Pinky Winky slow to leaf out for anyone else?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I have a bunch of macrophyllas and serratas that never even lost their leaves over the winter, and they're all getting ready to bloom, but Pinky Winky just has a few tiny leaves on it. I don't have any other paniculatas so I'm not sure if they're typically a little slower to get going or not. It's not in an ideal situation--my garden beds don't really get watered enough to keep hydrangeas happy and the area is a bit on the sunny side so it could very well have gotten stressed last summer and decided it doesn't want to come back and face that again, but I'm hoping maybe they're just a bit slow to get started in the spring. Any other experience with this one?

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Or it could have been a dry winter. I learned the hard way that I have to water dormant plants in my zone when winters are dry. A camellia that was looking fine one week started giving me signs of moisture problems. When I checked the soil, it was dry. When I checked the drip irrigation, oh-oh, wooops! It was off. The camellia recovered. Your hydrangea might too if you baby it with extra TLC and monitor the soil moisture manually every 2 or 3 days like clockwork. When checking for soil moisture, do it near or above the root ball.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It was a dry winter, but I did water the garden when we didn't get rain. Could be it still wasn't enough though, most areas of my garden are planted with drought tolerant things, so plants that need more moisture tend to not always get as much as they need. I've been trying to give it some extra water lately though, hopefully that'll help. I should probably dig it up and put it in a container, most of my thirsty plants are in containers because I know I won't take good enough care of them in the ground! LOL

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Hee hee hee! I am going the opposite route. I prefer the "watering stability" of the drip and sprinkler aaand only now am branching into containers because the shaded locations are all occupied. Until this hotel can somehow expand, containers seem to be the alternative. However, those plants have to be watered manually, quite a chore at any time. I know there is a way to hook into the drip plastic tubes into similar-looking but much smaller tubing in order to supply water to containers but, I have not researched the way to splice and reconnect those tubes, places that sell them, etc yet. Work is winning this year.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Yes, watering the containers is definitely a chore! But since most of my garden is xeriscape or semi-xeriscape, it's easier for me to deal with containers than to try and water some parts of the garden more frequently than others. It's still a pain though, I've thought about trying to set up drippers for the containers too but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

ecrane, I wish you luck with Pinky Winky. I'm in Z6, and mine are already leafed out.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

I had to uproot a couple of unknown mopheads so a construction crew could do some work. They were kept for several days out of their spot while work progressed. Due to my hectic work schedule, I arrived late in the day and forgot about them because I placed in a shaded area that I did not visit upon returning from work. They were watered but not as often as they should have been. When I planted them where they used to be, one of them was suffering and lost the leaves on many stems. I had to baby sit the root ball with TLC, making sure that it was moist and checking with the finger method daily. Yesterday, I noticed leaf out on the dried-out looking stems.

I mention this to give you hope that your PW might come back.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

That's good to know! It's definitely still alive--it's got leaves but they're very tiny (1/4" or so) and don't seem to be getting any bigger. We've had some rain over the last couple weeks and I've been better on watering it when it doesn't rain, so hopefully over the next few weeks it'll start to make some progress.

Redford, MI(Zone 6a)

I was dying to get a Pinky Winky this year and about a month ago I did. It was leafed out when I got it but it just sits there not attempting to do anything. I put a small amount of time release fertilizer on it when I planted it but nothing is going on. It gets plenty of sun (I'm in Michigan) and I never let it dry out so does anyone have any suggestions? And what is the best way to fertilize these plants?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

When you first plant things, they generally work on getting their roots going first before they do anything else, so if you just planted it a month ago I wouldn't worry that it's not doing much yet above ground.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Plants going through transplant shock should not be fertilized. Besides, most plants bought from nurseries also contain some fertilizer pellets. If your plant has these, there is no need to fertilize more. Next year, feed it around 1/2 cup to 1 cup of manure or cottonseed meal in June and that is it. A slow-release general purpose chemical fertilizer can also be applied. Maintain 3-4" inches of mulch.

Redford, MI(Zone 6a)

Thank you both for your help. I will just be patient and do what you suggested. I'll mulch around them too.

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