Potted Hydrangea Dead Head Question

danz-sweetpea(3)April 10, 2009

I am brand new to growing hydrangeas, I bought a beautiful one from the local farmer's market and really only know to make sure it stays in moist soil. The vendor at the market is well known for her beautiful flowers and plants, she told me this one could possibly bloom all year if I bring it in and treat as a house plant in the winter. Our living room and kitchen get a fair bit of west and northwest sun, however, we live in an apartment.

I live in Edmonton Alberta zone 3 (I think)and there are breath-taking hydrangeas in most gardens here.

I have some of the flowers that are now wilting, but am not sure where to cut them off at? What about sunlight being indoors until there is no longer frosts?

If anyone could offer tips I would greatly appreciate it. I love my balcony garden every year, it is my pride and joy. I would be thrilled to have such flowers growing!!

Thanks all!

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orchidacea

It maybe helpful to know the exact kind of hydrangea you have. My experience with the long blooming hydrangeas are limited to Endless Summer, Blushing Bride, Annabelle and the Forever and Ever Red...for zone 3, I think Annabelle is the only one can handle the outdoor winters. In my hands, Blushing Bride is the one with the longest blooming season (zone 6b here, flowers from late May till Sept - and the blooms will age to red, green display in Oct..)...I have trouble to get Endless Summer to rebloom reliably...some yrs with a lot of blooms, some don't...Anabelle is a reliable bloomer and the flowers last pretty long - June thur Sept...FE red is very new to me and hard to judge this early...in Zone 6b, morning sun (8 to 11 am) is all my hydrangeas get...Annabelle can handle more sun, but it does get sunburn with the 100F Jersey summer in july/aug (you can forget ES, BB, FE hyrangeas under the mid summer noon time sun, the flowers will wilt and turn brown in no time)...I think your apartment setting is good for the likes of these hyrangeas, make sure you have pretty of water for these guys - very deep drenching twice a week should do the job..indoor temps should be fine for these hydrangeas...during winter, your hydrangeas will go into dormancy...you have to find a cold spot in the apartment to do that - temps around 40F would be perfect...this temp will be low enough for the dormancy to maintain, and high enough to avoid any kind of freezing of the flower/leave buds...you should ask your vendor what kind of hydrangea you have bot..if it is the florist forcing kind, i doubt the plant will bloom again for you this season regardless of your care..if you have bot the reblooming kind like ES, BB or FE, then cut off the wilted flowers, give it some morning sun, lots of mositure, feed it with a time release balanced fertilizer 10-10-10, you should see flowers thru the whole summer...btw...in zone 6b here, the hydrangeas are just waking up from their winter beauty sleep, all the blooming ones i see are in the florist, grocery shop or the big box Easter flowers...none of these belongs to the reblooming type...as I usually tell my friends about these forced bloom hydrangeas - keep the plant as long as the flowers are nice and blooming - then ditch it like any wilted, done with florist plants...they are not worth the spot in the garden.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 6:14PM
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gardengal48

Unfortunately, your farmer's market vendor was just trying to make a sale - hydrangeas do not bloom year round regardless of how they are treated. And hydrangeas do not make good houseplants, either. They do not appreciate indoor conditions for any length of time and are very difficult to maintain in good health in this situation. As orchidacea indicates, out of season blooming hydrangeas sold as houseplants are intended to be temporary floral gifts. In your zone it is virtually impossible to transition one of these into the landscape successfully.

And I'd be reluctant to suggest even attempting to grow one of the hardier forms (like Annabelle, other arborescens or paniculatas) outdoors on your balcony in a container. Containerized plants should be hardy to 1-2 zones colder than your own and both of these are zone 3 hardy at best. Bringing them indoors during winter is unlikely to work well - both for the reasons I alluded to above (not suitable as houseplants) and too warm and too dry indoor conditions in winter. Like all plants that originate from temperate areas of the globe, they require a period of dormancy and winter chill that is just not achieved indoors without specialized conditions.

If it is in bloom now, it is most likely some form of macrophylla - these are virtually the only type of hydrangea forced for florist or gift plants. I doubt this is what you want to hear, but enjoy it now and for as long as you are able to keep it happy, but don't expect it to survive for long. Bigleaf hydrangeas are just not appropriate for this type of growing situation.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 12:07PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

danz-sweetpea, I am curious as to what type of hydrangeas you see in Edmonton? Are they all white (i.e. likely to be Annabelle?), or do you see some macrophyllas (the mopheads in other colors, such as blue and pink)? I am very curious as I may be relocating to Calgary and I would love to see what people can grow in zone 3! Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:36AM
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danz-sweetpea(3)

I see all different colors of hydrangeas in Edmonton, however, I do not know what type they are, I'm usually just driving by. I do think that they are mostly mopheads however, there are also many white ones. There is one house in particular that I can think of that has huge hydrangea plants all across the front of their house, and I believe they are blue, but not positive as it was last year I saw them! There are so many options for zone 3 flowers here!

I am certainly not your die hard gardener, I only have a balcony. When I deadheaded my plant the other day, I had noticed some buds starting on some of the other plants. I dunno, I have faith in my vendor. She's been there for years, and has a fantastic reputation for her flowers.

I forgot to put in my original post that yes, the plant that I bought is a macrophyllas. I do have a question, if florists can force bloom, why couldn't I?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:42PM
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orchidacea

"I do have a question, if florists can force bloom, why couldn't I?"..you could, if you have a greenhouse with straight controls of lighting, humidity, temp and get the same growth hormone recipe from the flower farms....

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 3:17PM
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gardengal48

The reality is there are no mophead hydrangeas that are hardy in zone 3. If you see any that are blooming blue, you can be assured that they have been carefully protected against winter cold. While this can be accomplished with plants in the ground, it is much harder to do with containerized plants - they are simply exposed to a much greater degree of cold without the benefit of the insulating soil mass. And bringing them indoors in winter, into an environment YOU are comfortable with, is not sufficient for their best health and doesn't adequately address their growing requirements.

Forcing blooms out of season - indeed, virtually the entire cut flower or flowering houseplant trade - is done under very carefully controlled greenhouse conditions, such as orchidacea alludes to. If it were that easy to accomplish, we would all be doing it rather than spend the prices to have someone else provide us with flower color out of season. Home gardeners just do not have the facilities, the equipment, the material or the skills to be able to accomplish this.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:20AM
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pansyviking

Dear Danz-Sweetpea:

I am originally from Edmonton, but now live in Vancouver where outdoor hydrangea are popular (and where I am growing one indoors for as long as it will grace my humble abode with its beauty). I have to confess to never having seen hydrangea in Edmonton. Not at all a suitable growing location for them (outdoors or in, given the very dry forced-air heating in Alberta in the winter.) What part of Edmonton have you seen them growing in and in what location. Perhaps you have misidentified them? (But good luck with your potted one!)

Dubious in Vancouver

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 4:05PM
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pansyviking

danz-sweetpea

An eastern location would be better. Hydrangea like sunny mornings and cooler, shadier afternoons. A strong western light in a lengthening Alberta day might be too much. Try to give it a bright location with a bit of shade and good luck! Also...lots of water but no wet feet.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 4:10PM
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