many hydrangea endless summers not blooming

jim_bladeOctober 9, 2006

This is my first time using this web site. We planted over 300 hydrangea endless summers over the last 2 years. I've had very discouraging results with them. This year on 3 of our propertys all the endless summers had no blooms or minimal blooms on very healthy looking plants. One of the properties is on the cape in massachusetts and the other 2 our in metro west of boston. Many other properties had not great blooming plants. They were all planted 2 summers ago. last summer was very good for the ones on the cape. boston plants were minimal last year. I'm thinking of ripping them all out as hydrangeas our a signature plant for us. Poor performance by them is not a good thing. Others experiences would be helpful to hear.

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Latebloomer(z6 Tn)

I've noticed the same thing.I carried over 50-60 from last year.They were in tunnel hoops like penny Macs & Nikkos.I would say 50% or so had no blooms what so ever.Plus we had a mild winter last year,what gives.So far I've had no customer complaints.Any body else?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 11:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Are these being cut back or left alone?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:30PM
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Latebloomer(z6 Tn)

I didn't cut mine back,if they bloom on old and new wood it shouldn't matter.They are suppose to be rebloomers.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:44AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Well, they shouldn't be nearly flowerless without pruning, either, yet that is what is happening for you. Maybe if you read detailed description somewhere a limitation will be mentioned that will shed light. If patented I would search USPTO web site using plant patent number search for patent application description. Even if no drawbacks mentioned there you can find out who patent applicant was, sometimes this is a commerical entity with a web site that will have its own profile of plant.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 1:34PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

Also, the growers fertilize the heck out of their Hydrangeas. 20-20-20 at least once a month during the growing season.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 2:29PM
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some of ours were cut back but most of them were not. I think it did'nt make a difference with them. I appreciate the feedback. I'm wondering if I should post the same question in the hydrangea forum?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 8:05PM
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Hydrangeas in general did not bloom well this year on Cape Cod. I think it was just not a good year for them for some reason. We had a mild winter and a very wet spring followed by a normal summer.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 10:22PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Hi, Jim-
I have a small gardening business here in Central NH, the Lakes Region. I have planted many 'Endless Summers' over the past few years - customers are crazy over them. Some have bloomed nicely, others have not. All have died back nearly to the ground, then put forth nice healthy foliage, but may or may not bloom.

I planted a single specimen last summer (2005) at my 81 year old Mother's home in Western NY--not a single bloom in 2006-- and it was an optimum site. She was so looking forward to blooms all summer - got nothing.

As an organic gardener, my blooming shrubs get compost and perhaps some dehydrated manure -- no 20-20-20 fertilizer, as nwnatural points out, that's for sure. I have wondered if it could be bloom variation in individual plants.

I think we should contact Michael Dirr-- the originator of 'Endless Summer' and also the new companion hydrangea, 'Blushing Bride.'


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 10:58PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Link on this subject--from GW Hydrangea Forum

Here is a link that might be useful: ES Hydrangea Not Blooming

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:08PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

In probably just about all soils 20-20-20 will be substantial overkill. Soilless potting media tend to be heavily fertilized due to comparative lack of mineral content, frequent irrigation soon producing a nutrient deficiency if regular heavy fertilizing not kept up. Even so, popularity of 20-20-20 (and similar high concentration formulations) for container plants likely represents a huge amount of waste and pollution.

If it goes for years without flowering rename it 'Endless Bummer'.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:27PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

The local producers of Endless Summer here in the NW swear by 20-20-20. Sorry guys, I don't make the rules. Any pot bound plant that gets watered regularly will flush most of it's nutrients out of the soil (or soil-less mix, blah blah blah, aren't we all smart). So, high doses of fertilizers are put back into the pots regularly. What do you think all of those blue pellets are, and then they add water soluble on top of that. Up here, it's really only large scale operations that are producing enough quantities for our nurseries to buy. They ain't organic either.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 1:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

What does being potbound have to do with leaching? And why would being potbound be considered part of the normal situation? If the stock being potbound was considered part of the regular routine, maybe assuming the right ratio was 20-20-20 hasn't really been checked by that party, either. Think about it: what are the chances that all three primary nutrients are going to become depleted, need to be replaced in exactly the same high amounts for each?

If this grower is watering off a well that supplies groundwater with plenty of minerals in it and that one is using rainwater they may have quite different conditions in their containers just from that factor alone.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:26PM
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Here is the catalogue description of 'Endless Summer' from the largest container-grower in my area:
"A true breakthrogh in hydrangeas, this new variety blooms on both new and old wood. This means that it will rebloom during the season, and can survive and bloom after a hard winter. As with many hortensia type hydrangeas, 'Endless Summer's' blooms will be blue in acidic soil and pink in alkaline soil. PP #15298 Developed in Minnesota"
Regarding fertilizing, my observation is that slow-release in soiless mixes is 18-6-12 or some variation thereof. Throughout the growing season container stock is "fertigated" almost daily. This involves injecting dilute fertilizer into the irrigation, analysis will be pretty uniform throughout the entire nursery, customizing fertilizer injection for different irrigation zones may be possible but seldom practiced.
My state has a very stringent nutrient management policy. Noone questions the fact that nutrients escape as the container drains. This drainage water is recaptured, directed to irrigation pond and reused.
I think that the jury is still out on 'Endless Summer'. If it cannot adjust to the landscape setting and live up to its billing we will see it dropped from production.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 5:56PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The funny part about "blooms on both new and old wood" is that most mophead hydrangeas do that. Claim must be based on matter of degree, as in "blooms more heavily on new wood (growth, really) than others".

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 6:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Patent office description says inventor is V. Black, Cottage Grove, MN.

"The inventor discovered the new cultivar, `Bailmer`, in a cultivated garden in St. Paul, Minn. in the summer of 1983. The inventor observed the new invention for a three year period and recognized that it was unique in that it bloomed dependably in a Zone 4 climate and consistently displayed deep green, disease-free foliage. The inventor rooted softwood cuttings and set up a trial block at a nursery in St. Paul, Minn. for further observation in 1986."

M. Dirr apparently entered the picture later.

"In 1998, additional trials were initiated both in St. Paul, Minn. and in Athens, Ga. to fully identify the unique characteristics of `Bailmer` as compared to existing cultivars of H. macrophylla."

Bailey nursery has multiple promotional pages up, including this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrangea plant named `Bailmer`

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 7:04PM
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wow, this thread is pretty much why the internet is such a valued source of information.

Finally, bboy took a moment to clear up a lot of erroneous info previously posted. Thanks.

My personal experience with hydrangea has been, regardless of variety, if you are planting it in a spot where you feel you need the flowers, better give up, cuz it ain't gonna happen. Plant it where the flowers would also be nice, and it'll wow and dazzle you. Don't ask me to explain why; I can't.

Further, once more we have a diatribe about fertilizer.

Notice that when asked how to get a hydrangea to bloom, no one from a nursery waxed euphoric about soil tests. They told you what to use to get flowers. It's almost as though we shouldn't trust people whose business it is to know thier business.

One might almost think that given the fertilizer recomendations, hydrangeas are greedy plants that require nutrient levels above those normally found in most soils. (Glyn Church, Hydrangeas, Cassel).

The most totally misunderstood concept in growing plants is soils. It is also easily the most complex. And seeing as different plants have different requirements...perhaps people who grow these and reliably produce flowers might have a little bit of knowledge to share.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 11:06AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

The retail and re-wholesale garden center where I work, has sold Endless Summer since it was introduced - 5 gal. and 7 gal. containers.

All arrived laden with buds, and bloom profusely while in the yard awaiting sale. I have never seen one that didn't have buds or blooms. The assumption is that the growers are fertilizing heavily and raising the plants in ideal conditions to attain this state of floriferousness.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 9:07PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Assumptions can be dangerous. I wouldn't assume the most careful and cost effective (necessary) use of fertilizer automatically followed from the successful production of a hort. crop at all. There's a difference between getting a good crop with 20-20-20 and knowing that you couldn't get a good crop without that same exact formulation.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 9:43PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Yikes, laag...where were you on the Cape this year? Most people found that their hydrangeas bloomed so well that they flopped on the ground from being so heavily laden with flowers! I've heard more than one person say "if you don't have hydrangeas blooming this year, you can't grow hydrangeas."

I have ALSO heard many pros saying that to date they have NOT been impressed with the performance of Endless Summer.

I also take issue with assuming that the growers are pumping the plants up with fertilizer and this results in more blooms - do we KNOW that they are super fertilizing these plants? Is it the fertilizer or the stress of being in a container that is producing flowers? Or is it the place where the plant is being raised vs the location that the plant ultimately ends up?

I remember reading in a book on Hydrangeas (published by Timber Press, but not Dirr's book - can't lay my hands on it wouldn't you know) that this particular author felt that hydrangeas bloom better with LOWER levels of phosphate....but this was pre-Endless Summer.

I wish there were more postings here from people who have planted ES in clients gardens, instead of speculations from all of us who have enquiring minds and want to know.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Then you would know how it did that year in that garden. Wouldn't know anything else, except if many other people in the same region had poor or no bloom you'd know there was a shared difficulty. Wouldn't know if it was the cultivar, the climate, soils...without some kind of organized investigation.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 7:52PM
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CL, I saw good early blooms and plenty of top heavy flop. Then I saw a lot of colorless leftover in a lot of places during the latter part of the season from Falmouth to Chatham. Did I only notice the bad ones and ignore the good ones? It seems that there are usually steady blooms well into October. I am not seeing it this year.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 9:50PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Well I know what you mean about colorless leftovers, but frankly, I've seen these in sunny areas only. Hydrangeas that were grown in Eastern exposures are still looking great. In fact, tomorow (in late October!) I plan to pick dozens of hydrangeas from the shady areas of my yard so I can dry them. I think that that HOT weather we had for two weeks in mid-summer fried those that were in full sun. (I passed a yard where someone had put up beach umbrellas to shade their shrubs. They were determined to have those flowers last.) In the past the sea breeze made it possible to grow hydrangeas in full sun, but if the weather continues to get hotter, we'll probably see more crispy mop-heads in the future...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:56PM
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Thanks, CL. I do think that most of these were in full sun.

By the way, I did plant three Endless Summer today. .... out of blue pots.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 9:52PM
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i did not get my usual crop of blooms on my 'old school' hydrangea and none on my 'Big Daddy'. i'm thinking mabey these plants like a colder winter or a more steady temp., ours last year was mild.
as far as the spotty results in cape cod, think microclimates.
while it is true that you don't need extra fertalizer for a hydrangea to bloom, it is very wasteful and bad for our enviroment, it is a good idea to fertalize. try a landscape fertalizer like woodace, country club, ect for a correct dose

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 6:40PM
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I'm up in Bailey's neightborhood and have used Endless Summer in my own garden and several clients gardens. I lost a few the first year they came out but since they've all done well and bloomed subsequent years. It seems I only get one good flush in mid summer, I think the early crop is killed off over winter and then there isn't enough time to ripen a fall flush. None get chemical fertilizer but all are in shady woodsy gardens with fertile soil.

I can't really think what would be different about the upper midwest. More heat then the east coast? Cooler evenings?

Blushing Bride is supposed a better reblooming - time will tell.

BTW my understanding is the original Endless Summer was purchased a forced plant for a Mother's Day gift and planted in a garden where it bloomed happily for years until it came to the attention of someone who worked at Bailey's


    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 2:53PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If that's the case then it would almost certainly already have had a cultivar name, making the names being used by Bailey bogus. Mophead hydrangeas are propagated vegetatively, it wouldn't be an unnamed seedling from a seed strain being used by the floral crops industry.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 2:51PM
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My Endless Summer Twist-n-Shout was planted in June '10 in acidic soil in Virginia Beach, Va. The blooms were pink when I planted it, but this month (May,'11) it is blooming beautifully and blue. I may add lime to the soil next year to see if I can get the pink back, but it's such a good-looking blue I might let it be. I hope I don't have any of the problems the rest of you are having. Maybe this is the perfect climate for hydrangeas. Our Azalea Gardens in adjoining Norfolk has large, gorgeous hydrangeas of many varieties. I'll keep you posted as the season progresses.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 4:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

That one is more impressive visually than 'Bailmer', even right in the garden center.

Note that - as you indicate with your calling it Endless Summer Twist-n-Shout - Endless Summer is a brand, a collection of several different cultivars rather than a single cultivar 'Endless Summer'. The cultivar people are nearly always talking about when they say "Endless Summer" is 'Bailmer'.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:50PM
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This is the downside of "miracle plants". I know the Bailmer is promoted as a super hydrangea that is remontant and a profuse bloomer but honestly you should treat it like all your other macrophyllas. Dead head in the fall, remove dead canes in late spring and prune back dead stems from healthy ones. Add compost every spring. Feed with nutrient rich slow release feeds (holly-tone or plant-tone) and an emulsifier ( hydrolyzed fish). Make sure they get about 1-2" of water a week from a slow drip source, such as a soaker hose or drip irrigation, and mulch them up to the crown.

I have nursery grown Bailmers and as a test I tried hard pruning in fall versus the usual method used for Nikko Blues. Guess which ones are doing better? :) I am not a big fan of the series but it does help get some color for the homeowner who isn't around all the time.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Outlets here have large selections of hydrangeas and the flower quality of the 'Bailmer' often appears inferior to others. Another thing that is noticeable is that it seems to be available in full bloom earlier in the season than most others. But maybe that is just a matter of how Bailey is handling them.

One large local independent store has been advertizing 20% off on hydrangeas, saying they have 30 kinds.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:16PM
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My hydrangas looks perfect the last 3 years. This year for some reason they did not bloom but the plans look very healthy. We had a very cold wet spring and I believe that is the problem. I have going to prune them or cut them back mid now in the hope they bud and flower. Am I waisting my time? NOTE this happened about 4 years ago where the early spring april/may they started new growth then we had 35 degreee temps. That is my guess to the problem.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 10:18AM
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I found here in ne ohio to plant these hydrangeas with the tops in full sun while keeping the roots well watered in loamy soil, otherwise I had the same problem all foliage sparse bloom never lost a plant just time. hope this helps

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 6:30PM
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