Macrophylla buds open up in November

barrygloec(Albany NY)November 10, 2009

The top buds on the pink Macrophylla in my yard are opening up.

I guess it's because the temperature in the 60's the last few days.

There are small leaves where the top buds were even though most of the leaves have fallen off the plant.

I was planning to put some winter protection around the plant in the next few days. Am I too late to save the top buds or will they grow back?

Should I have covered the bush sooner?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

If the stems are still alive and you winter protect them well, the plant could leaf out again in Spring. No guarantees of course but I am more concerned about the flower buds though. They tend to occur at the end of the stems and they are sort of invisible this time of the year so it is hard to tell if the temperature fluctuations are fooling the plant into blooming also; hope not. I had something similar happen to me about 3-4 years ago. The temperatures stayed warm well into December and then the bottom fell out. We got almost a week of freezing temperatures. The old/new leaves got zapped but returned back in Spring. The flower buds did not. I think I counted a total of two blooms from the Mac's that year.

Covering the bushes is probably a good idea but covering the plants when the temperatures are in the 60s will not force the plants to go dormant. They may even resist it and try to continue in "growth" mode until the amount of sunlight, reduced fertilizer levels, much lower temperatures and reduced moisture levels convince them to go dormant. Feel free to try though. Perhaps you can also winter protect a few days before the weather forecast says there is a big drop in temperatures?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 12:23PM
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barrygloec(Albany NY)

Thank you for your answer.
These buds are at the top of the stem. They do appear to be leaf buds, but I thought that those stems would produce flowers next year. I'm afraid that since those buds have opened that that part of the stem won't grow.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 3:38PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Yes, in macrophyllas, the blooms generally tend to originate from near the end of the stems which is why, when winter protecting, one should allow lots of leaves between the end of the stems and the end of the cage... the more leaves, the more winter protection that the stem ends get. Keep in mind that hydrangeas are rather tough plants. Unfortunately, it is hard to determine with 100% certainty what will happen. All you can do is protect them as best as you can going forward. Good luck and I hope you get blooms in Spring!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 9:59PM
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