|Positive ||lmelling ||On Oct 30, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
I was given two of these hydrangea as "liners" by a friend, in fall 2003 along with two Nikko blue, when they were about 6" high and pretty much single stemmed. Other than the name "Royal Purple," I did not have much information on theses two and could not find much on the internet, other than pictures of a fully developed bush.
Because they were so small, I covered the two "bushlets" with our discarded Christmas tree at the end of December, and this was fortuitous as we had one of the most severe winters here in zone 5 in a number of years - extended periods of -25 to -20 degree weather. But the two small hydrangea came through it unscathed and tripled their size this summer, while the two Nikko blue that were also mulched well, but not covered completely, died. Note: another larger Nikko blue that was mulched well, did live over the winter and bloomed, although sparingly.
According to what I learned, this cultivar is supposed to bloom anywhere from a deep cobalt blue to purple, depending on soil. Since our soil here is naturally more acidic, I'm hoping the latter is true. This cultivar appears in the book, "Hydrangeas for American Gardens" by Michael A. Dirr and is said to be the same cultivar as "Mathilda Gutges." According to the description of MG in the book, this should be "a mid to late season bloomer and may have pink, blue or violet flowers or a combination of all three." It should grow to 4' - 5' tall. As Mr. Dirr has a question mark next to the name, it will be interesting to see if it blooms as expected.
So far, these hydrangea seem to be doing well and I am hoping for at least a few blooms in 2005.
Update August 10, 2005
Extreme hot conditions this year, less than 1" of rain in July. Pictures added show Hyd. Royal Purple to have deep magenta blooms in unamended soil. Next year will try acidifying soil slightly to see change in colors. Very slow growing variety, but tolerating dry conditions very well compared to All Summer Beauty and Penny Mac!!!