Endless Summer poor performance?

Chicago, IL

I have two Endless Summer hydrangeas that are not blooming as I'd hoped. they are planted with an eastern exposure and morning sun from about 9 to noon ish. However, the flower clusters are very small (like the size of a small orange) and seem to preferentially be on lower branches where they can't really be seen. I just got them within the last 2 years and am wondering if the plants need to be older, or whether there is some maintenance I am not doing properly. Appreciate any suggestions!

I have not pruned them, and I unfortunately don't know if our area had frost-bud problems. (I have friends whose hydrangeas are going gangbusters, which is why I'm perplexed, but they are different types.) Thanks very much!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Endless Summer blooms on both new and old wood. The old wood blooms will have the frost problems that you're mentioning unless you protect the plant over the winter. Since you're seeing blooms on the bottom half, those are the blooms on old wood--the lower half of the plant is less exposed so buds will have an easier time surviving than on the top part of the plant. You should also get some blooms later in the season on the newer growth, but from a few threads about ES over the last couple years it seems that it can take a couple years to really get going and start giving you good blooms on new wood. So you may have to be patient with them for a little bit longer before they'll bloom how you want. In the meantime, if you want more blooms you can protect them for the winter and that should save all of your old wood blooms, then you'll have a fuller display followed by a second round of the blooms on new wood.

Chicago, IL

great - thanks! I've only been gardening seriously for a few years and patience is not yet my strong suit :)

Blytheville, AR(Zone 7a)

How do you all protect the Endless Summer through the winter?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

In your zone you don't have to worry about protecting ES (or any other hydrangea for that matter--even the non-reblooming type will be fine without protection in zone 7). Endless Summer doesn't necessarily need protection in colder zones either since it'll bloom on new wood as well as old, but if people want more blooms and want to protect the ones they'd get on old wood, then a wire cage filled up with leaves is a common protection method.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

No.... It's not a large unripe raspberry.... This is a bloom on my endless summer.
This is my first year with these plants, and so far I'm not impressed. I have two, less than 3' apart at the east corner of the house. Like yours one gets morning sun till noon, the other till about 1. The later wilts like crazy, while the former (the one pictured) has powder mildew, but no wilting. The overall structure of this plant is very unattractive and i have thought about giving it a serious haircut this fall, but I'm hoping for some more growth first so i can try to even it out.
How has yours turned out?

Thumbnail by OutlawHeart81
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I wouldn't judge it based on performance during its first year (or many times even the 2nd year). They need some time to get established, so it can take a couple years before they start putting on a good show of flowers. I would also probably let them grow a bit before you start giving them serious haircuts.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Lol. Ok! I cut my own bangs yesterday, i think i get carried away with scissors. :)
Here's another from the same plant.

Thumbnail by OutlawHeart81
Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Nice bloom but I too would not bother pruning now. Let the plant develop a good root system and prune it when it less stressful on a plant already undergoing transplant shock. That "time" would be after they go dormant (late Fall or Winter). As a fyi, hydrangeas rarely need pruning, provided they are growing in a location where they can achieve their estimated size at maturity without crowding other plants. In other words, pruning should not be an annual garden chore with hydrangeas. But feel free to deadhead ES since this promotes more blooms.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

I have been deadheading and removing really poor leaves hoping to help it focus energy on rooting, which is why this dinky little bloom puzzles me a bit. Being first year, zone 5, nearly 4; i don't plan to leave blooms for winter interest, I'll probably be mulching, covering and hoping for a good lasting snow cover. Any recommendations to that end?

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Only what you are already doing, OutlawHeart81... maintain 3-4" of mulch, do not fertilize and keep them watered while the ground has not frozen (once every two weeks while dormant is fine). I assume you do not winter protect since it is supposed to be winter hardy for you.

http://www.endlesssummerblooms.com/en/consumer/plants/theoriginal/care/wintercare

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Yeah, that's my plan. Just cover them up with leaves and see what happens.

Chicago, IL

Well, they really took off this summer and did great. We are in Zone 5 and don't do significant winter mulching (they are near the house and a bit sheltered).

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

So glad to hear this. Mine just keeps looking worse and worse. Mildew on both now. Not sure if i should move em or leave em be.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

PM usually suggests high moisture levels. If the humidity is due to Irene affecting your area, dispose the leaves in the trash when they dry out in the Fall. You could replace the mulch too if the infestation is severe and you can afford it. If the humidity is due to too much watering then reduce that when the temperatures go down; if the soil feels moist or wet when you are going to water, do not water. I get some now and then because one neighbor has a pool on one side and I have a small creek on another side. If the shrubs are crowded by other plants, you could transplant in order to improve air flow between plants. Spray a solution of 20% regular milk + 80% water very early in the mornings to see if it helps fight off the PM. Skim milk is also ok; may stink less than regular milk when its fat content turns rancid/stinky.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Lol. We drink 1% so i will try that. Heard of it for roses.
Even before Irene this seemed problematic with one that gets less sun, but now it's both. They are still rather small so i don't think crowding is the issue. They have yet to be mulched so I'm leaving them alone till things dry up a bit.

Louisville, KY

I have called endless summer endless disappoiintment. I have removed it from my garden. I was at a conference last year where a noted nurseryman from Wisconsin said that it had earned the name endless bummer there. Please note that this is the experience of a zone 6 gardener..not a zone 9 gardener.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

The sad part is us lower zones are the target audience since warmer zones have a weather of great Hydrangeas with little worry about frost kill on the buds of old growth. If it's no good here....what's the point? :-[
I'm going to hold onto mine a while longer.... But i think my old canes are toast. I have a bad feeling i'll be starting from scratch each year. :-/

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

If it's any consolation, I've yet to see one do well here, either.
This particular cultivar has been way over-hyped. Even the ones in nurseries here look awful.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I agree!

(Zone 4b)

And yet I have been completely pleased with the performance of my "Endless Summer" the past 4 years (zone 5b).

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

I managed to kill one when I planted it. The drip irrigation was not placed correctly so it was not getting enough water. Then I turned the darn thing off when we had a spell of sub-freezing temperatures but forgot to turn it back on just as we started a warm dry spell. By the time that I realized the drip was still off, it was almost dead. A suffering camellia called that to my attention. I dunked the ES in a pail of water for a while and replanted it again but it never recovered. Made me mad with myself because those shrubs had come out the year before and were quite expen$ive. I got it from a nursery of a town hundreds pf miles away that I seldom go to; they had a sale that day and I just happened to be passing thru. Don't even remember how I got there now. Oh well.... I got another and the dogs eventually killed it digging. Big hole they left. I mean BIG OLE hole! I could see PVC Pipes! Sigh...




This message was edited Mar 17, 2012 8:16 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Endless Summer can be great but I think that it has to be planted in very specific locations. I had a neighbor who put ten of them on the north side of his house and they all died. I was given one as a gift by a landscape contractor (was it better? It certainly was larger) and put it on the south side of my house next to hardscaping and it has thrived. Some of my old wood even survives. It grows so fast that I typically cut it to the ground anyway. And I note that Rogue is in 5b.

I did take the precaution of putting a soaker hose around the base so that I could water it once a week.

I think that patented plants are often hyped for sales around the country, including in places where the climate is unsuitable. I think it's really persnickety, and I got lucky.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Sherrill, NY(Zone 5a)

I got lucky too! I have 2 planted near the house is kind of a north west location. They do great..I get blooms on both old and new wood. I have had them 4-5 years now. My next door neighbor was impressed by them and planted one in a similar setting as mine..near the house and facing the same direction. His do not bloom at all!
I even got mine from 2 separate vendors.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

Do they tolerate more sun? I have mine in part shade and I am not impressed with their performance. Maybe I should move them so they get more sun.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

With watering once a week (15 minutes with a soaker hose) mine tolerates very high heat. And it's on the south side of my house. Might be worth a try.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

Thanks I just might do that.

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