Mothers deserve flowers every day. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, the opportunity to shower her with flowers is here. While a floral display every day might be a bit more than could be expected of any offspring, there is at least one alternative. This Mother’s Day present your mother with the gift of flowering hydrangeas that bloom again and again, reliably every summer.

Perfect for that task are the hydrangea macrophyllas, which have the unique characteristic of blooming on both the current season’s growth as well as old growth such as the Endless Summer series. These hydrangea macrophyllas provide the advantage of a longer bloom period. They also do away with the confusion of when and what to prune. Plus, the plants have the ability to flower in cooler climates because they don’t need last season’s growth to produce new blooms.

According to the folks from Endless Summer, researchers found these hydrangeas flowered on average 10 to 12 weeks longer than other hydrangea macrophyllas, and here’s what they suggest gardeners in cooler northern climates try to help ensure beautiful blooms:

Location, location, location! That old saying is true. In northern climates, the location of your hydrangea in the garden will have the largest effect on bloom production. The farther north you are, the more sun your plants can tolerate. In Zones 4-5a it is recommend that hydrangeas be planted in a location that enables them to receive at least six hours of sun with some dappled shade in the afternoon. Plant in evenly-moist, well-drained soil that has been enriched with compost.

Pruning: Don’t treat your Endless Summer, the original, Blushing Bride or Twist-n-Shout, like an Annabelle hydrangea by cutting them back in the fall or early spring. By cutting to the ground or within a few inches of the ground, most if not all of the buds on old wood are being removed. In addition, the old blooms of Endless Summer add to the winter interest of your garden. Endless Summer hydrangeas certainly do bloom on new wood, but it may take longer for flower buds to develop on the new growth of a young plant.

Winter cover: Protection for plants in the first few years is important, as is protection from spring freezes. Since hydrangea buds emerge early in spring, late freezes may damage bud development, as well as any new growth. Keeping the crown of plants covered with mulch through May helps protect these buds and any soft new growth from late spring freezes.

Feeding your plant: Fertilization is also an important factor in flower production of hydrangeas. A good quality, slow-release fertilizer applied once in spring or early summer should suffice for all but the most demanding locations. Look for an NPK (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)) in fertilizers. ratio of 10-30-10. Container plants may need an additional application of liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Remember, if you over-feed your hydrangeas, the effect is more dark green leaf production with fewer flower buds. In the north (Zone 4) we recommend no fertilization after Aug. 15, as plants need to slow down and acclimate for winter.

Watering: The amount you water is one more factor you can regulate to ensure beautiful blooms. Although hydrangeas are named after “Hydra”, Greek for water, your hydrangeas will form large leaves, lots of green growth and few flower buds if over-watered. Over-watering may slow the formation of flowers considerably. It’s normal for plants to wilt for a short time in the heat of the day. You’re better off to water well and less often.

By following these simple tips to help establish the new hydrangeas, mom can expect wonderful bloom production on her hydrangeas for years to come.

Endless Summer hydrangeas are the official plant of Mother’s Day. Each plant comes with its own Mother’s Day gift tag so you can be sure she knows it’s a special occasion. Whether mom is an avid gardener or simply wishes to have a great looking outdoor space, a plant from the Endless Summer Collection is a gift she’ll enjoy for years to come.

Receiving Endless Summer The Original, Blushing Bride, Twist-n-Shout or the new Bella Anna is like getting two Mother’s Day gifts in one. In addition to providing great color outdoors, blooms can also be cut and brought inside to create a beautiful bouquet. Because all four hydrangea varieties have the unique ability to bloom on old and new growth, these great flowers can be cut without worry – more blooms will continue to grow, and each variety makes an ideal plant for decorative containers, elegant as stand-alone shrubs, combined as a group or with other garden plants. (And don’t forget dad as Father’s Day is coming up, too.)

 

 


 

 

Change hydrangea colors the easy way

Creating great color in your yard can be easy and fun! Endless Summer has created Color Me Pink and Color Me Blue — two products to help safely change the color of your hydrangeas.

Many bigleaf hydrangeas have the unique ability to change flower color from spectacular pink to beautiful blue depending on soil pH. But for some gardeners, the best way to accomplish the task still remains a mystery. Color Me Pink and Color Me Blue make color changing easier and safer.

Color Me Pink features pelletized Garden Lime and Color Me Blue is pelletized soil sulfur – both formulations are safer alternatives to other color changing methods. Both products feature a pre-measured scoop and easy-to-understand directions printed right on the waterproof container.

Color Me Blue takes hydrangea blooms from pink to blue. Using soil sulfur, Color Me Blue lowers the pH of garden soil allowing hydrangea varieties to produce glorious blue blossoms. Be sure to read and follow the package directions. Remember, more is not better when it comes to soil additives.

Look for these products at your local garden center this spring. For more expert advice and a look at the entire Endless Summer®Collection, including new Endless Summer Bella Anna, visit EndlessSummerBlooms.com.

 

 

When bulbs don’t bloom: Top 10 reasons why

Most bulbs are easy to grow, but sometimes even the best bulbs don’t bloom well. If that ever happens in your garden, Old House Gardens suggests the cause might be:

Leaves removed too early. To multiply and recharge for future bloom, bulbs need to photosynthesize. The more the better, so leave foliage alone until it yellows.

Planted too late. Bulbs need to establish good roots before the ground freezes. Bulbs stored too long, especially small ones, may dry out so much they struggle or fail.

Fall was too dry. Good root growth in the fall is essential for good bloom in the spring, and roots can’t grow well in dry soil.

Too much shade. Most bulbs need plenty of sun, more the further north you garden. As nearby trees and other plants grow, once sunny areas may become too shady for bulbs.

Soil too wet. In heavy, clay, or water-logged soils, many bulbs struggle or rot. Plant in sandy to average soils, improve heavy soils with organic matter, or plant in raised beds. Even average soils can be too damp for some bulbs during their summer dormancy. This is especially true for tulips in the rainier eastern half of the country and in gardens that are regularly watered.

Over-crowded. As bulbs multiply they can become so congested that they’re starved for moisture and nutrients. Gently dig and divide.

Too small. (You’ll never have this problem with our bulbs, but under-sized bulbs are widely sold. In difficult conditions, even the best bulbs can dwindle until they’re too small to bloom.)

Wrong climate. (Both winters and summers can be too cold or too warm, too wet or too dry, depending on the type of bulb. Tulips, for example, need a certain number of winter hours below a certain temperature or they won’t bloom, and they rebloom best where summers are dry.)

Under-fed or over-fed. (Bulbs can starve in nutrient-poor soils, but over-rich soils cause problems, too. Too much nitrogen, for example, spurs leaf growth at the expense of flowering. Let a soil test guide you.)

Animals, insects, or diseases. (Burrowing rodents and daffodil flies can eat bulbs, leaving little trace, while other pests attack their flowers and foliage. Learn more here.)

Whew! The good news is that most bulbs are tough and adaptable. And once you understand what they need, it’s even easier to keep them blooming gloriously year after year.

To see the heirloom bulbs at Old House Gardens, visit oldhousegardens.com.

Lynette L. Walther is the recipient of the National Garden Bureau’s Exemplary Journalism Award and the Florida Magazine Association’s Silver Award of Writing Excellence.  The member of the Garden Writers Association gardens in Camden. Got questions, or comments? Visit her blog, and join in the conversation at: gardeningonthego.wordpress.com or on Facebook.