over or under watering Endless Summer

tropical_thought(San Francisco)June 16, 2010

My Endless Summer has a lot of blooms. In fact, it has too many smaller blooms, and they seem to fade too quickly. They begin to brown before they have gotten to a large size. I wonder if this is because I am under watering. I think I should water more. Then I flip flop and think I am over watering and I should cut back. The plant is large in part shade. How much is the ideal amount of water? The temps are in the 70's on a warm day, but often in the 50's in the summer. I know I should water less then people who are in the 80's, but I don't have any guidelines. I am in San Francisco, in a foggy part of town. You don't see the brown flowers in the photos because I removed them. Yesterday, I removed a bunch more that had started to brown to make room for many more. If I don't removed them, there are so many new flowers coming up that they new ones are crowded out by the older ones, and can not get to any sun light to develop. This would never happen to a old wood blooming macrophyalla. Those are very sparing in blooms, so they get big and last a long time.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Endless Summer

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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I don't water mine unless they are looking a little floppy, or if the weather is brutal and I know they will need it (it will be in the 80s Saturday and Sunday so I will likely water, but may not if we get a good shower before then).

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:41AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

We do not have any summer rain in San Francisco. I forgot to think of that before posting. So therefore, I am the sole water provider. What is the guideline for optimal amount of water for a plant this size? If I wait until it's floppy, I think that is under-watering. Hydrangeas take more water. Some plants I wait until it looks floppy if it is a moderate water plant or a water saving plant. But, a high water plant, I don't like to wait until it's floppy.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 12:18PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I think I would have a heart attack if I saw it going floppy on me. Maybe I over water in that case, but my annabelle would not bloom at all, before I started "over-watering" my hydrangeas. When the it did bloom, the flowers were so small, I thought it was a wild hydrangea, and I made Wayside send another one, but it was merely under watering that made the flowers look bad.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 12:25PM
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As a rule I don't water unless they start to wilt. That said I have a lot of shade so my yard retains a lot of moisture so if it's and established one that wilting from mid day heat I don't worry about it but a young one I will give it some water in the afternoon.

I think it's far better to under water then to over water. Unless you're deep watering every day you're promoting shallow roots.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:28PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I just realized. I may not be water good enough, because I don't like getting the leaves wet. I was watering around the edges of the plant, but maybe the water never gets to the middle part? So I just soaked the middle part of the plant. We are having sun today. I only water every three or four days under normal conditions, but more if it gets hot.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:53PM
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I have 4 Endless Summers in the ground. They were planted in 2007 in various sun/shade conditions.

The one that looks the best (blooms are gigantic) gets the most sun. It wilts every afternoon (I don't water it even then) and then it perks up by morning and looks fabulous. It gets quite a bit of late afternoon sun.

The one with the most shade has as many blooms, but they are much smaller. It still looks pretty, but definitely different from the one with more sun.

I don't water any of my in ground hydrangeas anymore - only the ones in pots.

Of course, I am in South Central Indiana - so my situation will be different that yours.

Best to you!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 4:12PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Thanks amac, that could explain the problem. We have had a lot of over casts days. In fact, this was the worst spring we had in years for lack of sunny days. Because it gets half a day of sun only on cloudy days or foggy it get a lot more shade. But, I still think my blooms are browning too quickly. Some of the blooms brown before they are even fully colored. Since I have so many blooms, I think too many, I remove the browning blooms so the non browning blooms will have more of a chance. The blooms are stuck underneath other blooms.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:33PM
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I water once a week in spring and fall and twice a week in summer. I simply place the hose on the surrounding dirt and walk away for five minutes then do the same on the other side but I have really well drained soil. If you planted the plant this year you might want to water closer to the base but otherwise water the drip line as the roots grow away from the base not towards it. Deep watering you hydrangea will promote deeper roots which translate to a healthier plant rather than watering more often in smaller amounts. I try to not get the leaves wet and water in morning to avoid diseases on the foilage.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 2:05AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Maybe it did need to be watered near the crowd? Because I deep watered in the middle yesterday and today, I did not see any new browning flowers. Maybe the center was water starved? I did it in the morning to make time for the leaves to dry. I have to see how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 1:36PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I haven't tried this yet, but have you tried a dripper hose (I just bought one). They sell them at HD in 25' and 50' lengths. Put it on the end of your garden hose (with a cap on the end of the dripper hose, mine came with one) and snake it around the bottoms of the hydrangeas and let it run for a few hours. I would trying watering once per week, deeply. If you just use the hose I would make sure there is a little dam around the shrubs and then fill the well, let it soak, fill again, let it soak...do this over and over again until the well is draining really slowly. Try doing this once per week, but if you see any signs of flagging (wilting) try it every 5 days.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 4:20PM
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msalcido(7/8 (Dallas/Ft.Worth))

Very informative thread. I'm in Zone 7 (Dallas) and today it is supposed to get 100 degrees. I water every other day and I deep water. Do you all think this is to much watering? Considering the temps here have been well in the 90's and heading into the 100's.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:34AM
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gardeningartist(7B TX)


I too am in N. Texas & I have 40 or so hydrangeas. Every other day is about right in this heat. I am North of Lake Lewisville & I have very sandy soil. It dries out too fast for me to go any longer then every other day in this heat. If you have black soil then you may be able to go every 3 days but remember, hydrangeas LOVE water.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 10:42AM
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msalcido(7/8 (Dallas/Ft.Worth))

Thanks Gale. WOW 40 hydrangeas, I bet that looks beautiful. I've started to water every day since the heat is climbing up. I have a BB that was not doing so well and I thought it was because I was over watering, but I bought a soil moisture test and it was really dry, so started watering every day and it looks great now.

Post a pic of your hydrangeas if you can.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 7:07AM
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sandykk(z6 MD)

I've been watering mine that get a lot of sun everyday. We've been around 90 for a while now. I have one of the nice gentle shower rods on the end of the hose so I can push it way up to the middle of the plant. I just lay it on the ground and leave it for a while. They perk back up but the sun has been making the flowers wilt terrible if I don't water.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 10:40PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I am not getting that flower browning problem anymore, since I started deep watering in the center with a fan spray. I hold it in the center for a while. I had been only watering around the edges, but now the plant is so much bigger, that I think last year it was good enough to just water around the margins, but with a big plant, there must be some roots in the middle that needed to be watered. However, I am am seeing some sagging of flowers because the water in the center is weighting down the flowers that are near the base of the plant. However, I find this sagging more acceptable then browning. It's not a terribly bad sagging, only a minor sagging. Nothing like Annabelle when the flowers were literally on the dirt all face down.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 11:08PM
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