Variegated Lacecap

marquest(z5 PA)August 21, 2009

I found a good sale at our local nursery. I brought a Macrophylla Mariesii Variegata. I have done a internet search and have not been able to find out anything about this Hydrangea. According to the label it is hardy in my zone. My questions are:

1. Is it a reliable bloomer?

2. Does it bloom on old wood/new wood?

3. Is it in fact hardy for a zone 6 sometime 5?

Thank you.

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Hi marquest - I own one ... just 2nd season - too early to tell if she'll reliably bloom ... blossoms not as impressive as my other Lacecaps, nor is she as floriferous. As far as foliage variegation, 'Light O'Day' might be more impressive (I have 1 as well) I'm in a zone where these cultivars are root hardy - however, will need Winter protection to bloom.

Last season I got her for her variegated foliage ... had some nursery-boosted blossoms (3 or 4) ... composed of mostly fertile center florets (just 3-4 outer, light pink, sepal'd ones). One experienced grower, posted that I may have seen the only blossoms on this plant & that there are other better variegated, foliaged shrubs to choose from.

Being in 4b-5zone w/ often, fluctuating temps, I seriously Winter-protect ... last Winter, was one such killer ... Many of my lacecaps lost quite a bit of their old woods(still they bloomed very well!) ... MV had 1 old wood, survivor, despite my good winterizing effort - the rest came from the base ... however, surprised me & produced twice as many blossoms than the previous yr & perhaps a bit larger ... still, nothing to write home about! Â:(

If the price is right & you are up to a challenge + have enough pretties to satisfy, then go ahead!

I was excited just the same, as I was ready to accept & deal with a blossomless, not so pretty shrub! She may do better in 2010 - fingers crossed! Â;)

Good luck! & FWIW

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 5:53PM
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1. NO!
2. Old wood
3. Hardy to zone 5b atleast

Ditas is 100% correct

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:50PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Thank you both for the help. I picked up a large one for 8 bucks on sale. I loved variegated foilage. Since it seems it will not be a good bloomer I will plant a couple of clematis to run around it for flowers and enjoy the foilage.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:19PM
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Mulch it with 6 inches of mulch or more before winter. You will atleast get a handfull of blooms almost every year. You can also take more drastic measures to try to receive more. I have one also and enjoy the foilage. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 11:02PM
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Hi again Marquest - That wasn't bad at all, I pd. more than twice as much! Perhaps if you give her a bit more sun (morning's best) than what she get here, she might just show better variegation on her foliage & blossoms as well! Clematis for companions would be wonderful!

Best wishes! Hope to see an update, next season ... there aren't too many, growing this cultivar, I think.

Good night! Â;)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 11:09PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Ditas, thank you again for the tip. It helped me feel better about the placement. Since I understand from the response that it is not a reliable bloomer I was going to put it in more sun so I could companion it with a Clematis.

I have a dark red brick house and I am trying to lighten up the foundation plantings.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:06AM
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'Tis me again Marquest - as hydrangeasnohio advised, heavily mulch & depending on your kind of zone5 ... if anything like ours, you might burlap wrap or while still small & manageable, you could use the cardboad method of over-wintering. I have a dwarf one, that I can fit a corrugated board, rose cone over ... works well!

Hi hydrangeasnohio - how long have you had yours, how much sun does she get & how many blossoms has she been producing for you? I'm thrilled to have someone to learn from & compare notes w/!!! Â;)

Would you happen to have LOD as well? Mine is in her 2nd season - got her w/o blossoms & didn't 1st yr ... I've never seen how they look like, as she didn't produce at all this year either ... foliage is a bit prettier than MV & have grown more aggressively as well.

TIA! Â;)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:26PM
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Every garden will have microclimates that will influence the winter hardiness conditions of various plants, but I'd not consider Maresii Variegata reliably hardy below zone 6.....nor do most of the hydrangea resources. And even in zone 6 you will need to provide winter protection to safely maintain whatever flowers may be produced on this selection.

I had a large one in my former garden that flowered profusely every year. But then I live in pretty much an ideal hydrangea growing environment and no winter protection was necessary. The literature suggests that Mariesii Variegata will bloom reliably in warmer zones but is more of a foliar attraction in colder zones, even with protection. YMMV

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 1:33PM
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Hey Ditas
I burlaped mine last winter and I only got 3 blooms. But we had a couple of nites hit -20 degrees. My friend double burlaped hers and it was beautiful! Had atleast 2 dozen flowers. She wraped each stem then the whole bush. Local nursery told me instead to fill up the burlap with mulch. Sounds easier than wrapping each branch. I am torn for this winter what to do.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 5:44PM
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Wow gardengal - so I'm fortunate to even have the 7 MV produced this season! The foliar variegation is not that impressive, for me ... perhaps she gets less than ideal sun exposure ... No wonder George warned me & suggested other more impressive shrubs w/ variegated foliage, if it's what I was after! BTW, it was you who guided me when I relocated 2y/o MYM last season. This year, despite the harsh winter, produced 30 blossoms!!! Your suggestions truly appreciated!!! Â;)
Gosh hydrangeasnohio! My hubby already thinks me, a glut for punishment, the way I winter-coddle these garden divas ... to burlap wrap each stem, would be real torture ... I'm not that much of a glut!!! LOL.

I purchased my burlaps from Joanne's Fab, a 100x thicker & sturdier than garden center burlap rolls ... oh & double the width (54") to boot ... grabbed mine at 'half-off' even!!! Â;)

I first, tie canes w/ b'sheeting strips, loose enough to bury leaves in ... go around twice w/ burlap or use the folded thickness - I found some long bamboo, tooth picks to pin burlap in place, works great! I have created cages (plasticoated garden fencing) for each of my marginally tender bloomers wrapped w/ landscaping fab, as a double protection from our unforgiving winter-winds! ... then I dump more collected dry Fall leaves in the cage ... I do these for 9 divas! Nikko (never) Blue, gets the Hayseedman- (even more serious) over-wintering method! Boy, to think, that this project is due soon!!! Â:(

Others just get some mulch replenishment ... I always protect the current year's babies. Last Winter was one of our worst ... a killer, due to the fluctuation in temps ... not a single casualty!!! ... all the meticulous winter cover-ups, pd off!

Hopefully, better Winter & more floriferous 2010!!!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:14PM
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I hope you'll forgive me for bringing this thread back up ... I'm just so excited to report that finally LOD (this 3rd yr) has shown a few pea-sized clusters, surely!!! Oh & she looks so much prettier/brighter variegation, despite more shade from trees! MV & LOD don't seem to be popular cultivars but lovely in their own right!

Only MV of my 8 H serratas is not yet displaying buds. However is showing better foliar variegation considering site is shadier as well, due to trees filling out sooner this Sprg.

marquest & hydrangeasnohio - I wonder how yours are coming along?

Is this true - that every non-variegated foliage in the shrub should be removed (I recently read in 1 post)?

While on the subj. of Serratas (challenging in our zone) MyM has the most cluster buds - I stopped counting at #30!!! Not the prettiest shrub but very early bloomer & very interesting blooms to observe from start to finish!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Hi Ditas!

I just looked at my LOD again today. It has the best foilage so far it has ever had at this point of the year. It only died back about 1/3 or so. It was the hydrangea I waited the longest to lift it's winter protection. So I can tell it is behind the other ones and has no buds yet. But all my other hydrangeas I protected are showing buds everywhere. So I would imagine I will get buds on the LOD very soon. This is the first year it has not died back to the ground.

Hmmmmm, I am not sure if you should pull the variegated foilage or not??? Maybe someone else could answer that question for you. Not to brag or anything, but I have never had that problem with my LOD. Maybe it just needs a little more time to show the variegation. I have a variegated azalea that had that problem and I did always chop out the stem that was the problem and eventually it stopped. So it might work on a hydrangea also???

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 12:12PM
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Here is a pic of my LOD today.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Wow HinO! yours is fuller than mine! Congrats!!! Â;)

How much sun does she get? Mine barely gets any ... at best dappled/bright shade ... now that the trees has fully filled out ... I wish I could move her. As long as she produces this impressive variegation, I'd leave her where she is.

I clipped a few of the old woods by a few inches to try & encourage the leafing surge.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:35AM
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Mine gets 9am to around 2pm full sun and she never wilts. I clipped the old wood down to the first bud I seen also after I uncovered it. Seems like alot of the buds towards the top just fell off during the winter! Although I am sure it will have more flowers this year than it has ever had!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 12:42PM
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Hello h-i-o, Finally after waiting patiently, LOD did produce 20+ buds & is now flashing. The clusters are just a bit nicer looking than MV's ... fuller & a few more infertile florets. I got LOD 3 yrs ago w/o buds & no response 'til now.

Mariseii Variegata produced none this yr ... could be lack of sun ... she may need to be moved.

TIA for viewing LOD pix (click on pic for larger view)!

Here is a link that might be useful: LOD

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 3:20PM
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Nothing again for me this year Ditas. The only Hydrangea that I winter protected not to produce. Although it was its first year not to die to the ground. So I guess the buds got zapped still. It is right against a fence also that should help. I think this fall I will put it in a pot and haul it in and out. Totally frustrated with this hydrangea. I am glad yours is doing great for you this year. The pictures are beautiful. I wonder why yours did so good this year?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 4:58PM
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I am late to this conversation, but was at the Birmingham (Ala.) Botanical Gardens on June 3rd and took these photos of a unmarked variegated lacecap - the most mature one I have ever seen...

Sorry that the photo is so big, I resized it twiced.

See ya,

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:21PM
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h-i-o, I assumed that it took 2 yrs for LOD to settle in her home. Since I got her for her foliar variegation I didn't mind wondering if she would oblige a few ... since the tag didn't show any clusters, I was curious how the blossoms would look compared to the other lacecaps I have.

BTW I did notice that the leaves of LOD seemed a bit thicker & smoother than MV's, consequently never showed the typical wilting under sun exposure.

RB- thanks for posting what I assume, an older, established Variegated H. The bloom cluster looks more like LOD than MV, unless there are other variegated cultivars I'm not aware of. How large do you estimate, this beauty is? In our colder zone, we seem to lose a bit of size, despite our over-wintering efforts.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:21AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Hi all sorry about dropping out for a year. LOL

It died down to the ground for the first two years. I will do a better job of covering this winter. I have not seen any flowers but I am alright with that I did buy it for the foilage but the climatis is covering it up and is bigger than the bush.

But you might think I am crazy and get a good laugh at this....Lowes had a entire shelf of them for a 1.00 and I brought another one. LOL. I just could not pass up a 1.00 sale. Maybe I will put them together and get a bigger bush.

I will get a pic tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:38PM
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I live in zone 4a-5b in the berkshire mountain of western mass at 1450 ft. and in this area snow cover helps with the plants success rate a lot. I did not protect it much when it was located on the south side of my house this last winter when we had 15 below temps and it made it through with flying colors. This spring I transplanted the whole thing to the edge of the driveway near the street and it has grown by leaps and bounds! If it keeps growing like this, it is going to be one huge plant. I have more plants as well due to layering the lower branches and within 5 days they had long roots strong enough to carry them through in a pot or transplant.

In the first winter I planted it in hard pan clay soil on south side of house but covered it with an upside down large glass fishtank without mulch and this spring I discovered that the fishtank went askew during the winter and had a large opening on the north side of the plant so the plant ended up being exposed to those really low temps and the 50 mph winds as well. This year, upon transplantation, the soil is moist forest soil that has been amended with wood chips that were saturated with chicken manure. I will mulch it again for winter with plain wood chips and cover with clear plastic or try the fishtank again if the plant as a whole can fit. Not sure about that due to its growth this year. Some of the branches have grown two feet in addition to their regular growth.

By the way, this lacecap bloomed well and was pink for its first bloom. As the wood chips decomposed the colors of the blooms began to change a bit and although not a true blue yet, they are on their way.

The fishtank method works well for many plants that are not viable in my zone of 4a- 5b. The trick to to mulch in a wide rectangle around the plant so that if the temps warm up the plant inside can still breath through the tiny spaces between the woodchips at the bottom of the glass tank. Place the tank on top of the chips and set it well but dont do this until the real cold sets in at the middle of november in my area or mid december (or prior to first snow) in 5-6. This has also proved in my testing area to be a good way to increase blooms on several species of plants not usually viable for my zone area.

Hope this helps.

P.S. The variegation on this plant is what I bought it for as a display in front of the white fence at the end of the driveway but the blooms are a plus. They were huge this year and with the cooler temps that we are experiencing now, the blooms are staying on the plant longer than expected.

The oakleaf hydrangea is going to bloom this year too!! I havent seen that one bloom yet so I am real excited. This year it seems to be in good health too and it hasnt been moved and is growing in real shallow soil in front of the clawfoot bathtub pond. Gardening is so fulfilling.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:13AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Thank you for the suggestion.

I know I cannot lift the 40 gal tank that I am no longer using. I will try the cardboard box and fill with conifer needles which I have had good success using on rose bushes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:59PM
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Some info on this plant at (
just put 3 in the fall-appear to be growing from the base-old wood not looking so hot. Hope it performs for me as I ripped out 2 azaleas to put these in. Not expecting flowering for another year or two. Foliage is pretty a few of the leaves are coming in not variegated.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 1:35PM
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It is the most sensitive Hydrangea I have ever encountered. I would try to protect it outside for years (didnt work). Then I dug it up and put it in a pot and put it in my garage with other hydrangeas over winter. Only one that didnt bloom. Late last year a gave it to my sister to plant with her hostas. She doesnt care if it blooms and is growing it for the foliage. Although she did pile some mulch up it about 1/3 to 1/2 way up it for winter and added additional covering during spring frost warnings since it was growing so good in March. We had the most mild winter in any recent history and looks like she wont get even one bloom after all that. I dont think she will waste her time ever again piling mulch up on it or running around in Spring. I decided life was to short to keep messing with this really bothered me it would never bloom and was in the biggest pot I would haul into the garage. Now no hydrangeas in my yard require protection and the ones I have in pots do great over wintering in the garage! My personal opinion I think in your zone it will be semi reliable at best. Although if you winter protect it you might get better results. But I dislike in spring looking at burlap or whatever you use for protection. We have been zone 5b forever, but the powers to be claim we are a solid 6a now. Hard to argue after last winter. With so many hardy selections these days. I can live without having variegated foliage and have flowers summer thru fall. Although others have better luck than me or like my sister can leave without flowers. P.S. My parents had one also and was shoveled pruned for an Endless Summer.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 12:57PM
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I have three of these that I just planted in fall of 2011-came thru winter okay (had a mild one) but the new foliage growth is not variegated. I emailed the company I got it from and they said "Occasionally, variegated plants try to revert back to their former 'ancestral' green form. Discourage this by removing any branches that do
this near the base." I am quite upset as all three are doing it. Think I'll put them in the very back of my yard and put something more substantial and true to its name in their places. The company has said they will replace. Very disappointed as I dug up bright red azaleas to plant these.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I wouldn't be happy either. Seems common to misrepresent things these days. I have learned the hard way also to check things out before buying/planting/etc and sometimes that isn't even good enough. I have came to terms with there is a price to pay in this (not just $$$). Dont let it discourage you & try to have fun with it. Look at it as an opportunity to do something even better now! If you really like variegated foliage might want to try to fit in a My Monet Weigela in your landscape somewhere. Here is a pic of mine

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 9:41PM
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(A bit late checking back here) ~ WOW h-n-o! I have Wine & Roses ~ should have checked Monet! I've made many mistakes I had to chuck over the years ~ w/ all info in our finger-tips (literally) we should do less. The problem is running to tempting places on a whim!

We used to say *if we didn't like it there then we can always dig up & move over there!* Big Hs & other shrubs are not so easy after discovering coud be huge, right?! Possibly losing the ideal exposures/situations could also become a planned part of digging & sinking . But then again it's all part of the fun ~ after all even alone out there we can air-out our joys & sorrows to our garden buds I call mine the 3 Bs & the earthworms!!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:45AM
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