We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
July is Hydrangea bloom around here. A wonderful thing.
Gardeners want their shrub and/or perennial borders to have fun blooms to look at for as long as possible, and that takes thought and planning. (May is Azaleas, June is roses, etc). Hydrangeas want more sun than is often claimed, but too much will give them daytime wilt which weakens them. As their name indicates, they like some water (but the Oakleafs don't need it). It's complicated.
Even the pros get confused about how to grow the hundreds of cultivars of the beloved Hydrangea family of flowering shrubs. Each Spring, I renew my confusion - especially when it comes to the topic of pruning the different categories. Not to mention the newer ever-blooming types.
Most nursery plants are Asian in origin (obviously with plenty of genetic engineering applied to them for blooming purposes), but the old-fashioned Arborescens group derives from the North American wild plant. My favorites are the lacecap types, but I admire them all.
Here are a few things I have learned, none of which applies to all Hydrangeas:
- Hydrangeas like water, and generally do not prefer full-day sun. At least half-day is fine, preferably in the morning. Full shade does not work.
- The pink and/or blue hydrangeas are indeed acidity-sensitive in flower color
- Planting them where they are free to attain their full size without normal pruning (other than that all deciduous shrubs, once they are established and healthy, benefit from removal of 1/4 to 1/3 of the plant down to the ground, or at least the leggy or woody stems, each year) eliminates a lot of complexity.
- Save the dang plant label in a file (best to do with any new plant)
- Hydrangeas do not like much nitrogen fertilizing: it makes them grow leaves, not blooms.
- If you trim or prune your plant wrong, or at the wrong time, you won't get any bloom. Some bloom on new growth, some on last year's growth, and some seem just to do their own thing.