Bombshell is not growing but not dying either?

margomouse(5)August 22, 2012

Hello everyone. I have been following posts on this site for quite sometime- but just "officially" joined tonight. I have a question about my Bombshell hydrangea. I have had it for about 6 weeks, and I bought a couple of limelights at the same time. The bombshell is planted where it is about 40% morning sun- then more of dappled shade. I water it religiously, feel the soil to see how damp it is first- it always drinks the water quickly. The leaves are not wilting, not yellowing, but rather fading to a lighter color of green. There is essentially no new growth either. It has the same blooms as 6 weeks ago- 2 lime green ones and a white one. In contrast- the limelight that receives much more sun- and that I pruned to shape and water also- has an abundance of new leaves and growth!!! It has all kinds of new little buds and sprouts. Only thing I can think of is- maybe I didn't loosen up the ground enough before planting it. I added peat moss- used root conditioner- mulch- etc... I have treated it the same as my other 16 hydrangeas (ES, limelight, PeeGee) and they are all doing great :( Anyone have any suggestions? Am thinking about digging it up- breaking up the soil more, "massaging the roots" then replanting it in the ground- was thinking maybe it was kind of root bound in its container form before I planted it. Or should I just put it in a container? They don't get big anyway--- Well, I anxiously await your input and advice. I love the idea of having access to the brains of so many brilliant gardeners :-)

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Some hydrangeas grow fast and others do not. Lord knows why. I have one Masja that is like that. Soil analysis in its area shows normal levels of NPK, slightly acidic soil so, oh well.

Since you noticed that the leaves are turning silghtly chlorotic, I would amend the soil to make sure that the soil is somewhat acidic. You can use iron-chelated liquid compounds, garden sulphur, green sand, iron sulfate or aluminum sulfate.

I would also check to make sure that the plant is not getting too much water as this can cause the plant to temporarily react as if it has an iron defficiency; this would also make the plant not grow fast. If the soil feels moist or wet at a depth of 4" then it has enough water. Maintain 3-4" of mulch so you do not need to water often.

I would not bother doing anything else to it. Plants recover from transplant shock at their own pace and this can take 2-3 years for some of them. Six weeks is not long enough to see new growth in some shrubs. Let it concentrate in building a new root system.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Thanks!! Great advice all the way around :-) I may be over watering it. Every time I have watered it- the soil soaks it up readily- making me think it needs more- so I give it more- but obviously that is not the way the plant likes it ;) I will also look into amending the soil too. When I planted it- I mixed in some compost and holly-tone - haven't added anything since. Just curious- a friend of mine mentioned a soil moisture monitor? Something like a probe you stick into the ground to assess how moist it is- and it gives you a reading? Just wondering if you have experience with such a thing- or any opinion. I typically stick my finger in the soil as far as I can- and thats how I judge how moist it is.

Anyway, thanks so much for responding and giving me ideas and hope. This is by far the most expensive of the hydrangeas I have bought- probably not alot to a true collector. But, it is a little disheartening. My $1.00 clearance endless summer has come back from the brink and had some little blooms even :-)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:22PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I've planted at least 50 hydrangea and Bombshell is the only dud I've come across. I'm giving it one more year.

I have 5 and they are just struggling like crazy and not putting out new growth. They've been in the ground for 12 weeks and nothing. They are thin and straggly with curled, burnt leaves.

It might be the worst deciduous plant I've ever planted. I know I have to be patient though.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Thanks whass. Misery loves company- and OBVIOUSLY you know what YOU are doing; so hopefully it is not just my lack of experience here. My clearance endless summer had new growth in a few weeks- and this.... well.... looks like an experiment in making artificial shrubbery gone bad :-( If you decode the Bombshell and find the magic key to its growth and glory- please let me know :-) I have been giving the bombshell the same amount of water as my ES and limelight and peegee's and they are all happy.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:58PM
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Say, how are you guys being affected by the drought this year? This year, summer was not as bad as last year and we have actually started to celebrate going down into the 90s, temperature wise & getting rain for the last two weeks.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:34AM
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It has been rough here :-( But worse in other parts of the state. There are fields of corn that are looking as if it is mid-oct- BUT- the ears are tiny and the plants much shorter. It is just all dried up. Beans are fairing much better. Lawns around here have been brown until about a week ago. Had I not religiously watered all of my 300+ new perennials- I am sure they would all be dead. Many others around here who have established gardens but didn't water, have basically done a lot of fall cleanup already- as many plants just dried up and died. Even many hostas, which are hard for the most part to get stressed, are a big blur of brown. There have also been a lot of leaves dropped, not necessarily changed color- but just dried up :( We are very grateful the temps have dropped down into the 80's and low 90's. It is amazing to me how my plants have taken off since the temps have went down. Even the "full" sun plants do not appreciate the weeks of 100 plus temps- even though I kept them watered. Its great to see things that were merely surviving, thriving!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:01AM
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I have close to 150 hydrangeas and bombshell is a big disappointment for me. There are a few that I can count on to bloom well and this is not one of them. They have only made their way into my garden for 2 years and they may only see one more. I had a similar experience with blushing bride but then they finally started looking decent. Not great but just enough to earn its keep. If bombshell don't shape up soon I see another quickfire or pinky winky in its place.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:19PM
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