H. serratas in Wisconsin

norabelle(5)April 1, 2009

Good morning,

I have been searching GW and GW with Google, and I am coming up with "missing message" statements for many of my searches for information on H. serrata.

I am interested in the H. serratas Blue Billow, Akishino, Tiara, and Blue Deckle. The nursery I am looking at in particular is Wilkerson Mill Gardens in Georgia.

The catalog states these are hardy to zone 5, which is my zone. I have successfully overwintered Endless Summer mulching with leaves around the base; however, these are young plants (2-3 years in my yard), so their blooms have not been abundant, yet. I am concerned that the H. serrata is less hardy than the Endless Summer maccs. I am also concerned that I have not found much about serratas in zone 5, which makes me wonder if they won't make it up here.

I am also trying to access a well-beloved thread about overwintering hydrangeas by hayseedman. I can find the thread, but when I click it, I receive a "message not found" response.

Any information, suggestions, and advice (for or against the serratas) is welcome.


Nora Belle

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Good morning, Nora. There is a problem with searches, at least since yesterday (that is when I noticed it). It was still on-going earlier today. The search engine locates the posts correctly but the URL that it takes you to is incorrect so you get the 'not found' message. I think the correct URL starts with //forums.... but the one in the search link starts with //forums2....

So after I get the error message, I go back to the URL, delete the number 2 and hit ENTER. This then takes me to the post. Messy but it is a workaround.

From some looking around that I did when I wanted to buy Blue Deckle, I noticed that serratas were good up to Zone 6. I just checked in the book Hydrangeas by Glyn Church and it says they are good thru Z6. I also went to www.hydrangeasplus.com (another good mail order source) and all of their serratas were classified as Z6 too. So I am not sure why the discrepancy.

Maybe Z5'ers will chime in and confirm how they do over there... For now, I assume that you may have to winter protect them. I would also call Wilkerson Mill Gardens if they have an 800 number to confirm the information that you saw. It could be a catalog misprint.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, Luis, for the work around and the information about the serratas.

I believe that you are beginning to confirm what I am afraid is true about the serratas--I will probably push my luck or zone with them up here. :) I don't mind providing winter protection, but I wonder between guaranteed few days of way-below-zero temps and wind chill each winter, if the plants will ever be able to flower. I am going to look for the book you mentioned at the library. Wilkerson's has used that source with me when I have discussed other hydrangea options.

I am hoping some zone 5-ers might provide me with more optimisitic information about the serratas, but I will take a wait and see attitude. :)

Nora Belle

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As per my recollection of previous conversations on this forum, Blue Billow is reputedly buds hardy in z5b without winter protection. But not take my words for granted.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 11:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)


Why don't you do a search (I know, I know, it is a pain until they fix the problem...) using as key words the names of your four hydrangea varieties. Browse the posts and observe who appears to have one and their zone. Then send them a GardenWeb Email if they live in Zone 5.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

H. serratas are somewhat more cold tolerant than H. macrophylla because their native habitat is in the mountainous regions of Japan & Korea, whereas H. macrophylla is found at lower elevations, typically near the seashore.
Unless you have a warmer microclimate area or a sheltered place near a heated building or among evergreen shrubs, I would plan on providing some winter protection for them. They are not remontant, so the canes and buds must also be protected, for them to reliably produce flowers each year.
Hopefully, you will be able to access hayseedman's classic protection methods, to determine what you will need to do each fall.
There will always be some dieback on them each winter, as I experience some in my Zone 7.

FWIW, I live only a few miles from Wilkerson's Mill Gardens Nursery and could easily drive there and pick up an order, but most of my purchases are from HydrangeaPlus, for selection, price, quality and service. I'm willing to pay the shipping costs to obtain that. Some purchases are made at local nurseries and box stores, during seasonal closeout sales.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 1:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good afternoon,

Thank you, Luis, for your additional searching suggestions. I was able to locate the over-wintering thread started by hayseedman with your work around.

ego45 thank you for your anecdotal knowledge about Blue Billow. I am 5a, so I am still wondering. :)

razorback33 I don't know if I should thank you or rue your suggestion about Hydrangeas Plus. I didn't need to know there were even MORE hydrangeas in the serrata family. :) I have had good luck with Wilkerson's service--they spent about 30 minutes on the phone after closing time with me answering questions, but I have yet to know what their actual plants are like. Whenever I have had questions about caring for my existing hydrangeas (pinky winky, quick fire, anna belles, ES) Wilkerson always comes up, but maybe that is just good search engine optimization. :)

After reading the overwintering thread, I wonder if I could keep them in my garden shed during the winter wrapped in the thick felt blankets described or in burlap if I kept them in 15-20 gallon pots. I also have our unheated, attached garage--would that work? Maybe I just need to wait a few more years and maybe they will breed hardier serratas. :)

Nora Belle

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dwk001(z5 IL)

My experience with H. serrata here in the western suburbs of Chicago is limited to 'Woodlander', 'Preziosa' (which I resorted to growing in a large pot, overwintered in my unheated, attached garage a few years ago), and 'Blue Bird'. Woodlander (I have 8 of these lacecaps) has sailed through another winter with buds beginning to open all the way out to the ends of stems on all plants, with no winter protection (not even piling up mulch around the bases of the plants for this winter). Temperatures reached -22F on 2 nights here, granted with 1-2 feet of snow cover at the time. The vagaries of spring temperatures here are more to be feared, once the buds start to open. Blue Bird is much more iffy here. I've written about Woodlander on this forum several times before, but I can't pull up the threads today on the search function. If you want to read more about it, look up Woodlander on this forum once the search engine is up and running again.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am growing about 25 different cultivars of H. serrata, and 'Woodlanders' is probably the most vigorous of the group.
It is a seed strain originating at Woodlanders Nursery, Aiken, SC, from seed obtained by the former owners, from the Chollipo Arboretum, Korea. I have two of the original seedlings from their initial planting, but have propagated dozens from cuttings.
Most of my other H. serratas are Japanese cultivars, but I do grow 'Blue Deckle, 'Miranda', a species serrata and one from a cutting obtained from Great Dixter, the former home/garden of the late Christopher Lloyd in GB. 'Blue Bird' became compost, since it was determined to be 'Pink Flamingo', regardless of the soil pH! If it had been a pretty pink hue, I would have kept it, but it was a very unattractive one.

A wholesale nursery in MI once propagated many of the Japanese cultivars and other serratas and sold them as rooted cuttings, but a recent check of their website indicates not a single serrata is now being produced. Guess there wasn't enough demand for them and weren't profitable.

Re WMG, I will only say that it was a quality issue, without recourse.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dwk001(z5 IL)

Monrovia distributes 'Woodlander' to retailers; I assume they are propagating it. There's one retailer that I know of in the Chicago area that sells it--Sid's Greenhouses and Garden Centers in Palos Hills and in Bolingbrook, IL.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Granted, I'm in 6b, not a 5a, but I have to concur with Rb that 'H. serratas are somewhat more cold tolerant than H. macrophylla..'. At least in my climate that 'somewhat' makes a difference. All, and I repeat, ALL serratas I grow blooms here every year for the last seven years, even after hard freeze-thaw-freeze cycle in January of 2004.
Beside jap. types, Greyswood and Blue Bird are my favorites.

Rb,...'Pink Flamingo', haha.
I don't think that my soil is much more acidic than yours, but BB is a 'Blue Bird' here. Maybe you had an inferior cuttings?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 12:28AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Difference in Oak Leaf and Macrophylas
I have had both types of hydrangeas and all have had...
New addition
New hydrangea I just picked up at Lowes
Propogating Hydrangea
Hi, My neighbors have just put up a 6 foot high fence...
Jon 6a SE MA
Pruning Hydrangeas
Should I prune my hydrangeas this spring?
Ericaceous compost for hydrangea
I have grown hydrangeas in containers since last summer....
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™