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I have read several methods of pruning the Endless Summer. It is just beginning to pop some very small buds on its unpruned stems. Should I just wait to see how far up the stems leaf out, and then prune the dead top off? THANKS for your help!
Generally speaking Tammylp, you do not need to prune anything unless there is a reason for it. Say, for the sake of safety, to correct stems that cross or to reinvigorate an old shrub. From your picture, everything looks great so I would only deadhead the spent blooms and then put another check mark on your to-do today list!
Should you need to prune at some point in the future, ES's reblooming allows you prune just about any time but, since I always prefer to enjoy its blooms, I would wait after it has bloomed in Spring and before July to prune. If you prune at other times, that is fine too. You will not kill the plant, only delay some blooms so have at it.
In zone 5B, the stems of ES are probably dead quite a bit down. I do just as you say: wait until the highest buds green up and then prune above. This allow you to grow H.Macrophylla and still get flowers in zone 5.
so am i crazy to think i can get endless summer to grow on the west side of my house,its not full sun ,but its full winter on that side,also they have been bitten in the spring no blooms,what or how should i protect them ,i dont have them covered now ,should i cover them now as to protect this years buds,from a spring freeze,thanks
Endless Summer blooms on new wood as well as old so even if you don't protect it you'll still get some blooms. You'll get more if you protect it but it's really up to you. From threads I remember from a year or two ago, it seems that ES doesn't bloom much on new wood in its first year or two in the ground so if yours is relatively new then you may not see much its first year or two, but once it's established it should be OK. Can't speak for the west side of your house--that may be a bit too much sun for it but if it won't have the sun beating down on it all afternoon then maybe it would be OK. As far as protecting it now--it's hard to say if that would do any good, it could be that there's already been damage done during the time it wasn't protected, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to cover them up if you hear that you're going to have some cold weather.
ecrane3, this is the 3rd year for them,they get afternoon shade,we are going to get cold for a few days,do you think that black thin landscape fabric would be sufficient ? its fabric not plastic .thanks
It depends on how cold it's going to get--if it'll be really cold then that probably won't be enough, but if it's just a little cold then it might be sufficient. But since you'll get the new wood blooms anyway it's worth trying that if it's the only thing you have around. People usually protect them by building a cage and piling leaves over them all winter long but that seems like a lot of work when it'll probably just be a couple cold nights and you'll get some blooms later anyway even if you don't protect it.
ecrane3,i went out and took another look at my es,we have had a little warm weather lately,i thought for sure there would be some swollen buds,thats why i was worried,2007 we had a late freeze, they were looking wonderful,well you know what happened.i need to keep reminding myself it is early yet,i will keep my eye on them ,and cover them when needed,next winter i will do the leaf cage,i really do know better.
The great thing about Endless Summer is even if you don't do the protection, you'll still get some blooms because it'll also bloom on new wood. So you don't really need to worry that much about it. If you protect it you'll get a few more blooms because it will get some blooms on old wood too, but it's not like the other hydrangeas where you'll lose everything if you get a freeze.
For what it's worth, here's what the tag on my Endless Summer "original" said for winter protection [and spring pruning]:
Winter care in Zones 4-5:
Stop fertilizing in late summer. Keep soil moist thru the fall until ground is frozen. To protect during the first winter or two, cover the plant’s base with a four-inch layer of organic mulch after the leaves have dropped. There is no need to cover all stems or to cut them back. Once established, little winter protection is needed. In spring, uncover with your perennials when the ground is no longer frozen. Be patient; growth may come slowly until the heat of late spring stimulates the plant to grow faster. One you see growth, you can prune back old branches to a finger width above the new green growth.
I have some endless summers and they haven't bloomed much or up to what we feel is their potential. We didn't expect much in the first year, but into year two we were disappointed in how few blooms were sprouting. They are in part shade like they like and get some morning and afternoon sun. We also water them as needed since they are the thirstiest plants in our yard! If there are any suggestions out there to increase the blooms, please share.
I'd see what they do this year--there's a saying about perennials which can also apply to shrubs "first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap". I've also gathered from reading about various people's experience with them that ES is a bit slow on giving a lot of blooms on new wood which is all you can expect to get in your area if you don't protect it for the winter, seems like it's about the 3rd year before it typically starts to perform well. So hopefully this year it should do a bit better and bloom more on new wood, and for next year if you want even more blooms try protecting it for the winter, then you can enjoy the blooms on old wood as well as new.
Zone 5. This is the third year for my two ES's. The second year they started out with buds on the old wood, but a cold spell got them; and I eventually cut them stems down, plenty of new growth from bottom. The same thing this year - lots of buds on old growth, but were nipped by cold nights I guess - I wished I had covered them. There is plenty of new growth at the base; but I was hoping for larger bushes this year, with blooms on old and new wood. I will have to be more diligent next year and protect them after they bud out. We always have a warm spell early spring; and then turns cold again, doing a little damage here and there.
Tammylp,well if what ecrane3 says about the 3rd yr,you and I might be leaping too ! Iam having same problem,reread this thread lots of great info.Iam definitly going to protect next winter.going to feed them acid fertilizer today.
My 3 yr old ES bloomed on new wood every year from the first year. Lots of blooms too. I always cut the stalks down to the ground in Spring. I didn't know that if I waited, maybe the buds would green up on the old wood. This year I did wait and I see green buds about half way up the stalks. I have just pruned down to just above the green buds. Will be interesting to compare how it does this year compared to previous years when I cut the stems totally down.
It is always a good thing to not cut the stems until late May. Some hydrangeas are late to leaf out completely sometimes, perhaps because of the type of winter they had. Of course, if you just cannot wait to find out, you can start pruning the stem in small increments (1/2 or 1" increments) until you hit green but, I would still wait even though my fingers itch to prune them dry dead looking stems.
(Zone 5) Think I will do as advised & wait until end of May. Really wanted to see at least one bloom by end of May. Appreciate all of the input from the DG's. Will let you know when I receive my first bloom.
All of my ES are loaded with blooms. Most are 5 years old or so. Some are blooming to the point where they are touching the ground. Did some heavy feeding this year so far with excellent results. They will keep blooming till thanksgiving here in GA.