as to how tall they are. I would wait until after all danger of frost has passed to move them so wait 1-2 weeks after your average date of last frost.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:25PM
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They are the branch tip, 4 leaves only and the new leaves sprouting look to be about 1", so about a total 4" tall right now.

I'm going off the memory of what I planted and the pics my DH is sending.

This is the picture he took the other day. Through the plastic and poor soul he was so proud to show me all my happy plants without realizing most of what's in there is weeds. But I'm thrilled anything survived and you can see the hydrangea there in the corner, with it's new leaves just coming up.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:37AM
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Oh .. and he did manage to find the others and sent this picture. I don't think many survived but there are some by the proof of this one new leaf.

Considering they had no care at all, not even watered (just surviving off whatever moisture they generated in their container), they've done well.

The ones that did survive are certainly hardy, that's for sure. A bit of Darwinism at it's best.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:49AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

You should be able to transplant those. Just be careful to not disturb the roots much; extract as much soil as you can when you move them. Lucky you for getting so many free plants. When I moved into my current home, I found one small one growing under a maple tree but it was in a high traffic area for the dogs so it did not make it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:42AM
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I asked DH if he could (now that he found them) open up the container for the babies and check on them. They were drowning. I didn't think the rain could get in but I guess some was and the poor things were just swimming. He drained them off, covered them back up and hopefully they'll dry out a little.

They're are a total of 27 that survived the peat pot drowning and that's not including the 10 or 12 planted direct into the ground.

I'm impressed. The ones in the peat pots were not the plant tips. They were middle branch cuttings and I wasn't sure if that would work at all because of the woody stem. I just trimmed the stem on both sides of a leaf pairing and stuck it in the peat pot full of soil. The original leaves have died back and the new sprouts look great.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:06AM
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When in spring did you prune the original plant? If it was early or even mid-spring, and it didn't bloom, that might not be an Annabelle. The leaves don't really look like Annabelle's to me either, but it's hard to be sure since we're looking at cuttings.

It's exciting that so many have survived, and I hope they grow well for you this season!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:12AM
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I'm willing to admit I'm no expert and could easily be misidentifying them.

I pruned it in early May last year and had no blooms all summer even though the plant body grew back quite large.

I guess we'll know more this year because I'm not planning on pruning it at all and can get a better i.d. from the flowers (if it flowers, which it should)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:29AM
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I'm in Michigan, and I usually trim mine back earilier than mid-May. I think I've had still had blooms after an occasional May deer-munching, but since you're zone 7 my experience doesn't mean much.

It will be fun to find out what you have - I hope you check back in and post pictures!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 7:40AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

What are your plans for all those many plants anyway? Do you have space or are you going to put them in the Exchange Forum or give them to beighbors/family or ???

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Oh that's a good question. Since I wasn't expecting them to survive I don't have any real plans. It's still early days too, the ones that were quite drowned look good so far, but I won't be home for a while yet so there's still a chance they might not make it without someone to look after them properly.

I guess I'll come up with a plan after I get home and see what the situation is.

I have a huge yard with lots of room for more but not sure I want THAT many, LOL!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:05AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Well, there are some gardening clubs that have sales in the Spring to make some money. Consider giving some of them away to those that clubs that may be interested.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:21AM
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