How and when to prune Endless Summers

fivemurfs(6.5 TN)September 6, 2009


What is the proper way to prune these hydrangeas and when is the proper time?

I have three Endless Summer Hydrangeas right next to each other. I bought these plants at the same time about 3 years ago. The light conditions are basically the same for all. Not sure about the soil as one bloomed lavender-blue.

The first in the row bloomed earliest (April) and was covered with flowers.

The second bloomed slightly later(May) and with not as many flowers

The third had one bud develop in June is just now getting lots of buds (September).

I pruned the first two after the flowers started looking bad but I'm not sure I did it right. I went down to first set of leaf buds. I can't remember what I did to them last year, but I wonder if I got them out of sync last year.

After pruning the two, all three are about the same size.

Any advice on what to do now?



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dont prune ES now...I told all my clients never ever prune ES after mid-Aug...if you prune now, you will take a big risk to prune off the flower buds for the first blush of blooms - those in May, did the right thing with the deadheading of the flowers...i like to do what you did, sometimes I do prune them further down to the second, third sets of healthy buds just to keep the overall form of the plant...I deadheaded my ESs in mid-July and they are developing a new blush of buds and blooms my general guide for ES pruning is - always before mid-Aug..deadheading the blooms - anytime after the blooms turn ugly, down to the healthy leave buds...jmho.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 7:02PM
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OK, here I go again. Endless Summer doesn't go by normal macrophylla rules. Or it shouldn't. The founding nursery is in some gawdawful northern zone and THAT's why the hydrangea became a hit. It blooms even if all the buds on the stems die. I cut mine down to the ground every year...and they're more than 5 feet this they've been for the past 5 years. They are incredibly robust. Well, for me.

I continue to marvel at ES problems, because I stuck 'em in the ground and they've just performed as they should have from day one. Think I've got 25. I've even moved 10 of 'em 3 times. And they've adapted to each environment. Maybe I have a garden angel?

My next pruning will be to cut them down to the ground after the frost. If I wanted to clean them up now, I wouldn't hesitate to make the plants look pretty.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 6:33PM
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I was at one of my favorite nurseries this past weekend. A nursery employee was showing me their huge ES. She says they prune it almost to the ground each spring to show customers that it does blooms on new wood. It was at least 5 feet tall and had many mature flowers on it. I didn't ask when it started to bloom. I got a tiny ES on clearance earlier this summer. It was in pretty bad shape, so I will see what it looks like in the spring. Right now, it would only take a few snips to cut it to the ground. It is hard to imagine it as a 5 foot shrub.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 8:32PM
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Your missing the real show if you dead head them all after the first flush of blooms. Try leaving them on one of the plants and watching the color changes. My blooms that were on one of my ES from may have now turned a stunning green, I dead headed the other ES and its second set of blooms have recently opened the really nice light blue . So I have two of the same plant but with very different but equally stunning blooms on them right now.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 10:21PM
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fivemurfs(6.5 TN)

Thank you all for your advice, which leads me to another question, but first of all...

maydeyna, I only dead headed the blooms that became rusty and wilty looking. The goods one I kept, and your are right. They have aged beautifully.

Orchidacea, and maydena, what heat zones are you in? I'm asking because Isimms and macgyver2009's advice of cutting them back to the ground makes sense to me for my climate.

My other hydrangeas, that bloom only from the old wood, have not bloomed well for five years. We have consistently had below 10 degrees weather, even if for only one or two nights, that has killed the buds every year. They are such large plants that there is no practical way for me to cover them and they are beautiful for the foliage so I hate to get rid of them.

I bought the ES to ensure some blooms.

If I cut back the ES they may bloom more consistently because they are all blooming from the new wood. But I wonder if the new growth without the old wood to support it will cause them to flop over when they get rain.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:00PM
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I am a zone 8 area but probly more like a zone 7 because I live up high and facing a really high wind (Columbia river). My endless summer had 4 feet of snow on it this winter but it bloomed its little head off any way. Its the only hydrangea I have that blooms if its keep outside, the rest have to be kept under the house all winter or no blooms. When I lived just 15 miles away I was able to keep them all outside and always had consistant blooms.Its under all that snow with just a light blanket of shadecloth on it then thats it in full bloom just a few months later. Its a really hardie plant. I did take the blanket off and on all spring when we were supposet to get frost because we have frost well into may up here.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 12:07PM
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Madeyna Beautiful Endless summer. Mine looked just like that but smaller, hope it looks like that this next summer. I live in Zone 6 Utah and also have a ES blushing bride as well as a Nikko Blue, should I cover it lightly or cage it, cover with leaves and burlap? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 3:03PM
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The one in the picture is the only one I kept outside all winter . I covered it with heavy shade cloth then when it started to green up in the spring I took the cloth off and recovered it a few times when we were expecting heavy frost. It bloomed about a month earlier than the ones I kept under the house until frost threats where gone. It also bloomed on every branch.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 1:20PM
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Since Endless Summer is the subject here I will chime in and tell you about my ES that grows in "some awful place up North." I do believe that it was developed up here and in some areas it is doing well. I planted two of them four years ago. The first year they both survived the winter and came up (no bloom), the third year one of them came up and had two blooms, the other disappeared. Last year neither of them came up in the Spring. This year one of them appeared again, but with no blooms. So I'm wondering what will take place next Spring. Most years we have an abundance of snow cover. Oh whoa is me! We do get pretty awful cold up here but we raise lots of shrubs and other garden things.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 5:28PM
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Its interesting when you all describe the size of ES. I was at a lecture this summer with Michael Dirr who comercialized the ES. I have to move mine since it has outgrown its space. When I told him that mine was currently over 5 ft( july 10th) tall, he seemed startled and autographed his book on Hydrangeas with this," Endless Summer sounds too good to be true;A tree? No way!

At any rate now I need to transplant it and the question is can I do it in the fall? I don't want to lose it but I keep thinking I might do more damage when the warm weather starts it growing again.

I also have to move an Annabelle ( actually give it away) and cannot wait for frost. What are its chances if I cut it back to the ground now instead of waiting for a hard frost that will be a month from now or more

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 8:55PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I would move it in the fall as soon as it goes dormant. Less transplant shock problems. You could do it in early spring but late frosts can do a number on tender new growth. You could wait until later in Spring too but by then you might have blooms that you hate to loose.... only in the worst of summer would I not move it and technically, you can but, why be outside when it is so hot! So as soon as it goes dormant is my choice. Still, keep an eye on soil moisture during its first summer at the new location and do not fertilize it this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting and Fertilizing Tips by JKing

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 12:31AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I'm also in that gawdawful northern zone from which ES came. It's not always tough enough to survive our gawdawful winters here though. It needs a protected site. If you can give it that it will do fine but it rarely gets more than 3 feet here. I never cut mine back until spring, then I cut back to green wood.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 9:55PM
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My ESs seem to be sprouting at the base from last year's stems. The top of the stems look dead. Should I cut them down to the new growth or just wait awhile in case the old canes decide to wake up. These bushes were buried in pine straw and wrapped with landscape cloth.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 1:34PM
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    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:22PM
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Newbie question. 2nd year for the plant. Good looking new growth. Do I cut the old "sticks" to the ground, or is that what is meant by "old wood"? Thanks

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:03PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Notes, this is a 2 year old thread. You'll get more info if you start a new thread.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:35AM
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