Question on Nikko Blue

no_green_thumbMay 19, 2009

After reading this forum last year, I realized why my Nikko Blue did not bloom past the first year I planted it --- it blooms on old wood.

I am Zone 5.

I watched for the new buds which came in August as they should. Yeah!! I over-wintered it and made sure I had plenty of leaves mulching it over winter.

Now it is growing green foilage. The stems still have the buds on them - but they all look brown and dead. I am hoping this is normal?? and as the plant continues to grow, I will have blooms?

I am just so anxious for this to bloom again - and hope someone can tell me that everything is going to be okay. Thanks a lot.

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roseberri, z6(6)

Hi no-greenthumb, I am rather new at hydrangeas too, have had them a few years, but this is my understanding, look at your old stems, and if the new growth is coming off these stems you may get flowering. If it is all coming from the roots, that's new growth and you'll get lovely leaves and no flowers.I wait awhile before I cut down the old stems in hopes of growth on them. You might read some of the older posts for more info. roseberri(growing Hydrangeas in zone 5 is not for the easily discouraged)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 8:28AM
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Thanks, Roseberri. I am not seeing any new growth on the "dead" stems. I am still going to wait for a while. It may just get replaced by something which will give me more color. I have a few Endless Summer I purchased last year and they already look like there are a few buds. Yeah! I have mostly shade and the only place I have a lot of color is right around the patio at the back of the house where I get some sun. So I don't want to waste any space on just "green" plants!! This plant has had its chance!!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I checked again and yes, indeed, there is new growth on the "Dead" sticks. It is still very early in our growing season, so I hope I do get some beautiful flowers. Thanks, again, Roseberri --- and I will read more on hydrangeas in zone 5.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 12:24PM
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I'm in the same boat with you. I'm a intermediate level gardner and have tried to get mine to bloom more profusely for years. I winterized the heck out of my plant last fall with leaves and wrapped it with landscape fabric, but only a few old canes are showing growth, the rest are still looking dead. Interestingly enough though there are 3 buds on the new growth which isn't supposed to happen with Nikkos and it is exactly what I had last year. Anyways the old wood theory just isn't happening for me, and I am just about fed up with this plant. Seems like no matter what I do all I end up with are 3 pale pink blooms per year or none when my neighbor just down the street gets tons of blue blooms. I have given it acid fertilizer (when I was supposed to) and I either get more blooms this year or at least a few blue ones or it's a gonner. I also tried Endless Summer, which ended up in my compost pile after the first year. I'm thinking about replacing it with a Vibernum which is taller and more ideal for my location. Those have the mop head look too with pale cream flowers, not the same but at least they do something rather than waste my time and take up space. Sorry to sound so cranky!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 1:14AM
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Hi n-g-t, roseberri & Mona2 -

I received my florist Blue Nikko on Mom's Day from my 3 kids, 19yrs ago like you then, I didn't know much about Hydrangeas but decided to sink the plant in the ground, after the beautiful blossoms were spent. I went through years of 'plenty & famine' & skimpy once (in between) for years ... they even turned to pink ... I didn't care I was happy with what I got. I had other garden pretties I busied myself with.

When these old garden beauties started emerging, along with the mushrooming of Big Box stores & the advent of I-Garden Forums etc I joined in and learned more/ winterizing, bluefying fertilizing etc.  despite all the new gained knowledge ÂMother Nature still has the upper hand ... is my conclusion!

As roseberri posted :" You might read some of the older posts for more info. (growing Hydrangeas in zone 5 is not for the easily discouraged)

Mona2 Â There are Hydrangea paniculatas to choose from that would grow as large as Vivarnums and give you lots of lovely blooms to enjoy until first frost. I have several of them & wish I could replace my old Vivarnum that blooms only in Spring & gone in a couple of weeks, with yet another H paniculata (they don't need winter coats).

BTW, those seemingly new canes coming from the ground may really be canes coming from old canes, barely covered under a thin layer of soil & mulch  they are capable of producing huge blossoms (mine were larger than a dinner plate). Some sun is also needed to lure those blossoms!

Don't give up yet ... best wishes this season. Â;)


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:21PM
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Hi Ladies - 'tis me again I thought you might like to check out this Hydrangea site for more info. It's worth a visit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrangeas

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Mona ---- I hear you well. I am trying so very hard to have a wonderful landscape! My Endless Summer are starting to flower. They did not grow very big at all, but I am starting to see flowering. The Nikko Blue on the other hand might be a goner at the end of the summer. I, too, winterized that baby well. I spent a lot of time covering and uncovering to make sure it didn't get any late frost. There is growth coming from the old canes - but it is all green. It has one more chance.
Thanks, Ditas. I am going to get some fertilizer today. June is the time to apply from what I read ---
I look in garden magazine and think Wow - why can't I do that! I am in mostly shade - the hydrangeas are in the only spot that gets sun - and in the morning as they like it - I just wish I could have more color in my shade.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 12:53PM
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