Endless Summer Hydrangea not doing well

LindaKay81August 28, 2012

I'm fairly new to gardening :) I've tried to figure out what the problem is and all of the information is just getting jumbled in my head :) I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangeas in the flower beds in front of my house which faces North. It does get about 1 - 2 hours of morning sun and smidge of sun in the afternoon (which I have read is good for this plant). These flower beds have what I would expect to be very rich dirt in them (it originally came from the area where cattle feed on hay - may or may not have been a good idea - regardless, the dirt was in the beds for about a year before any plantings). I planted the Hydrangeas, they looked great, everything was fine, then they sort of stopped blooming so I assumed I was watering too much because I had also noticed some black on some leaves and the leaves were really big and plentiful. I cut back on the watering and they seemed to start looking a little better. Note - We have had a SERIOUSLY dry and very hot summer. I would water when they looked droopy... They have mulch, I've fertilized twice... All of the sudden they look AWFUL. Leaves have dropped, they look spindly and like they are about to kick the bucket... I'm depressed and don't know what to do to save them :(

Help me :) :)

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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

They are probably winding down for the season. In the north they need optimal conditions to even bloom more than once. Water and mist just enough to keep existing leaves from turning crispy and falling off. Even at that, the plant may decide to drop leaves that have been under too much stress for too long. However, there still should be some green buds and shoots along the stems behind those ratty leaves. Remember, seasons of drought and extreme heat are not really for hydrangeas. All you can do is buy time until you get a season where they DO flourish.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:22AM
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marcindy(z5b, Indianapolis, IN)

I would also not fertilize them, it sounds like you planted them in really rich soil. This is their first year and they need to establish roots. Extra fertilizing can cause the fine new roots to burn. Just keep the bed moist but not waterlogged and be patient with them. They may recover and grow beautifully next year. Good luck and welcome to an addictive hobby...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Thank you so very much for the input! It sounds like I should just be a little more patient :) I was just worried I was going to lose them and wanted to do whatever I needed to save them. Would you suggest that I go ahead and remove spent, brown flowers and crispy leaves? I have in the past but have not lately (I was mindful of not cutting off new buds)... I do have buds underneath all of it.

Again, thanks for helping and responding so quickly :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 7:24PM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Remove the blooms, but let the leaves fall off on their own...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:22AM
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I'll second the previous comments, but you may have problems with blooming with that little light. How close to the buidling are these? North sides produce very deep shade. For growth, hydrangeas are fine in shade, but for bloom set...maybe not so much.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:02PM
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I agree with everything said. No fert. let them establish, sounds like too much shade, but they are fine, winding down especially for new plantings.

However, all you have is 5b, but I will highly recommend winter protecting them. I know they are marketed as winter hardy, and they'll make it. But, if you want blooms next year, especially with the amount of shade, I would wrap them up for the winter after freezing temps. I use burlap stuffed with straw. You can also use leaves. Huge difference after experimenting with uncovered vs. covered here in Northeast Ohio.

Just one example;


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 3:28PM
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