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Hydrangeas in the semi-arid.

Denver, CO

A classic southern plant, Hydrangeas are a real sought-after garden plant. And rightly so.
But how to accomodate them in the Rocky mountain region?
Hardiness is not normally a problem, most are good to z5 or so, right?
Soil can be enriched, but which varieties will not take alkalinity in any case?
Sun? We all know dang well that "full sun" is a relative term around here.
I have seen H. macrophylla locally in East sun, North shade, and dappled tree shade. I've seen Peegee hydrangeas in real full sun, but in pots. (When the grower put them in the ground, they had problems.)

I recently received a gift of a glorious 'Annabelle,' and now it's time to take care of it.
What are your experiences or observations of the Hydrangea genus and how it is grown in our Rocky Mountains?
(There is a particular user who has got to know something by namesake!)
K. James

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

My Pee Gee is happy even here after no water for 2 weeks. I has beautiful flowers soon. Even when I stack rocks on its base. OOps.

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Aurora, CO(Zone 5a)

Oh, I love Annabelle. I wanted to plant hydrangea (hence my name), but my realtor said not to because they don't grow well here. So I was thinking of viburnim (sp?) instead.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Viburnum should exceed well there. I am slowly moving into more Hydrangeas but I will use some hearty ones until my woodland umbrella goes a little bigger. here is what Anna looked like last year as a baby.

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Denver, CO

How very green those leaves are, nice Steve.
Hyger, is your realtor a horticuluralist? Has he/she treid it scientifically?
After all, neither palms nor bananas nor southern magnolias nor cannas nor passionvines nor tree peonies nor azaleas nor bamboo grow in Colorado... according to which, my garden has no plants in it.

Viburnum comes in bazilions of flavors, all of which I don't know a thing about.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

thank you Kenton. You might know that I use a lot of compost. Hee Hee. I was wondering the same thing about the real estate agent. Why would anyone talk down plants in their business? Anyway soil amendment and it is always possible.

Denver, CO

I wonder about sun. That's my main concern/curiosity. I could play musical-aspect with it, as a potted plant. But I know that I have the absolute best soil in the world hands-down; except, of course, for a patch in Montana somewhere.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Don't you have filtered sun under the sumacs you plant? Or how about the cottonwoods, aspen, and Plane trees. I'm sure hydrangeas need the acidic. Your truck load of compost material looked just like my truck I today. I am off loading a bunch of mushroom compost for the new stump garden. I just looked at a trailor today that has a large hoist that is over 12' tall to pick up portapotties and telephone booths. Lifting capacity at 4:1 is over 3800 lbs. I am going to buy it and convert it to a large rock hoist so I can use less water by dropping large rocks where the thirsty ones are. LOL It will also be perfect for my Stump collection cause I want to be able to hoist the big old one out of the forest and place them in my stump maize. It will be in a wooded area and you will be able to walk under the plantings with the stumps above. Yarrows are at their peak now.

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Denver, CO

Sumac are too small. Real sumac, (Rhus) that is. The false-sumac tree AKA "tree-of-heaven" (better known as "tree of hell", scientifically known as Ailanthus) are horrible weeds. Ahh, and don't assume acidity, mate. Too many acid plants are enjoying the pH8 soil in this valley.

Mmmmm (Quoting Homer Simpson) Mushroom compost.

Stump maze. We will need pictures to understand this!
Kenton

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I'm talking real sumac. Rhus ..... They will be an over story (12-15') for the shaded woodlands underneath and love the sun they are in. Suckering only problem but with Tiger Eyes and Smoothe you won't have a lot.

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Denver, CO

Eh, I've run into enough of them on my bike that I think their species will continue without my help.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Probably the friendliest tree to run into with you bike. Use the plant for your own purposes and create the setting you need to propagate the Herronswood species. So do you have sumac in CO? I did not know that you did. Just look at the specimens you could grow. Don't let the landscape school people (Master gardeners) ruin your outlook at such a plant.

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Denver, CO

No, no, the MGs love it. As do I. The favorite is R. aromatica 'Low-Gro.' I just don't like it in my garden, but along the river, where it is getting beaten up by the tamarix.

There are a couple species that are horrible in the landscape (I hesitate to dog on yours before I know what sp. is what). I have ripped out gobs of them for a particular client.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Buckhorn sumac are horrible and they run every where and take over. Smoothe, Tiger Eyes can do the same but in a years time mine only send up one or 3 plants and pulling them is simple and effective. One of the few weeds I have after June 15th. But I love them..

Denver, CO

Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes' well-designed in the Master gardener's "Idea Garden" on the University of Illinois campus.

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Yes I have 5 of them. Here is my favorite.

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Denver, CO

Gads, don't pull the suckers, sell them! Most folks I meet layed down a pretty penny for them.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I have several ones that I dig up but the ones near other plants I just pull. Then they don't get started there. Oh I always cut the parent plant end when pulling. You can see in my upper picture the small one at the rock near the base of the parent. I will leave that one cause I want groupings of healthy plants when they start to look sick just cut the plant at the base and nice new growth appears and takes about 10 years to get back to my disired hieght of 12'. Both of these were planted 2 yrs ago at 10" height.

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Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I know nothing about Hydrangea's except I did hear that the more acidic the soil the more blue the more alkaline they can go pink - not sure what variety. I also heard that they are water lovers so a good mulch would probably be in order. "But I did not come here to tell you that" (Bill Cosby) ......

"After all, neither palms nor bananas nor southern magnolias nor cannas nor passionvines nor tree peonies nor azaleas nor bamboo grow in Colorado... according to which, my garden has no plants in it."

'bout those nana's
I have been growing a puppy for about a year now - still have not worked up the courage to actually put him out (know its to late in the season for this year) directly into the garden. Please share your experience with putting them out and taking them back in (assuming you do).

now bout those magnolia's - mine looks kinda defeated, thinking its because of my alkaline soil. To you do anything special for them, thinking I might pull mine out and try it in a container. It bloomed the first year and has done absolutely nothing since. Or maybe I should try it in some other spot in the garden drier/wetter, and/or sunnier/shadier? Right now t gets sun till about 1-2 then its in the shade of the house gets watered 1X week... thoughts?

Denver, CO

Monkey's Questionable Nuptuals:
I hope you don't mind my horrible knicknames.

Bananas. It depends dramatically on what you want out of what species/cultivar of Musa.
I grow M. basjoo in the ground and leave it there just to get nice leaves. It will not make edible fruit, though, as it doesn't make good ones anyhow. (It is good to zone 5 with good soil, drainage, and mulch.) A neat ornamental that I have found incredibly hard to keep from burning in full sun (not worth it), growable in East sun (still have to water religiously and fertilie like mad). In the east , it does not stretch far enough in one growing season to make a big enough stem for my tastes. I am now trying it in dappled (Honeylocust) shade, because light quality is enough, and the shade may allow it it build a taller pseudo-stem, so it looks more like a Banana.

There are a couple of edible cultivars that just might bear fruit after a mild winter or two with some protection. I think a z8+ microclimate is needed for that. I want to try 'Dwarf canvedish' in ground some year. 'Rajapuri' is supposed to fruit edibly. It is grown in Ohio. I'll get more serious about tryign these when I ahve perfected a place for them. They coudl still be grown and stored in the winter to get fruit.

Musella lasiocarpa is great. "Yellow Lotus Banana" I have it in mostly-sun and have had it in a half-full sun spot. it may just take full sun, I've not tried. The great thing about it is that it is super-tough to wind. Recent windstorms have torn a few things up (like the roof...) but it has stiff, windproof leaves. I nearly overwintered one. It was not in a good microclimate. It is a banana relative that will bloom in a temperate location.

I'm experiementing with Musa sumatrana 'Rojo,' As I saw it hardy in Salem, OR, and bought some there. (zone 8)
"Plant_Madness" knows more about Bananas.

Magnolias. Full sun to part shade- it's a tree.
I've seeen chlorosis. It may not me alkalinity that binds up the iron entirely, I theorize that certain watering schedules will do the same to them and Other trees. Older, more organic soils seem to have very healthy plants. I think that they are easy to grow in amended soil. Then there is the distincion between evergreen and the more common deciduous ones. Decidous guys are very adapted, especially some individuals of "Saucer Magnolia" (M. x soulangeana) and M. stellata. Selected cultivars of evergreen guys are great.
M. grandiflora loves alkaline soil. But like all evergreens, needs some help with winter moisture.

So, after I've written a flaming essay, what kinds of Banana and Magnolia have you?
Kenton

Provo, UT(Zone 5b)

I gave up on my hydrangea, tried it in every part of the yard and it wasn't a happy camper so it went to live elsewhere...

MQN - I don't think it's too late to put your banana out for the winter if you want to. Is it a basjoo? I just planted 2 Musella lasiocarpas yesterday that I plan on leaving out, bananas don't take long to settle in if the ground is warm. I put one of the lasiocarpas in the corner created by the house and front steps, stays relatively dry during the winter and it will get some warmth from the cement...

In my experience musella can take 'almost' full sun here, mine looked a little burnt at first but after a couple of weeks it had acclimated and looked great. My Apple banana (manzano) is performing quite well in full sun , doing much better than my dwarf orinoco and double mahoi, too bad it's not hardy. Dwarf Cavendish does very well in the sun here also.
I haven't actually left any out for the winter yet, planned to last winter but my dogs helped mix up my tags so I had no idea who was who and I didn't want to sacrifice any.
Some were getting too big to have as houseplants last fall so I dug them up, wrapped burlap around the roots, put them in a loosely wrapped grocery bag and layed them in the crawl space for winter. (It stays about 50 degrees in there throughout winter.) I didn't water them at all but a couple could have used a bit, I only lost 1 or 2 of 13. About half regrew the original stalk, the other half did not but have thrown out many pups, one has at least 8 pups.
Since I have an abundance of pups this year I plan on leaving a bunch of them out, that should sort out who's hardy and who's not. (Somewhere in all those pups are basjoo and sikkimensis...)

Drainage IS the key, I want to raise my beds about 12" more , they are only slightly elevated and wet cold clay all winter equals death to many plants. I did have Pink China Colocasia make it through winter, in a bad spot no less, but they didn't show up again until the beginning of July.

Ah magnolias....I had a nice Hibiscus syriacus until 2 years ago, we had a very early freeze and it bit the dust. I wanted to put a magnolia in it's place but I found a Japanese Maple 'Viridis' that called to me first....

Good luck with Annabelle !

Denver, CO

There is she! Thanks PM.

Musella keeps tickin' right trough storms...

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Aurora, CO(Zone 5a)

My realtor isn't a horticulturalist. She's a realtor. She has a house so I assume she gardens some. I called a nursery and asked about it, and they said that some hydrangeas are warm regions only but there are some that are cold hardy.

Between our killing weather and my godawful soil, though, I wasn't sure if I wanted to risk it.

I've seen ads in gardening catalogs for the "snowball bush." Is that it's true name, or is that another name for viburnum or hydrangea? Basically I'm looking for the snowball bush like one that a neighbor had when I was a kid.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Most are a viburnum. http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/83631/index.html Is this what you are talking about? My Pee Gee hydrangea does very well in Montana zone 4B so I can't imagine you haveing any problems down in your banana belt. The key assumption is to change the god awfull soil.

Denver, CO

Exactly. If the plant has great soil, it will be a hardier plant. Just ask my palms (he says boastfully).

I just saw some 'Endless summer' Hydrangeas at a clients loking good in dappled shade. No chlorosis. The were blooming purple, incedentally...


Well the news on the Hydrange 'Annabelle' at hand is this: It windburned. Badly. (Insert childish I-shoulda-known laugh) The friend that gave it to me had jsut bought it late-season frmo a greenhouse a few hours south of here. (Greenhouse=weakling leaves) Most of its leaves are burnt right off. I'll cut most of it down today and plant it in the garden to let it regrow some tougher leaves.
K

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Kenton, your a doll you can call me anything you like, I am just not sure how you seem to know me so well, each and everyone of your acronyms have been DEAD on.

Sorry took so long to get back was not sure what kind of nana I got. Bought from Gurney's, this is all it says in the product description:

Dwarf Gran Nain Banana

Fruit Trees, Dwarf Banana
Fun, Flowers and Fragrance, Too!

Evergreen foliage, sweetly scented flowers and edible fruit in one! Can be moved outdoors in summer, so the bees take care of pollination for you. Varieties grow from 2-5 feet tall, with banana on the tall side. Pick bananas in 3-5 years.

Zones: 10 (32 F.)
Height: 24-60 in.
Spacing: pots
Depth: plant at same depth as in the pot it is shipped in
Spread: 36 in.
Sun/Shade: Bright, indirect sunlight
Pollinator: self-pollinating
Yield: variable
Color: Lavender/pink
Foliage: leaves to 3 foot
Comments: They do not produce seeds at all. This one we sell is simply a mini or small version of those which are purchased in the supermarket. They do not contain seed at all.

Chlorosis - duh - I had the same prob last year I am an idiot..........wanders off mumbling to self

Denver, CO

Chlorosis on what, My Quaint Nullifier?

I think 'Gran Nain' is an acuminata (greater edible species)...
A big patio pot plant nonetheless.
Kenton aka Dollface

Aurora, CO(Zone 5a)

So maybe I should rename myself "White_Viburnum"....

I was thinking of those snowball bushes when I had to think of a user name.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

All I know is your beautiful as either one White Hydrangea. MQN and Kenton keep this site so a 12 yr old can watch it. No romancing on RMount forum. LOL

Denver, CO

Yessir.

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Dually noted sir but since I have been an itsy bitsy nuclei since the 90's (a bit of a cell.......) I walk away unabashed.......but again I did not come here to talk about that. Just had the most Incredible EXPERIENCE. ALL HAIL MOTHER NATURE. Had Hail storms UNBELIEVABLE here I am just got over 2 broken feet and all at once dorential rain followed by HAIL followed by rain followed by hail (3 total rounds) in Utah in August. Did I roll up my car windows.....No....Did I put way my tools....no....did I close my garage door.....no....did I protect my tomtatoe plants....no.......did I race around my yard puttting up NEW WARM hummingbird stations in NEW convenient locations under protected trees with foot peril all around them.......well duh! They WARNED ME! In unbelievable ways....why did I not Listen?




This message was edited Aug 14, 2006 2:24 PM

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I always feel very uncomfortable being called sir, well except by my DW in submission to my earthy ways. Hail is an event that is never predictable unless you live in the tropics. We all have the joy of dammage that is completly reversable in the miracles of plants and next year. I never worry about a dead plant cause I believe they can come back next year and if they don't I already forgot about the hail storm. I'm 53 years old so I remember nothing and it keeps me happy.

Denver, CO

Should we do like the good ol' man says, Mother's Quarky Nuclei?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Hail melts and turns to water, right? I could ALMOST wish for some hail. But at least I have a happy aquifer. DH wanted all sorts of things concerning the location of our property when we bought it. I said that if we're moving to the desert, all I really want is a really, really, REALLY good aquifer and a strong well pump. I guess I should have said something about dirt on the ground, too, but it's too late now!

Denver, CO

Ah, and you can make that youself. (Don't ask Steve how to do it!)

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I have discovered that you have to water your compostings here, too, not just your plants!

But in several years, there should be dirt and green stuff all over, and in about 20 years, my little pine forest should start looking like a forest, and by the time I am well composted myself, the oaks that I plan on planting next spring will be approaching teenagerhood... if someone will continue watering after I am gone and burried, that is!

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Even if Kenton doesn't want you to ask me about soil construction you must consider the effects of now 6 weeks of no irrigation in beds that have gone without water. The clay, compost, wood chips, nitrogen of unmetionable source, and mulch will provide a source of happiness for the xeriscape garden that has 3 months of drought. Now where you are I don't know the long term aspects of drought. This is my system: http://davesgarden.com/journal/d/t/Soferdig/3149/

Denver, CO

(Steve- had to mention that while I read this, "American Woman" plays on teh radio...)

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Kenton - "Should we do like the good ol' man says, Mother's Quarky Nuclei?" I scrolled back still do not get it........not the sharpest tool in the shed....

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

You're at least as smart as I am, MQN. Kenton, I don't get it either! 'splain please...

Judith

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