Is Oakleaf best suited to my site?

gslgal(5a)March 13, 2009

Hi all - trying to determine best hydrangea for along the edge of my deck. I'm in the southern Adirondacks at the coldest end of zone 5, with reliable snow cover. Pretty sandy soil, planting at the top of a slope, so excellent drainage. Area is on NW side of house with trees nearby so only gets sun noon - 4pm. The one end nearest trees is dappled shade all day. White is my preferred color but mostly just hoping for reliable blooms without too much babying. I'm thinking oakleaf, but which one? Or am I better off with Annabelle (too floppy?) or endless summer (not white:() since i'm almost in zone 4? Any advice from you seasoned hydrangea folks is greatly appreciated!

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While position as you describe it sounds perfect for the oakleaf, your zone 5a winters most likely will make it a non-blooming or just ocassionally-blooming plant. Have you seen them around?
Annabelle will perform there 100% with no problem.
Another choice could be any of H. paniculata which normally could be planted in full sun in your zone, but I think sun from noon till 4pm will be sufficient for it to bloom.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:14PM
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I don't think I've seen any oakleafs around, but few people garden (lots of steep wooded lots). I do see several yards the next town south (5* warmer & more suburban)that have what looks like H.Paniculata Grandiflora to me - now that I've googled it at your suggestion. I had read about Paniculatas but the "full sun" had originally scared me off. Don't want to bother with the oakleafs if they won't bloom though.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:50PM
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"I don't think I've seen any oakleafs around...."
You haven't seen them for a reason :-((
Except 'Tardiva' (which probably will bloom too late for you) all other cultivars of h.paniculata will work in your conditions.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Thanks Ego, I really appreciate the advice. Makes me nuts that in the catalogs they describe plants as hardy to zone X when they won't preform in that zone, just merely survive. Guess the safe thing is to choose things listed to zone 4. Do you have a favorite paniculata? Also, I don't want them taller than 6' (would block view of the lake) but I assume anything would take years to grow to that height & then could be kept in check with pruning? Or should I make sure I pick something smaller than 'Grandiflora' ? It's a long run of deck I'm edging so this will be quite an investment! Just trying to make the best choice. thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:48AM
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Though all paniculatas will grow taller than 6' they could be easily kept at desirable height by annual pruning.

All paniculatas grow fairly fast and if you looking to plant a long hedge out of them you may want to buy just a few plants, space them widely, but use cutting from annual pruning for propagation and fill the gaps.
'Limelight' is a relatively new and rightly so very popular cultivar now readily available on a market. Go for it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Ego45 - been crazy busy and not had time to check in. Thanks so much for all your advice. We are moving to what used to be our weekend home. Never really gardened there before since I wasn't around enough to water. So all my gardening experience has been down home in zone 6b. Really appreciate your help. The cuttings to fill in the gaps is great since I feel like i'm bleeding $$ on the renovation. Now can't wait for spring to really arrive so I can plant!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:29AM
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